Edinburgh Fringe 2023: Top Picks – Theatre

Our pick of the best theatre at the Fringe, from sci-fi adventures in space to powerful stories of healing and redemption

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What If They Ate The Baby?
Photo by Morgan McDowell
Published 26 Jul 2023

ZOO Playground, 4-17 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 1.05pm

In this hybrid theatrical experience, Toasterlab combine VR, streaming, and in-person performance to take audiences on an African-Futurist journey across time, space, and the metaverse to help an Egyptian queen.

Blub Blub
Summerhall, 3-27 Aug (not 14, 21), 2pm

It might be the summer holidays but here's one school (of fish) you won't want to miss. Trunk Theatre Project return with a story of two fish falling in love as they attempt to escape an aquarium, featuring puppets, props and live music. Suitable for ages eight and up. 

Bowjangles: Dracula in Space 
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 2-27 Aug, 4.30pm

The unconventional string quartet present an intergalactic love letter to classic horror films, taking us on a musical adventure into outer space using choreography, comedy and song. 

Dark Noon 
Pleasance at EICC, 2-27 Aug (not 9, 16, 23), 5pm

Fix&Foxy's theatrical saga reimagines the history of America, as told by those denied a voice. On an initially bare stage, a familiar Western movie town emerges from the dust, with seven South African actors addressing themes of representation and misrepresentation.

How to Bury a Dead Mule 
Pleasance Dome, 2-27 Aug (not 16, 21), 11.50am 

The powerful story of Royal Irish Fusilier, Norman Clements, as he wrestles with the psychological and emotional impact of military service. Written and performed by Norman’s grandson, Richard Clements, this is a tale of healing and redemption, set in the aftermath of the Second World War. 

I Hope Your Flowers Bloom 
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 2-27 Aug (not 9, 13, 16, 20)

Raymond Wilson’s semi-autobiographical piece blends spoken word, storytelling and comedy to transport him from the monotony of a Glasgow scheme into Scotland's natural world, providing an unflinching look at nature, masculinity and self-reflection. 

It's a Motherf**king Pleasure 
Underbelly, Bristo Square, 2-27 Aug (not 14, 21), 2.20pm

A provocative and scathing satire from disability-led theatre company FlawBored, which explores the monetisation of identity politics with dark comedy, wit and plenty of absurdity. 

JM Coetzee's Life & Times of Michael K 
Assembly Hall, 4-27 Aug (not 14, 21), 12pm

Adapted from JM Coetzee's 1983 Booker Prize-winning novel, The Baxter collaborate with Tony Award-winning Handspring Puppet Company to bring the resilient Michael K to life with puppetry, film and music. 

Let the Bodies Pile by Henry Naylor 
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2-28 Aug, 4pm

Three-time Fringe First winner Henry Naylor's latest play takes a sinister look at two unrelated killings, 27 years apart, asking: what connects a diagnosis from infamous serial killer Harold Shipman in 1993 and a care home's mass deaths from Covid in 2020?

Summerhall, 2-27 (not 3, 14, 21), 10.15pm

The Blond (Emily Allan) and The Dark Haired One (Leah Hennessey) take us on a perverted journey through famous fan-fictional pairings, incorporating critical theory, second wave feminism, cosplay and mashed up 80s punk songs along the way.

Horizon Showcase: Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
Traverse Theatre, 15-27 Aug (not 21), times vary

Javaad Alipoor's powerful and political trilogy concludes with a thought-provoking investigation into the unresolved murder of an Iranian pop star.

What If They Ate The Baby? 
theSpace @ Niddry Street, 14-19 Aug, 5.50pm; theSpace on the Mile, 21-26 Aug, 9.15pm

Fringe First winners Xhloe Rice and Natasha Roland return with a new physical theatre show, revealing the secrets of housewives' tales, missing children and unpredictable recipes.