Fringe 2019: Eddie Izzard brings Dickens to Edinburgh

The great absurdist standup does Dickens at this year's Fringe with his take on Great Expectations, while Sarah Kendall, Rob Auton and John Luke-Roberts also join Assembly's 2019 line-up

Article by Jamie Dunn | 21 Mar 2019
  • Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard fans are in for a rare treat this year as it’s been announced the great absurdist standup and actor is heading to Edinburgh in August to take part in the Fringe. The show he’s bringing isn’t what you might expect, though. As part of Assembly’s Fringe line-up, Izzard will be performing a work-in-progress show based on Charles Dickens' classic novel Great Expectations.

Izzard has also recorded an audiobook version of Great Expectations, which he was inspired to do after realising that he shares a birthday with the Victorian novelist. “I’m exactly 150 years younger than Dickens to the day,” said Izzard. “7th February 1812, 7th February 1962. Doesn’t mean anything, but it means slightly more than being 147 years and 12 days.”

Izzard doing Dickens isn’t the only exciting show announced by Assembly today. The wonderfully daft John Luke-Roberts – who was one of the standouts of last year’s Fringe with the brilliantly titled All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and a [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy! – has two shows in this year’s Assembly programme.

Roberts brings back his Terrible Wonderful Adaptations (which in 2018 included a stage adaptation of the iTunes user agreement) and there’s a new standup show with a typically ridiculous title: After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!! Other comic talents on Assembly's bill are standups Sarah Kendall, impressionist Josh Berry, comedian and poet Rob Auton, and deadpan one-liner specialist Milton Jones.

In terms of theatre, there’s the tragicomic Thunderstruck, David Colvin’s tragicomic tale of the greatest bagpiper who ever lived; interstellar adventure Inflatable Space featuring duo Ean Sheehy and Thaddeus Phillips; Elton Townend Jones’s award-winning, magical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s feminist novel, Dalloway; My Darling Clemmie, a play concerned with the long, remarkable marriage of Winston and Clementine Churchill; new play The Things I Never Told You from writer, presenter, wrestling commentator and poet Tim Honnef bka Jonas Müller; and black comedy In the Shadow of the Black Dog from indie theatre troupe All the Pigs. Potter fans should also snap up tickets for Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody, the musical adventure concerned with the teen angst of Tom Riddle and his moody classmates.

Berlin’s all-female contemporary circus collective Still Hungry brings Raven, a show concerned with the challenges of modern motherhood, while Nikki Rummer and JD Broussé will demonstrate their incredible hand-to-hand circus skills in Knot. There’s also cabaret from Melinda Hughes who we’re told will be doing a “sophisticated romp through social and political satire” alongside her live jazz trio; Luke Jermay provides “personal intuitive readings and future predictions with amazing razor-sharp accuracy”; and there’s mind control on the table from magician Chris Dugdale in his new show Down to One.

Paul Simon fans will want to check singer/songwriter Gary Edward Jones’ show Something about Simon, while we’re promised flying cows, jazzy cats, laughing dogs, singing potatoes, and, erm, farting sandwiches with kids’ show Hey Diddle Diddle.

“August is shaping up to be another fantastic year for Assembly Festival with the very best theatre and comedy at the heart of our programme,” said William Burdett-Coutts, Assembly Festival’s artistic director. “I hope that our 2019 Festival will provide Edinburgh’s audiences with an excellent selection of shows that are both memorable and entertaining.”