Did you know that many of the guides who lead The Real Mary King’s Close tour are also working actors? Safe to say, this is a particularly exciting day for them… because it’s OFFICIALLY THE START of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!
Look anywhere around Edinburgh, and you’ll see flyers galore advertising theatre, comedy, magic, circus and dance shows. Many of which will ultimately provide a platform for new talent in the industry. It’s well known that an incredible number of (what are now) household names transitioned from “Fringe to fame” at the festival.
Take Alan Rickman. His first major acting gig was in a double bill of Measure for Measure and The Devil is Ass at the Assembly Rooms. Graham Norton became known through his iconic drag show, Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Grand Farewell Tour at the Pleasance; and Rachel Weisz landed an agent when her Fringe show, Slight Possession, transferred to Notting Hill.
There are countless more examples of artists who made their mark in Edinburgh: Emma Thompson, Rowan Atkinson, Robin Williams, Phoebe Waller-Bridge…
The list goes on. Point being, it’s well worthwhile scoping out what’s new at the Fringe. Excitingly, many of our Tour Guides perform in the festival every year, so we tend to have our finger on the pulse when it comes to knowing about what’s up-and-coming!
So, without further ado, here’s what we have to recommend for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023. Keep your eyes peeled for the actors from The Real Mary King’s Close tour…
2nd – 27th August (except the 9th and 22nd)
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose
This one’s a cracker.
Tartan Tabletop started as a group of mostly “recovering theatre kids and drama students”, who decided to monetise their enjoyment of playing Dungeons & Dragons together. After making their partial debut at the PHB Free Fringe in 2022, Tartan Tabletop was spotted by Future Artists, who will be producing the show at this year’s Fringe.
‘The Never-Ending Quest’ at Gilded Balloon was partly created by – and features – Alex Bathe. One of our Robert Fergussons at The Real Mary King’s Close! The show promises improvised comedy, haphazard acts of sorcery and guest star comedians stepping in as “Noblin the Goblin” every day.
Oh yes, about that. Noblin is a highlight of the show, and will be played by Ben Clarke, Andrew Lodge, Felicity Anderson-Moore, Robyn Reilly and Amber Lipman on selected days during the run. Sound familiar? You may have also seen them on a guided tour as Robert Fergusson, Dr John Paulitious, Agnes Chambers and Jonet Nimmo!
Even dates from the 6th – 26th August
The Space on the Royal Mile @ Radisson Blu Hotel
Robyn Reilly (aka, Noblin the Goblin/Jonet Nimmo) will also be starring in The Rejects, a comedy by Shark Bait Theatre. This brand-new theatre company, formed of BA Acting graduates from Edinburgh Napier University, brings a story of harsh truths, trivia and… well, rejection to the stage.
Join five strangers as they drown their sorrows after unsuccessfully interviewing for the same, dead-end job. As the night goes on, and the beers flow, the five rejects club together to try and win a pub quiz. The result? Well, you’ll need to come along to find out how they fare…
Selected dates from 7th to 24th August
21.00 and 22.30
Flight Club @ West Port Oracle
Edinburgh’s home-grown queer cabaret is back at the Fringe with a “high altitude”, scripted comedy. Our Tour Guide Team Leader, Elicia Walpole (who previously played Lang Meg at The Real Mary King’s Close), will be starring as a crew member of “Scotland’s classiest, most certainly functional airline”.
Jet Lag invites you to climb aboard a real, replica aircraft with Fruit Salad Airlines for a night of comedy, burlesque and campery. Watch as your flight attendants put the skills learned during their THREE WHOLE DAYS of training into practice. Safe to say, flight FS069 may experience some… unexpected turbulence…
Elicia, along with the rest of Fruit Salad, will also be headlining at Paradise Palms’ Late Night Cabaret every Tuesday at 10pm and Sunday at 10.30pm, from the 8th – 27th August.
14th – 19th and 21st 26th August
Greenside @ Infirmary Street
Johnny Gemmell, who you may have met in character as Stephen Boyd, the Wine Merchant, on our tour, is also a student at Edinburgh Napier University. This year, he’ll be appearing in How to Rob a Millionaire (In Five Easy Steps) with the university’s drama society.
Follow the ticket link below to join Alexander King (a self-obsessed criminal mastermind) as he hatches an audacious plan to rob the world’s greatest toymaker. However, after hiring five (rather eccentric) individuals to help, things don’t exactly go to plan…
15th, 17th – 22nd, 24th – 27th August
Just the Tonic @ Grassmarket Centre
Dear lord, a musical with “all the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tires on”? It must be Come Die with Me – an ode to the ever-popular British TV show, Come Dine with Me.
From delectable dishes to juicy drama, and even a “choose your own ending” format, this brand-new musical production promises to be riotously fun. Especially because it stars Andrew Lodge, a Dr John Paulitius from The Real Mary King’s Close!
That being said, if musical theatre isn’t your thing, Andrew will also be appearing in the Godfather Death. The show runs from the 4th – 19th August on selected dates at the Greenside venue in Nicolson Square.
Even days from the 18th – 26th August
The Space on the Royal Mile @ Radisson Blu Hotel
Et tu, Brute? The tumultuous world of ancient Rome is brought to the stage this Fringe with Julius Caesar Must Die, a new adaption of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that explores the darkness of power and the price of freedom. Expect stage combat, dangerous plotting, and impressive historical costumes.
Speaking of which, Felicity Anderson-Moore (who plays Agnes Chambers on The Real Mary King’s Close tour) has designed them! Felicity also happens to be dipping her toe into stand-up comedy with the Edinburgh Revue this Fringe festival. Catch her on stage at the Edinburgh University Comedy Society on the 22nd and 27th August.
21st – 26th August
The Princess Royal Suite @ The Royal Scots Club
Look at that, a double bill! Another Jonet/Noblin takes to the stage as Ophelia in Hamlet. This touring production by local theatre company, Necessary Cat, stars our lovely Amber Lipman, who will appear in Shakespeare’s angst-fuelled tragedy at The Royal Scots Club this Fringe.
To see it, or not to see it? It shouldn’t even be a question. Necessary Cat’s run in Edinburgh will follow performances at Dunbar Battery and The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Dell Open Air Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
However, if the 6pm start time is a little too early for you, hold out a little later for the showing of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at 8pm (which was first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966!).