Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 great shows to help you rage against the machine

The Royal Mile in full-on festival mode. Picture: Andrew Milligan
The Royal Mile in full-on festival mode. Picture: Andrew Milligan
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The spirit of the Fringe has always been gloriously iconoclastic, discarding convention in favour of wanton creativity, reckless comedy and gleeful subversion. It is a special place, on the fringes of normality, where the regular rules don't apply.

This year, several performers have taken advantage of this energy, staging shows that rail against the centre itself – singing songs about the deadening effects of late stage capitalism, dancing against consumer culture and cutting the advertising industry to shreds with razor-edged satire.

Here are four of the best shows that will help you tap into the Fringe's rebellious spirit and rage against the machine.

Forbruker, Zoo Playground, Edinburgh, Until 10 August

Described as a “one-woman advert break”, Frankie Thompson's show aims to interrupt the air waves to ask why so many of the words we hear throughout the day are dedicated to selling us something?

Focusing especially on the (often resolutely absurd) ways in which the ad industry functions to convert women into consumable objects, Thompson's easy charm allows her to dive deep into the world's most cynical industry and re-emerge laughing as lightly as before.

Read our full review here

Dominic Frisbee: Libertarian Love Songs, Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh, Until 25 August

When a term can apply equally to both Republican presidential candidates and the creators of South Park, perhaps it's worth taking a moment to wonder what it really means. So what is a Libertarian?

Dominic Frisbee, creator of the hit YouTube song “18 Million F**k Offs – A Song About Brexit”, defines it more or less as an opposition to anyone who might try to tell him what to do, say or think.

With song titles like “Maybe Donald Trump is Not All Bad” and “I'm Secretly in Love with Nigel Farage”, he makes no secret of his desire to push your buttons but, fortunately, Scotsman reviewer Kate Copstick found that “there is no need to agree with Frisby’s opinions to enjoy the show.”

Come for the passive-aggressive rap, stay for the friendly game of “Who's the most libertarian person in the room?”

Read our full review here

Fulfilment, Underbelly – Cowgate, Edinburgh, Until 25 August

Amazon has become a central tenet of modern life for a huge number of people, fulfilling all those science fiction promises made the ease and comfort that the future would hold. The whole world is at our fingertips, all the objects of our desire are just a left-click away. From the surface of our screens to a parcel in our hands in a matter of mere hours. Amazing.

But, of course, nothing is ever really free. First-hand accounts from exhausted employees have portrayed life at Amazon as a back-breaking, nerve-shredding race against the clock in which an incessant drive for productivity sees human beings crushed up inside corporate machinery. The company's decision to give its warehouses an Orwellian re-branding ("Fulfilment Centres") has done little to dispel the idea of a place with something to hide.

Theatre company SharkLegs use this juxtaposition to offer a searing insight into not just the business practices of one particular company, but the deeper questions posed by consumer culture as a whole. No matter what the customer is being charged directly, the daily conveniences offered by mega-corporations like Amazon always come at a price – so just how much are we willing to pay?

Read our full review here

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Until 25 August

Charged with tracing the modern history of Iran, Javaad Alipoor's show has a lot of ground to cover. An oil-rich nation struggling to fend off the grasping hands of the West. A people rising up against their oppressors, unwilling to be exploited any longer. A new generation, born into a paradoxic mixture of revolutionary parenthood and vast inherited wealth.

With Rich Kids, decades of political turmoil are distilled into a single image, blaring out from the theatre's giant screens: the mangled remains of a bright yellow Porsche.

Driven by the son of a key revolutionary figure as he met his death while off on an adulterous adventure, the stark image communicates a culture hurtling wildly out of control in pursuit of luxury, style and momentary pleasure. The show is about that young couple and the value which paved the road to their demise, but much more about the nation around them, and the world around that, and the speed with which it is tearing off in the same direction.

Read our full review here