Circus shows to see at the Fringe
Doncha just love it when someone does all the hard work for you? Vee Smith has done a heroic trawl through the vastness of the Edinburgh Fringe programme using her expert knowledge to find the best circus acts, so that you don’t have to.
The world’s largest arts festival has thousands of shows across the city. With so much happening, and a festival programme that closely resembles a telephone directory (for anyone out there old enough to still know what that is!), it can be more than a little overwhelming when trying to decide what to see.
Here’s Vee’s top picks, in four categories:
This year there are two high-quality circus shows at the Fringe which feature home-grown talent. That’s unusual in such a prestige international festival and it’s been made possible with funding from arts organisation Made in Scotland. With fabulously fortuitous planning, both of these shows are in the same venue, one directly after the other…it would be mad not to make an evening of it! There’s 10 minutes between them so if you’re quick you can even grab a drink.
Dreams of the Small Gods by Zinnia Oberski tells the story of the awakening of Wild Woman. A solo trapeze show that brings together circus, masked rites and performance art, Edinburgh-based Zinnia is the winner of the Summerhall Autopsy Award which helps artists working in Scotland to make boundary-pushing works. Summerhall - The Demonstration Room, 7:50pm (1 hour) 3rd-28th
The Chosen Haram by Sadiq Ali has been doing its final pre-Fringe rehearsals here in Aerial Edge and the show uses Chinese Pole to tell the story of two men and the barriers they must overcome. ‘Haram’ means something that is forbidden in Islam, and this show does not shy away from difficult topics, but treats them sensitively and with care. Winner of the Innovation Award at the Scottish Emerging Theatre Awards, The Chosen Haram has received four-star reviews from the Scotsman, The Stage and The Guardian. Summerhall - Main Hall 9pm (1 hour) 3rd-27th (not 4th, not Sun/Mon)
Rouge a heady mix of aerial, acrobatics and opera from Australian outfit Highwire Entertainment, this is circus for grown-ups that stimulate the senses in all the right ways. Assembly Hall - Main Hall, 10:20pm (1hour) 4-21 (not Wednesdays).
La Clique is the original international sexy circus cabaret and it’s back again featuring new acts from circus starts Hugo Desmarais (Cirque du Soleil), LJ Marles (Seven Fingers) and Burlesque from Miss Jolie Papillon. Underbelly - Circus Hub, The Meadows, 7:35pm (70 mins) 5th-27th (not Mondays)
The Kaye Hole Hosted by Reuben Kaye. International Cabaret Icon Reuben Kaye returns to Edinburgh with this late-night delve into the best of cabaret at the Fringe. Assembly Checkpoint 11:40pm (90 mins) 18+ Fri, Sat & Sun only, 5th-28th (not 21st)
Some companies never get old, they mature like a fine wine.
Railed is brought to you by the wonders from down under that are Head First Acrobats, the all-boy acro group from previous Edinburgh smash hit Elixir. Funny, raucous and unashamedly silly, this new-to-Edinburgh show is an homage to all thing Wild West! Assembly - George Square Gardens, 6:35pm (1 hour) 3rd-28th
Kin returns to Edinburgh with a new cast. Created by UK company Barely Methodical Troupe, Kin represents some of the best from UK circus. Assembly Rooms, 3:05pm (1 hour) 4th-28th
NEW TO EDINBURGH
(Le) Pain brilliantly expresses the pressures of generational expectations, small-town mindsets, and growing up queer in a rural setting. Expect acrobatics and raising agents! Assembly Roxy, 4pm (1 hour) 4-28th
Runners is the latest work by infamous Czech company Cirque La Putyka who brought previous Edinburgh favourites ‘Dolls’ and ‘Bataccio’. Famed for their extraordinary sets, this promises to be no different as the show takes place on a giant treadmill! Zoo Southside 8:30pm (1 hour) 5th-28th
👀 Seen a fantastic circus show not on this list? Tag us on socials with your recommendations!