Kate Saffin’s five solo shows by women

Solo performers probably outnumber every other group at the Fringe if you include theatre, comedy, spoken word and music. The 262 solo theatre shows listed this year offer diverse work across every genre and style, every venue and every imaginable topic (well, possibly not every one but certainly a great range!).

Many are new writing, many coming to the Fringe for the first time. As a solo performer it is my favourite section to ferret about in, to see new work, new performers as well as known ones, to learn, be provoked and inspired.

Here’s my first five, all based in true stories in some way:

Alison Skilbeck’s Uncommon Ground

An almost dead cert for an aborbing 70 minutes in the company of first class actor, Alison Skilbeck, who has three previous critically acclaimed plays under her belt: Are There More of You?, The Power Behind The Crone and Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London.

We are promised six characters (whose author is also Stillbeck) ‘connecting during one year on the Common’ plus a mysterious seventh. I haven’t been able to establish whether ‘the Common’ is somewhere I should know but am just a little dim for not immediately recognising or a generic Common that could be in any neighbourhood but, wherever it is, Assembly Rooms at 12.40 daily will be the place to find out.

Gie’s Peace

‘Women wage peace’. A solo show taking us into the world of women who have found creative ways take a stand against war.  Scottish storyteller, Morna Burdon promises us facts, interweved with songs and humour to highlight the ‘courage, creativity and resilience’ of women caught up in circumstances they often have little control over.

Scottish Storytelling Centre 16.30 (Aug 9, 16, 24-26)

The Good Dad (A Love Story)

Based on real events from the 1980s, this already award winning drama, takes us into an all to familiar scenario – the apparently perfect father and family hiding dark secrets. Written by Gail Louw and performed by Sarah Lawrie the show is presented in support of the charity Victim Support

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall 21.15 Aug 4-12, 14-26

My Dad Wears a Dress

And more on dads…

Every collection of solo show recommendations has to include a personal story and this one promises to be something a little out of the ordinary. A one-woman show about growing up with a trans female parent, written and performed by Maria Telnikoff. Early performances received glowing reviews and it looks well worth adding to your list.

Underbelly Cowgate 11.25 Aug 3-13, 15-27

Solo shows exploring the lives of the great, the good, the famous, the infamous are always intriguing and this one, written and performed by Kayla Boye, has already gained a track record with a clutch of rave reviews. Set in May 1961, the play is inspired by Taylor’s conversations with writer Max Lerner as they discuss plans for a biography in the wake of her 1961 Academy Awards triumph and a nearly fatal battle with pneumonia. Sadly, it is only on for a week Aug 22-26

Surgeon’s Hall 11.05 Aug 22nd-26th

Kate Saffin is a writer and performer based on the Inland Waterways who has been part of the Fringe Review team since 2012. You can contact her on Twitter @NB_MorningMist