Top rated shows at the Edinburgh Festivals 2016

Not sure what to see? Let our list be your guide
Not sure what to see? Let our list be your guide
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Not sure what to go see? Why not check out some of the best rated shows the Festival has to offer?

Time is limited and shows are aplenty - make sure you see the best by visiting our top reviewed shows.

Alan Cumming will blow you away in this cabert performance

Alan Cumming will blow you away in this cabert performance

Cabaret and variety review

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs: The Scottish star who has become a home name in American US drama The Good Wife, returns to his love of theatre and song in this emotional four-star show with tales from his youth.

Peter Straker Sings Brel: Never as famous as he might have been, the Jamaican-born Straker gives a four-star interpretation of the songs of Jacques Brel.

Pollyanna: Billed as “intimate testbed cabaret”, Pollyanna is a four-star late-night platform for experimental, transgressive performance

Newcomer Milk is a surprise success this year

Newcomer Milk is a surprise success this year


Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret: This five-star show is not your usual classical genre. Featuring a diva performance by Meow Meow and a faked female orgasm, this gives a new spin on the classics.


Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud: This four-star set is a reflection of Nish’s abiding affection for this island and its culture, reiterated when he desperately implores Scotland not to seek independence, if only for his self-preservation.

Sarah Kendall: Shaken: The final instalment in Sarah Kendall’s trilogy of shows about her adolescence growing up in Newcastle, Australia, in her four-star performance.

David Quirk: Approaching Perfection: This four-star show takes place entirely on a bus driving round Edinburgh.

Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely To Die: Having a lot of fun on stage Felicity delivers this four-star show, punctuating her routines with a klaxon siren she works from her phone.

Carl Donnelly: Bad Man Tings: Four-star performance from Carl as he laments the tranquillity of happiness.

Dance, physical theatre and circus

Water on Mars: This five-star performance will leave you agreeing that it is the best juggling show you’ll ever see.

The Rooster and Partial Memory: Four-stars for this exploration of male power and dictatorship, five dancers fight over a “masbaha” – a long thread which signifies who is in charge.

I Am Rhythm: After Freedom Productions build an exuberant, four-star, joyful and informative picture of South African dance history.

Your Majesties: Gives a solid four-star performance based on President Obama’s speech from the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo.

Closer By Circa: This five-star show takes their art to the next level. Unmissable.

Elixir: There is a touch of raunchiness in this four-star performance by Melbourne-based company Head First Acrobats.

Bedtime Stories: This is simply a very beautiful, dynamic and well-crafted four-star show for children and their grown-ups, with a deeper moral message.

Are We Stronger Than Winston?: This four-star 50-minute show reflecting on the experience of Cyclone Winston, which devastated the islands in February of this year.

Contemporary?: A four-star tongue-in-cheek show from Lithuania.


Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia: This five-star, dramatic second concert at the International Festival demonstrated the orchestra talents so ­brilliantly.

Mark Padmore and Kristian Bezuidenhout: London-born tenor Mark Padmore’s superb technical accomplishment almost goes without saying but is spectacularly highlighted in this four-star performance.

Flit: This four-star show passionately makes the connection between displaced older generations who came to the UK on the Kindertransport before the Second World War and the treatment of migrants today.

Karmana, Songs Of The Roma: This four-star performance opened with brooding cello and terse guitar outbursts before Natanson’s melismatically yearning tones delivered an eloquent reproach to man’s inhumanity to man.


Milk: Traverse Theatre’s headline show gives a solid four-star performance in this debut performance from Orla O’Loughlin and follows the stories of three couples living somewhere in urban Scotland.

Heads Up: A four-star twist on poetry with this blazing hour-long solo poem, performed by Kieran Hurley while he also DJs the accompanying sound by Michael John McCarthy.

World Without Us: A ­brilliant visionary poem – delivered by Belgian Valentijn Dhaenens in a four-star performance – that dwells not on the detail of our last days.

Nicole Henriksen is Makin’ It Rain: A five-star performance from a former stripper on her views of the world.

Mine: The complex moral conceit behind Mine sees a powerful four-star monologue delivered with intensity by actress Maisie Barlow.

The Glass Menageri: This four-star performance transforms the reputation as a ­“lovely little memory play” to restore it to its true ­status as “a great memory tragedy”.

Expensive Shit: Adura Onashile’s new four-star show for the Traverse and Scottish Theatre Producers is sometimes chaotic, always electrifying.

The Interference: This powerful four-star show follows an incident of “date rape” by a popular football star on a US university campus and takes a sharply-shaped documentary-style approach to the material.

Hummingbird: This four-star play takes its inspiration from the Lonely Hearts Killers, an American couple in the late 1940s who met their victims through classified ads.

Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka: This four-star performance follows Holly, a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Abigail Conway’s Time Lab: This four-star not so much a show or an installation as a well-shaped workshop, in which you’re invited to spend a contemplative hour taking apart an old broken watch.

Cuncrete: This four-star show is one of a number of drag-king shows at this year’s Fringe.

The Point: It’s set in Glasgow – but it could be anywhere. This four-star tale of three sex workers is designed to be universal.

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