Edinburgh Festival 2018: 7 shows you have to see in week two

Need inspiration for what to see at the Festival this week? Here's a round-up of this week's must-see shows according to our critic, Andrew Eaton-Lewis
Xenos. Picture: Jean Louis FernandezXenos. Picture: Jean Louis Fernandez
Xenos. Picture: Jean Louis Fernandez

Tony Slattery

Comebacks are a bit of a theme this year, and this is one of the most welcome. Tony Slattery’s notable achievements include winning the first ever Perrier Award as part of The Cellar Tapes, with his friends Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Sandi Toksvig. A few years later, Whose Line Is It Anyway made him a TV star and led to spin-offs, film acting, musicals, and numerous appearances on TV and radio panel shows. If his profile has dropped a little in more recent times it is partly because of illness – he has been very open about living with bipolar disorder, and his Fringe commitments this year will include an improv set at the Mental Health Foundation’s Gala for Mental Health on 20 August (see page 11). That same day he’ll be opening his own improv show; from this week, though, he’ll be reflecting on his career in a daily show with historian Robert Ross.

Slattery Will Get You Nowhere, Stand’s New Town Theatre, Wednesday to 26 August; Tony Slattery’s Crimes Against Improv, 20, 22, 24 and 26 August. thestand.co.uk

The Beggar's Opera/La Maladie De La Mort. Picture: Patrick BergerThe Beggar's Opera/La Maladie De La Mort. Picture: Patrick Berger
The Beggar's Opera/La Maladie De La Mort. Picture: Patrick Berger


The Beggar’s Opera/La Maladie De La Mort

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A production “very much for our turbulent times” promises the EIF of its new version of John Gay’s satirical comedy – a show so popular that it ran for a record-breaking 1,463 performances on its revival in 1920 – and The Beggar’s Opera’s themes (class, crime and corruption) are certainly timely. The show (above) is the first of three productions at this year’s EIF by Paris company Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. Also opening this week is La Maladie De La Mort, Katie Mitchell’s adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s thriller.

The Beggar’s Opera, King’s Theatre, Thursday until 19 August; La Maladie De La Mort, Lyceum, Thursday until 19 August, eif.co.uk



This new solo work by Akram Khan (right) will apparently be the last time he performs in a full-length production, so make the most of it. Xenos – it means “stranger” or “foreigner” – is one of numerous high-profile projects this year commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War; Khan’s focus is on the 1.5 million Indian men who fought for the British Empire but whose stories were later suppressed after India won its independence, making them strangers in their own country.

Festival Theatre, Thursday, Friday and Saturday


NEHH, Made In Scotland and Meursault Present... Crow Hill

An excellent Edinburgh band debut an ambitious new multimedia project as part of the Made In Scotland showcase – “a series of urban horror story vignettes” told in the form of an album, a film, and a graphic novel.

Queen’s Hall, Wednesday and Thursday


Rose McGowan

The #MeToo movement has had a huge – and, we suspect, lasting – impact on this year’s festival, and here is perhaps its most famous representative, at the Book Festival to discuss her book Brave, a rightfully angry memoir about Hollywood misogyny. Tickets, we imagine, will be very much in demand.

Charlotte Square, Monday, edbookfest.co.uk


Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret

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There are a lot of Brexit-themed shows this year, but this is the only one written by the man behind Jerry Springer: The Opera and featuring Le Gateau Chocolat as Boris Johnson. Enormous fun, then (completely unlike Brexit itself).

Assembly George Square Gardens, until 27 August, edfringe.com


Phyllida Barlow: Quarry

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If by now you’re keen to escape the city crowds, Jupiter Artland near Wilkieston is always worth a trip, and it recently celebrated its tenth birthday by adding this new piece to its impressive collection of outdoor sculptures and installations.

Open throughout August, jupiterartland.org