Mhairi Black to make debut at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Mhairi Black, Britain's youngest MP, is to make her debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

MP Mhairi Black speaks at a demonstration in Glasgow's George Square. She will be making her debut at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe
MP Mhairi Black speaks at a demonstration in Glasgow's George Square. She will be making her debut at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe

She will be appearing in a Masonic Hall alongside impressionist Rory Bremner, Scotland football team manager Alex McLeish, QC Donald Findlay, and the singers KT Tunstall and Barbara Dickson.

Crime writer Val McDermid, comic Ruby Wax, tennis coach Judy Murray, football commentator Archie McPherson, and human rights laywer Aamer Anwar will also be appearing at the George Street venue, which is run by the Stand Comedy Club.

It has organised a series of “in conversation” events at the venue, which is closed to the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s site in Charlotte Square, and the literary celebration’s new arena at the west end of George Street, which is expected to return in August.

Also due to appear at the Freemasons Lodge on George Street are the comics Ruby Wax, Jonathan Watson, Arnold Brown and Paul Sinha.

The line-up at the New Town Theatre, as it is known during the Fringe, will include runs by comics Brian “Limmy” Limond, rapper and Poverty Safari authr Darren McGarvey and magician and comic Jerry Sadowitz.

Other highlights of The Stand’s programme are expected to include a chat show fronted by comic Miles Jupp, a new one-woman show by singer Michelle McManus and the return of Tony Slattery to the Fringe with a new “all-star improvisation show.”
Ms Black was still studying politics and public policy at Glasgow University when she was elected MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in 2015.

Black, who will be at the New Town Theatre on the festival’s opening weeekend, will be following in the footsteps of Alex Salmond by appearing at the Fringe.

The former First Minister hosted his own cabaret show last year, months after being ousted from Westminster.

Publicity material for Black’s appearance states: “Principled and passionate, she is a long-standing critic of Westminster, which she describes as ‘an old boys’ club, excluded from reality, with a culture of sexism and arrogance.

“A tireless campaigner against everyday sexual harassment and misogynistic online abuse, she was the first MP to use the C-word in parliament. She is a proud Partick Thistle fan.”

Other political figures in The Stand’s programme this year include Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Scotland’s Brexit Minister, Michael Russell.

The New Town Theatre line-up will also include a play exploring the mystery over the death of the lawyer and SNP activist Willie MacRae more than 30 years ago.

Kenny O’Brien, director of The Stand Comedy Club, said: “We are not just putting the ‘in conversation’ events on because the New Town Theatre is near the book festival site. We’d put them on anywhere because we think they are worth doing. We tend to think festival-goers are not exclusive to one event. There is a lot of cross-over.

“I think people also want to hear politicians go a bit off-script. Every time people hear politicians on television or radio it tends to be a bit sound-bitey. If there is a longer conversation then it is more likely that it will be steered into a more interesting direction. They also don’t just have to be asked about their politics.”