The Scotsman’s Fringe Firsts have been the most prestigious theatre prizes at the Edinburgh Festival since they were founded in 1973. Awarded once a week throughout the Fringe, they recognise the best new writing premiered at the festival.
Congratulations to all this week’s winners, and a big thank you to our judging panel – Joyce McMillan, Mark Fisher, Susan Mansfield, Jackie McGlone, Sally Stott, David Pollock and Fiona Shepherd.
Our final Fringe First winners of 2018 will be announced at the Scotsman Fringe Awards next week – see below.
MARK THOMAS – CHECK UP: OUR NHS AT 70
For the past year, Mark Thomas has been researching the state of the NHS on its 70th birthday. The result, playing at the Traverse throughout the month, is a profoundly moving show by one of the nation’s great storytellers, on angry amd unstoppable form.
Fife-based playwright John McCann’s show DUPed at Sweet Grassmarket is a social, political and recent-historical primer on Northern Ireland, from the rise of the Rev Ian Paisley as a powerful public speaker and divisive populist leader to the violence of the Troubles and the DUP’s ongoing resistance to birth control and gay marriage rights McCann is a clear and evocative storyteller, and the journey he takes us on is captivating – the finale is particularly powerful.
How do you mend your life again after a horrible, destructive assault? Lydia Higginson, Josie Dale-Jones, Nobahar Mahdavi and Olivia Norris explore this question together in a show full of vivid life and colour at Underbelly.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME
In this bold and sometimes breathtaking production at the Traverse, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R Sheppard explore the imagery and legacy of the age of slavery, as a love affair between two teachers – one white, one black – unleashes centuries of racial tension.
MY LEFT RIGHT FOOT – THE MUSICAL
Written and directed by Robert Softley Gale, and co-produced by Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland, this riotously funny show at Assembly Roxy is, at its heart, about disabled people’s right to be heard.
ON THE EXHALE
It’s rare to find a piece of writing that takes us so deeply into the interaction between humans and firearms as Chicago writer Martin Zimmerman’s superb monologue, now receiving its European premiere at the Traverse.
At Summerhall, a thrilling production of a new show by Scottish writers Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair brings a blast of rowdy playground comedy to questions about masculinity.