With topics ranging from gaslighting to the NHS, this year’s female Fringe performers are pulling no punches. Here’s our pick of the must-see shows…
Whatever your taste in comedy, theatre and cabaret, you’ll be able to find something to suit you at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. More than 3,000 performers will descend on the Scottish capital this August, with shows running the gambit from the personal to the political, the extraordinarily silly to the devastatingly sad.
This dazzling variety makes the Fringe a brilliant place to soak up culture – but it also means that planning a trip to the festival can be rather overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve rounded up 10 must-see shows by women below.
1) Jessie Cave: Sunrise
2) Athena Kugblenu: Follow the Leader
Ever felt like the world is getting stupider by the day? You’ll relate to this stand-up show, in which comedian Kugblenu dissects the idea of idiocy to hilarious effect. (In a nutshell, she doesn’t think she can blame the American people for electing Trump, when she also routinely picks the wrong men.) Politics, race and identity tackled with lively, self-deprecating wit.
Underbelly, Bristo Square, 1-12 and 14-26 August, 5.30pm; edfringe.com
3) Natalie Palamides: Nate
4) Queens of Sheba
5) Luisa Omielan: Politics For Bitches
6) Alissa Anne Jeun Yi: Love Songs
Jeun Yi’s one-woman show covers a lot of ideas in a lot of different ways. A blend of Beyoncé bangers, comedic rap and spoken word, it sees the writer, performer and comedian explore everything from the hypersexualisation of East Asian women (Jeun Yi is half-Chinese) to teenage crushes and sexual assault.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 2-14 and 16-26 August, 2.40pm; edfringe.com
7) Sh!t Theatre: Dollywould
Sh!t Theatre (Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit) tell of their pilgrimage to Dollywood – and forge a connection between Dolly Parton and Dolly the cloned sheep.
Summerhall, 14-26 August, 6.25pm; edfringe.com
8) Apphia Campbell: Woke
9) Flo & Joan: Alive on Stage
Musical comedians Flo & Joan have a cult following on YouTube, where their deadpan, satirical songs about everything from dating to bees have reached 50 million views. Their show at this year’s Fringe addresses weddings, sex robots and Leslie Ash (although not all in the same song).
Pleasance Courtyard, 1-10 and 12-26 August, 4pm; edfringe.com
10) Hoard by Bim Adewunmi
Adewunmi has built up an adoring fanbase for her long, thoughtful essays and savvy pop culture takes (she’s a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed News and a Guardian Weekend columnist). Hoard, her first play, tells the story of tight-knit siblings Rafi and Ami, whose first meeting with their sister’s boyfriend goes explosively awry.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 2-26 August, 5.20pm; underbellyedinburgh.co.uk
Words: Moya Crockett, Helen Bownass. Images: Getty Images