In Focus

Edinburgh Festival 2022: best shows and events to book now

What’s on at the fringe and international festivals in Scotland’s capital city

1

Theatre: 2-7 August and other dates 

Hamlet with Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen is playing Hamlet for a third time, in what is being billed as a “new performance concept”. The actor, 83, will deliver a number of the Dane’s speeches, accompanied by dancers from the Edinburgh Festival Ballet. 

2

Comedy: 3-16 and 18-28 August

Sophie Duker: Hag

Sophie Duker is back with her new show, Hag. Sit tight for this sophomore show, “cause the sexy baby from Taskmaster is all grown up”, said the British Comedy Guide

3

Theatre: 3-8 August and other dates 

Victoria Melody: Head Set

A look at ADHD via wearable tech. Documentary theatre-maker Victoria Melody scans her brain as she delivers jokes to investigate her late-age diagnosis of ADHD and autism.

4

Theatre: 3-8 August and other dates 

You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History

A look at the 75,000-year history of humanity’s impact on the environment from the lens of the 2019 Australian bushfires, the worst fires in the country’s recorded history. Son of a climate scientist, Australian theatre maker David Finnigan spoke with 30 climate scientists to write this show.

5

Theatre: 3-14 August and other dates 

Shame on You! 

Shame on You! follows a journey through Switzerland, Russia and Pakistan with an archive of shame that explores seemingly banal everyday situations and painful cross-cultural experiences of violence and discrimination.

6

Theatre: 4-14 and 16-29 August 

9 Circles

Based on the true story of repatriated US Army Private Steven Dale Green, who was accused of war crimes. It’s a psychological thriller asking how a soldier with a clinically diagnosed personality disorder can be trained as a cold-blooded killing machine while clinging on to the threads of his humanity.

7

Music/Opera: 6 August

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra free concert 

Among the free events is a concert by the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. Pieces include Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Anna Fedorova, and an aria from Verdi’s Aida with Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska. 

8

Comedy: 6-28 August

Sam Nicoresti: Cancel Anti Wokeflake Snow Culture

The comedy highlights include Sam Nicoresti’s show Cancel Anti Wokeflake Snow Culture, which takes on contemporary politics, and is free. 

9

Circus/Theatre: 8-9 August

The Pulse

There will be plenty of circus acts to see, but The Pulse by Gravity & Other Myths is a sure-fire winner. The group of 60 acrobats and choral singers have dazzled audiences at home in Australia with their extraordinary feats. 

10

Comedy: 11-14 August

Jacqueline Novak: Get on Your Knees

Jacqueline Novak’s Get on Your Knees is a “wickedly intelligent cod-lecture” on oral sex, said The Telegraph. Described as “remarkable comedy” by The Guardian, this is a show that “never stops being audaciously funny”.

11

Dance/theatre: 17-18 August and other dates  

Kvartetto

A quartet of intellectually disabled performers from Finland craft a heart-warming dance show about the power of dance to showcase to society the emotional mosaic of desires and longings of people with intellectual disabilities.

12

Theatre: 20-22 August

A Little Life

Director Ivo van Hove adapts Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life, a powerful study of trauma and friendship. Performed in Dutch with English subtitles.

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