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Edinburgh’s Festivals 2022

Our regular debrief on the biggest summer festival programme announcements


© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society / Picture: David Monteith-Hodge 

As Edinburgh's festival season edges closer, music, theatre, art and comedy programmes across the board are beginning to take shape. This week’s new announcements came from the Fringe, participating venues Summerhall and Gilded Balloon, and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. 

We've pulled together a selection of highlights worthy of your attention: 

Fringe

It’s been a big week for Fringe news, with over 1,800 new show announcements. As we couldn’t possibly name them all, head to edfringe.com to explore the full list.

Comedy

Familiar returnees include John Robins with his show Work In Progress / Progress In Work (Just The Tonic), musical comedy duo Flo & Joan (Assembly Rooms), Phil Wang’s The Real Hero in All This (Assembly), Mark Thomas (The Stand) and Jojo Sutherland (Gilded Balloon), while first timers Thanyia Moore and Suchandrika Chakrabarti present their debut shows Just Being Funny (Monkey Barrel) and I Miss Amy Winehouse (Paradise Green). Also making its Fringe debut is popular variety show Leith Social at The Pitt Market in Leith (Gilded Balloon), which will bring together the best stand-up, drag and musical acts. 

Theatre & Dance

DONUTS is a multidisciplinary play ‘inspired by classic sitcoms from the 90s and 00s’ featuring ‘hypnotic and playful contemporary dance to jazz and funk’ (Assembly), while JD: (Le) Pain uses circus, dance and storytelling to bring to life a tale of growing up queer in a boulangerie in the south of France (also Assembly).

Audiences can celebrate the street dance culture of Cuba in Havana Street and see a live circus rock tribute to David Bowie in Rebel (Underbelly). For those who want to get more involved, walk around the streets of Edinburgh with A Guide to Surviving Masculinist Territory, an audio tour exploring the masculinist splinter community of ‘Incels’, or experience the Hebridean thriller about a marine biologist who falls in love with a sea monster in In the Weeds by Joseph Wilde, produced by An Tobar and Mull Theatre (Summerhall).

Cabaret

Drag cabaret star Reuben Kaye is back with his show Kaye Hole Hosted by Reuben Kaye (Assembly) while TikTok famed singing siblings Sugarcoated Sisters bring their show Bittersweet to Just The Tonic. 

Becoming Chavela, a docu-cabaret performance of iconic Mexican singer Chavela Vargas Chavela’s life and music, is performed by Stephanie Trudeau, and Florence Poskitt and Adam Sowter’Fladam's Musical Comedy Hootennany! combines witty lyricism with rollicking piano (Pleasance).

Spoken word

LBC broadcaster Iain Dale will be pitching up at the EICC to interview high profile political figures Keir Starmer, Jeremy Corbyn and Nadine Dorries, to name but a few (Pleasance), and tennis coach extraordinaire Judy Murray will debut her chat show The Duncan and Judy Show, co-starring her lesser known son, Duncan (Gilded Balloon).

If poetry is your thing, David Lee Morgan will read from his series of poents on gender, sex and revolution Poems on Gender (Paradise Green). 

Music

Marking its 11th Festival Programme, Summerhall will have a wide variety of avant-garde events running from 5-28 August 2022. The live music programme contains everything from pop to trad, including performances from Cate Le BonHoneyblood, Auntie FloLos Bitchos and Rura. Club nights throughout the month include Headset, a night of UK garage, ballroom, house and breaks; Revolt! which brings together exciting names in experimental electro; and Messenger Sound System play a bit of foundation roots and modern dubwize (amongst other things). 

Musicals and Opera 

I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical is the somewhat meta tale of bad auditions, difficult dance routines and backstage drama written by Alexander S. Bermange (Underbelly), while RuneSical is an ‘interactive parody musical inspired by online game RuneScape’ (Gilded Balloon). 

Guilty: A Legal Musical Comedy gives ‘fiction’s greatest villains, from Hannibal Lecter to Cruella de Vil, their day in court’, while popular numbers from Cabaret, The Sound of Music, Blues Brothers, Wicked and more feature in Last Night a Musical Saved My Life! (Greenside).

Those of you who don't plan on making the pilgrimage to Edinburgh, the Fringe’s online offering is back and ready to serve. Featured on the digital bill is Opera Cooperstown, coined as a ‘present-day Othello’, and Lag: A Zoomsical Comedy, written and directed by Haddon Kime, calls itself the first original musical written to be performed on video conference software. 
 
Nubya Garcia / Picture: Jonathan Chimene

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

As Edinburgh’s international celebration of jazz and blues music returns this July (Fri 15 – Sun 24), contemporary Scottish jazz pioneers Fergus McCreadie, Ali Affleck, Colin Steele and Martin Kershaw feature on the programme, joining John Scofield, Ambrose Akinmusire, Mud Morganfield and Mercury Prize-nominated saxophonist Nubya Garcia. Also returning to the festival are big hitters Jools Holland, Curtis Stigers, Blind Boy Paxton and Davina and the Vagabonds.

The EXPO series, giving a voice to the new wave of Scottish jazz musicians, will include performances from Richard Glassby, kitti, Conor Smith and Matthew Kilner,

Finally, an extensive online programme under the title EJBF22 is due to be hosted on the brand-new EJBF Digital Hub to give audiences far and wide the opportunity to get in on the fun.

Stay tuned for more Edinburgh festival announcements. For more information on general festival news, check out our Guide To Scotland’s Festivals.

Attribution/author: Megan Merino

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