Six hotly-tipped political shows at the Edinburgh Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, even before Scotland's constitutional debate, Brexit, and elections at least once a year, has always had a political element.

Hundreds of performers stage free shows every day on the Royal Mile and The Mound during the Fringe.
Hundreds of performers stage free shows every day on the Royal Mile and The Mound during the Fringe.

The official programme for the month-long Fringe lists well over 150 shows that feature politics in their description, showing that in 2017 there’s still appetite for political performances.

Whether they are one-person shows, themed musicals, acerbic comedy, or even puppet displays, there is no shortage of current affairs in Edinburgh this summer.

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With political shows often the highlight of the festival for many observers, here are just some of the most anticipated.

Hard Breakfast - The Cabaret

It takes something to combine the overarching political issue dividing the nation, an oft-committed slip of the tongue, and a pun and make a variety show.

That’s what Pie Face Productions have managed for the second year running as they bring their political-themed musical on Brexit back to the Fringe.

This time, the team promises even more variety in their showcase, with guest ‘appearances’ by Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May.

At Paradise in the Vault, August 5-12, 14-19, 21-27.

Another Political Comedy Show

It might sound dull by the title, but this show, the poster of which is adorned by an embracing (and semi-naked) Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin, promises to be anything but.

It’s UK v New Zealand as Rick Molland and Sully O’Sullivan go head to head in what is billed as a comedy battle.

Our own review of the show last year said the duo “Demonstrated no subject ought to be off-limits if handled intelligently and originally”.

At the Beehive Inn, August 4-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-27. Over 16s only.

Fin Taylor - Lefty Tighty Righty Loosey

One of the most discussed, and lauded comedians of last year’s Edinburgh fringe, Fin Taylor returns with a show based on left-wing politics.

His show, Whitey McWhiteface, which debuted in 2016, discussed raise wand was awarded a coveted five-star rating from The Scotsman.

That show was called equal parts thought-provoking and side splitting, and early reviews of previews Lefty Tighty Righty Loosey seem to promise the same again.

At Just the Tonic at The Tron, August 3-13, 15-27.

Various – Escaping Trump’s America

Of all the late-night variety shows like Late and Live, there are usually few newcomers that can challenge the established routines.

Escaping Trump’s America could prove the exception with a nightly show in the Old Town as a series of stateside comedians poke fun at their President.

It’s not all doom and gloom even as largely liberal stand-ups reflect on their new ruler, they promise singalongs and games along the way.

At the Frankenstein Pub, August 4 – 28.

Geoff Norcott – Right Leaning but Well Meaning

When a newspaper like the Telegraph calls a show a comedic ‘Tonic’ then it is clear this isn’t the usual left-of-centre political satire.

Norcott claims to be the only openly pro-Tory comedian on the stand-up circuit, and made a name for himself during the election campaign by branching out into (semi) serious analysis.

Despite going against the political grain of many of his peers, Norcott is widely respected, and his comedy has invariably opened to rave reviews.

At the Wee Cow, Udderbelly, August 2-28.

Macblair – Theatre

A play that seems especially relevant as the former Prime Minister Tony Blair is once again in the news for his role in the war in Iraq.

The Falling Sparrow Productions piece has slipped under the radar somwewhere, but was lauded during a recent turn at the Brighton Fringe.

It re-imagines Blair’s reign at the pinnacle of British politics, but interspersed with the original Scottish tragedy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

At C Primo, Hill Street Studio, August 13 – 28.