Edinburgh festival 2017: 10 shows to see

A puppet blockbuster, a Bigfoot opera and a Northern Soul dance marathon all feature in the lineup of the 70th Edinburgh festival


Edinburgh Playhouse

Ten dancers run rings round each other to Steve Reich’s minimalist music in Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s shimmering production. Nifty costume changes mean the outfits – by Dries van Noten – subtly seem to bloom into colour during the show.

Hannah Gadsby

Assembly George Square Studios

She recently won the prestigious Barry award at the Melbourne comedy festival but Hannah Gadsby is supposedly giving up standup after this show in which she talks about growing up gay in Tasmania before homosexuality was decriminalised.

Thrill-a-minute caper … Bruce. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian


Underbelly, Cowgate

Australian company The Last Great Hunt return with their thrill-a-minute homage to outlandish blockbusters. This action hero is a ridiculously expressive yellow sponge, which – in the hands of these master puppeteers – plays the whole cast, too.

Not I

Pleasance Courtyard

Billie Whitelaw performed Beckett’s hell-ride monologue in 14 minutes. Lisa Dwan did it in under nine. Now there’s an hour-long version from Jess Thom, who has Tourette syndrome and delivers the piece punctuated with the tics caused by her condition.

£¥€$ (LIES)

Upper Church @ Summerhall

Belgian fringe legends Ontroerend Goed have staged provocative speed-dating encounters, feminist cabaret and a piece imagining a world without humans. This year they put the audience in the privileged position of the 1%.

Desiree Burch.
Interactive squirming … Desiree Burch. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Desiree Burch

Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus

In her interactive theatre and comedy shows, New Yorker-turned-Londoner Desiree Burch specialises in making audiences squirm, think – and laugh long and loud – with queasily upfront routines about race, sex and body image.

No Miracles Here

Northern Stage at Summerhall

The dance marathons of America’s Great Depression and Northern Soul all-nighters at Wigan Casino are the inspirations for the Letter Room’s show whose cast of actor-musicians are on the move throughout.

Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead.
Monstrous … Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Joseph Morpurgo

Pleasance Courtyard

When not improvising Jane Austen novels in fringe hit Austentatious, Joseph Morpurgo dreams up irresistibly twisted solo shows. After his goofy-sinister take on Desert Island Discs, he’s back this year with a Frankenstein-inspired creation.


Assembly Hall

Their fiendishly intricate, hypnotic juggling performances have made the Gandini company, formed 25 years ago, a safe bet on the fringe. Gandini’s new work, made with choreographer Seeta Patel, explores the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam.

Sasquatch: The Opera


Roddy Bottum, keyboard player with the questing alt-metal band Faith No More, presents his suitably epic, experimental account of the Bigfoot myth. Sasquatch: The Opera sounds wild and has the Edinburgh fringe written all over it.


Chris Wiegand

The GuardianTramp

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