Underbelly announce Edinburgh Fringe 2018 line-up

Among those heading to Underbelly this year are Paul Foot, Helen Lederer and macabre duo Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean with live recordings of their All Killa No Filla pod

Article by Jamie Dunn | 19 Apr 2018
  • Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean

The Fringe news continues apace, with Underbelly announcing a plethora of shows for this year’s festival. “We unleash 96 magnificent shows on sale as part of our most ambitious programme yet,” said Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly.

Underbelly’s comedy programme is particularly wide-ranging. Fringe veteran Paul Foot brings new hour Image Conscious, as does Ireland’s favourite hip-hop comedian Abandoman (AKA Rob Broderick) with show Pirate Radio. Laura Davis’s Fringe show is described, tantalisingly, as “a story about life, performed by a ghost…” and she’s joined by sketch comedy duo Lola and Jo who’re doing comedy research in the form of their Focus Groupies. There’s also surreal Aussie comic Josh Glanc with his Perth Fringe 2017 hit Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma. Similarly named is Tom Walker’s Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk, featuring miming and clowning.

Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean will be in town to discuss all things serial killers in their quartet of live-recordings of podcast All Killa No Filla Live. For all the non-murdering enthusiasts out there, there’s American comic Myq Kaplan, who’ll be taking audiences on a a journey of kindness in his Edinburgh debut, All Killing Aside. They’re joined by Rhys Nicholson, an Award-winning Australian stand-up, whose dress sense is a sharp as his wit.

Another comedy highlight looks to be a new show from Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, two great impressionists who should have fun as they delve into treacherous world of politics to establish once and for all if Brexit means Brexit. Underbelly also features the new show from comic actor Helen Lederer, who spills all the beans in I Might Just As Well Say It. As well as chatting about her roles on Absolutely Fabulous and Blackadder, expect some juicy tales from Lederer's stint on Celebrity Big Brother last year.

In theatre, Underbelly’s shines a light on emerging companies with the Untapped Award in partnership with New Diorama Theatre, which features three thought-provoking shows focusing on female voices: It’s True, It’s True, It’s True by Breach Theatre; Queens of Sheba from Nouveau Riché; and finally dressed. by ThisEgg, the company behind huge Fringe 2016 hit Me & My Bee.

In other theatre highlights, Fleabag’s Maddie Rice writes and performs in Pickle Jar, a dark comedy with a lot of piña coladas and some heartbreak; Irish playwright Erica Murray presents the bittersweet The Cat’s Mother; and the relationship between two sisters is explored in 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle, which pieces together some of Alexandra and Kate Donnachie’s sometimes heart-breaking but often hilarious memories of growing up together in a show sparked from Alexandra’s severe eating disorder. There’s also the fascinating sounding Dangerous Giant Animals, which we’re told offers “a unique insight into one family’s life with a girl with a mental disability, with all its challenges and rewards”

We also like the sound of The Abode, an 80s style adventure following the story of Samuel, a white American male who, feeling oppressed in his own country, joins the alt-right movement of Trolls…; Love Songs, a coming-of-age one woman show exploring wider issues such as hyper-sexualisation of Asian women; and a new take on Dario Fo’s seminal masterpiece Mistero Buffo from Rhum and Clay, the makers of the acclaimed 64 Squares.

Straddling between comedy and theatre is Werewolf: Live, a late-night experience with a difference, allowing Fringe-goers to take part in an interactive game show in which they can hurl accusations and unjustly murder their friend. Also for the late-night crowd is Sex Shells: a show from London’s campest musical sketch comedy quartet, it features an explosion of original music, surreal sketches, wayward choreography, and twisted rewrites of hits from pop, Disney, and the musicals. We’re told to expect the heady mix of “sex, drugs, and social satire; Whitney Houston at the self-service checkout and Barbara Cartland on Grindr.”

For Underbelly’s full lineup, head to www.underbelly.co.uk