Edinburgh’s August festivals have been scrapped for 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent global cultural shutdown. The festivals – which bring hundreds of thousands of artists, performers and audience members to the city every August – have pulled the plug on this year’s events after weeks of speculation over whether or not they would go ahead.
In a statement on their website, the Edinburgh Fringe Society’s Shona McCarthy said: “Today’s decision that the Fringe will not go ahead as planned was not taken lightly. We have spent the past month listening to a broad cross-section of Fringe participants, as well as to government, healthcare professionals, residents and many more; however, in light of present circumstances it was unavoidable. Public health must and always will come first.”
Artists who have already applied to perform at the Fringe will receive a full refund of their registration fee or the option to roll it over for 2021. Ticket-holders who have purchased tickets for 2020 shows, many of which have been on sale for weeks, will be refunded. [ . . . ]
From Rose Matafeo and Craig Ferguson to Gingzilla’s cabaret parties, book in these acts from Gilded Balloon, Assembly, Underbelly and Pleasance before they’re gone
Balletboyz: Them/Us / credit: Hugo Glendinning
The acclaimed all-male dance company makes their Edinburgh debut with their electrifying double bill, which explores the individual spirit as well as our connection to others. With scores composed by Charlotte Harding and indie singer-songwriter Keaton Henson, Them/Us has already riveted audiences across the UK. Balletboyz: Them/Us, Underbelly: Bristo Square – McEwan Hall, Wed 31 Jul–Thu 15 Aug (not 7), 1pm.
Basil Brush: Unleashed
Showbiz icon, children’s entertainer and fox puppet Basil Brush will be taking to the stage in this adults-only show, wherein he provides his usual brand of anarchic commentary on hot button topics. This foxy fella will be joined by a different guest every night. Basil Brush: Unleashed, Underbelly: Bristo Square – Cowbarn, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug, 6.45pm.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live at the Fringe
Members of the original cast unite for this live performance of the iconic improv show, which quickly sold out when they first came to the Fringe two years ago. The roster for this year will be filled out by the likes of Greg Proops, Mike McShane, Stephen Frost, Richard Vranch and Phill Jupitus, with more to be announced. Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live at the Fringe, Underbelly: Bristo Square – McEwan Hall, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug (not 12), 7pm.
Winner of the prestigious Molière Award for Best Comedy Play, Fishbowl follows the everyday lives of three wacky, lovable characters who live cheek-by-jowl in adjoining rooftop bedsits. A remarkable work of physical comedy and set design, Fishbowl has just come off of a sold-out European tour, so we wouldn’t expect anything less for their UK debut. Fishbowl, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug (not 14), 1pm.
The Guilty Feminist: Live Podcast
Podcast phenomenon The Guilty Feminist returns to the Fringe for a live recording, featuring more funny, scintillating discussions about modern feminism and our personal pitfalls that undermine these ideals. Hosted by the inimitable Deborah Frances-White alongside a revolving line-up of guests, The Guilty Feminist has racked up 60 million downloads since its launch in 2016. The Guilty Feminist: Live Podcast, Pleasance Courtyard, Fri 2–Sun 4 Aug, 4pm.
Catherine Bohart: Lemon
Catherine Bohart: Lemon
Last year, Catherine Bohart’s debut hour about OCD and coming out to her father, a Catholic deacon, left us in stitches and in awe of her natural talent. Thus we anticipate great things in her next offering, which promises to ‘mash stereotypes around sex, sexuality and relationships’. Catherine Bohart: Lemon, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug (not 13), 6pm.
Sara Barron: Enemies Closer
The ‘queen of New York’s storytelling scene’ also made her first Fringe outing last year to great aplomb, nabbing a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and going on to sell-out two runs at London’s Soho Theatre. This year she’ll be serving up more acerbic observations on love and friendship in what promises to be a very funny hour indeed. Sara Barron: Enemies Closer, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug (not 13), 8.30pm.
Definitely one for fans of true crime, Bible John explores the murder of three women in Glasgow’s Barrowlands Ballroom in 1969 by an Old Testament-quoting serial killer. A harrowing, furious yet joyful look into violence and gender, the play also follows four women in the present day who try to catch the killer, once and for all. Bible John, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug Not 13), 3.50pm
Rose Matafeo: Horndog
The New Zealand comic’s musings on horniness was awarded Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards last year, and she now returns for a victory lap of just five dates this time around. So if you missed her acclaimed run last Fringe, don’t make the same mistake again and book her in quickly. Rose Matafeo: Horndog, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 20–24 Aug, 9.30pm
Nick Offerman: All Rise
Rose McGowan: Planet 9
The author, actor and activist Rose McGowan, best known for her role in the Weinstein scandal and resultant #MeToo movement, comes to the Fringe for the first time with a performance that fuses memoir, music, storytelling and projections that promises to transport audiences to a new planet, and explore what a fairer society would mean for all. Rose McGowan: Planet 9, Assembly Hall, Thu 15–Sun 18 Aug, 1pm.