Edinburgh Fringe 2018: 10 theatre shows you must see

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Here’s our guide to the best theatre shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, as recommended by our critics.

Electrolyte (*****)

Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)

“Electrolyte is gig theatre, loud and driven. An immediate standing ovation met Olivia Sweeney’s towering, exhausting performance in a story told in rap rhymes and song … The score goes from blasts of sound to lyrical sweetness.” TIM CORNWELL

The Archive Of Educated Hearts (****)

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

“Casey Jay Andrews has created a memorable, intimate home for her story of families living with breast cancer … a show which is full of light, celebrating the rarest qualities of being human which make it possible to stand up under the heaviest of burdens.” SUSAN MANSFIELD

• READ MORE: Edinburgh Fringe 2018: 10 comedy shows you must see

A Generous Lover (****)

Summerhall (Venue 26)

“A bravura piece that provocatively links insanity, fame, art, class, queerness and politics, asking what’s at stake in accepted divisions of the normal and the mad.” BEN WALTERS

Lights Over Tesco Car Park (****)

Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)

“Do life-changing experiences cease to matter when they are proven to be false? Why is it that people can still feel lonely when they are surrounded by others? While the show almost inevitably ends with David Bowie’s Life on Mars, it’s more thoughtful questions such as these, rather than the search for aliens, that we’re left thinking about.” SALLY STOTT

Ulster American (****)

Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)

“David Ireland’s new play explodes on to the stage like an ill-tempered but witty hurricane. A would-be liberal theatre director and a famous Hollywood actor confront Ruth, a young woman writer from Northern Ireland whose play – featuring a fierce Ulster Loyalist hero – neither of them has read with much respect or real comprehension.” JOYCE MCMILLAN

• READ MORE: Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Three of the best shows for children

The Basement Tapes (****)

Summerhall (Venue 26)

“In this twisty, unpredictable play, the magnetic Stella Reid takes centre stage as a young woman clearing out her recently deceased grandmother’s basement, trying on ancient clothes and dancing riotously to the music blaring from her headphones. In the words of clickbait headlines the world over: what happens next will amaze you.” NICKI BOYLE

First Snow/Première Neige (****)

Canada Hub at King’s Hall (Venue 73)

“An elegantly surreal domestic drama, in which a Québécoise woman who voted ‘yes’ in Quebec’s last independence referendum of 1995 – played with terrific force by Isabelle Vincent – invites her far-flung children, brother and best friend back to the family home, to decide what to do with it.” JOYCE MCMILLAN

Status (****)

Summerhall (Venue 26)

“It’s the morning after the Brexit vote, and Chris Thorpe is up on the roof of the ­London block of flats where he lives, wondering where he is, and how much he really knows about the country he calls home. Then he freaks out and hits the road, fleeing from past versions of himself, and seeking some new identity. JOYCE MCMILLAN

• READ MORE: Edinburgh Festival 2018: Best Fringe shows for Brexit satire

Class (****)

Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)

“A humane and realistic drama in which working-class parents Brian and Donna roll up at school to talk to a teacher about their nine-year-old son Jaden, who seems to be having learning difficulties.” JOYCE MCMILLAN

Angry Alan by Penelope Skinner (****)

Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61)

“Wrapped in inadequacy and failure, Roger finds Angry Alan, a pioneer of the men’s rights movement, on YouTube, a prophet who leads this lost ram to his ‘red pill moment.’ Asks plenty of questions and packs a giant punch.” SALLY STOTT