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Best of the (LGBT) Fringe 2018

August has to be one of the most exciting times in Edinburgh, with Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows all over the city. They are in theatres, buses, parks, bars – everywhere and anywhere, from dawn til dawn again. If you’re quick, you can usually buy tickets for the preview shows which can be much cheaper than the usual prices; and on the first Monday and Tuesday of the Fringe (the 6th and 7th August) there are 2-for-1 tickets available for most shows.  

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world; it’s one of just seven cultural festivals taking place in the city each year in August. In 2017 there were over 53,000 performances of almost 3,400 shows in around 300 venues with theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events, and there are even more shows this year so there is a lot to choose from.

This year there are a large number of shows with LGBTI content or that feature LGBTI performers, so our team have selected a few that we think you may be interested in. Full show listings can be found at and you can use their website to filter shows with LGBTI content using their ‘LGBT’ tab in the ‘Genre’ section.

Here’s our list of Top Picks for 2018:


147Hz Can’t Pass, Greenside @ Infirmary Street
13th – 25th August (not 19th) 12:35 – 13:25
Suitable for 12+

Powerful and impressive debut from a fantastic young person.

147Hz Can't Pass is the culmination of lived experience. Manifesting as a calculated mess of movement, energy, spoken word and slam-style poetry, it does not seek permission and offers no apology. Instead a marginalised voice occupies the space taking what is often portrayed as alienating and revealing it to be relatable.

An introduction through person, not definition, to the trans non-binary experience.

Love Song to a Lavender Menace, Summerhall
1st – 26th August (not Mondays) 12:55 – 14:10 Suitable for 14+

Originally a commission for LGBT History Month, this fantastic play is a superb look at Edinburgh gay history.

After a sell-out run at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Scotland's 80s gay romantic comedy hit is back! So are nostalgic bookseller Lewis and party-boy Glen, in this funny, celebratory play about Scotland's radical, lesbian, gay and feminist bookshop that began in the cloakroom of Scotland's first gay nightclub and became the beating heart of Edinburgh's LGBT+ community.

Gypsy Queen, Assembly George Square Studios
2nd – 27th August (not 14th or 21st) 13:20 – 14:20, suitable for 16+

Playwright and actor Rob Ward consistently brings excellent LGBT focused sports plays to the Fringe and Gypsy Queen is no exception!
Can two men raised to fight ever learn to love? The story of traveller 'Gorgeous' George O'Connell, who enters the world of professional boxing, putting him on a collision course with his roots, his identity and his greatest fear. In the opposite corner, gay boxer Dane 'The Pain' Samson, young pretender and son of a boxing legend, is fighting his own battle, leading to a tragedy neither could predict.

Romeo and Juliet, theSpace @ Niddry Street
3rd – 18th August (not 5th or 12th) 15:20 – 16:05,
suitable for 14+

A male led adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Rugby, Shakespeare and a heart-wrenching male love story... what’s not to love?!

Curious Pheasant Theatre present 'Romeo and Juliet', an LGBTQ+ male led production. This bold re-imagining of William Shakespeare's classic love story uses physical theatre to portray two opposing rugby teams, grounding the piece in the 21st century.

When the two men meet, the integrity of both teams is compromised and the unyielding pride of man threatens to destroy all that they know.

Bethany Black: Unwinnable, Stand 2
2nd – 26th August (not 13th) 15:50 – 16:50,
suitable for 16+

Comedian Bethany Black is incredibly funny and always brings a fantastic hour of stand up to the Fringe.

Bethany Black is back. And this time it’s personal. Okay, it’s always personal, she’s always banging on about herself ('self indulgent' (List)). In 2018 Bethany was diagnosed with autism and agoraphobia.

This is a show about accepting the outcome of what she always knew deep down.

Larry Dean: Bampot, Assembly Checkpoint
2nd – 26th August (not 13th) 17:00 – 18:00,
suitable for 16+

LGBT Youth Scotland favourite and all round funny Scottish young person, Larry brings another hour of brilliant stand up to Edinburgh.

Fresh from a sell-out international tour and smash-hit Live at the Apollo debut, Larry returns with a new hour of 'unexpected and excellent' **** (Times) thoughts on Scottishness, sodomites and self-esteem. 'Confessional storytelling at its funniest' ***** (Herald).

Stephen Bailey: Our Kid, Three Sisters
2nd – 26th August, 17:15 – 18:15,
suitable for 16+

This incredibly funny, joyous and fast-talking comedian is part of the FREE Fringe! Turn up early to make sure you get a seat!

From ITV2's Safeword and CelebAbility, ITV's Weekend with Aled, Comedy Central's Live at the Comedy Store, Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side and having supported Katherine Ryan on her UK tour, everyone's favourite 'guilty pleasure' (Daily Record) returns with a story that is full of northern warmth, some working-class guilt and a bit of blue.

Mawaan Rizwan: Juice, Pleasance Dome
1st – 27th August (not 13th), 17:30 – 18:30,
suitable for 16+

A brilliantly funny stand up and story teller, Mawaan is not one to miss!

Mawaan brings you a deeply personal and skilfully physical show about love, freedom and Missy Elliot. Fresh from supporting Simon Amstell on his 40-date UK tour, over 18 million views on YouTube, star of Carnage, BAFTA-winning Murdered By My Father, ITV's Next of Kin and BBC's How Gay is Pakistan? 'A mischievous performer, with a no-holds-barred physicality and high wattage charm' (Guardian).

Zoe Lyons: Entry Level Human, Gilded Balloon Teviot
1st – 26th August (not 13th), 17:45 – 18:45,
suitable for 14+

One of the most fun, lovely and impressive comedians in or out of Brighton, Zoe Lyons is an absolute hoot!

As seen on Live at the Apollo (BBC Two), Mock the Week (BBC Two), Room 101 (BBC One) and regularly heard on BBC Radio 4's News Quiz, Just a Minute, The Now Show and plenty more. This hugely popular comic returns to the Fringe with a fresh crop of quick-fire observational gags, delivered with utter conviction not to mention 'proper laugh-out-loud one-liners' (Herald).

Courtney Act: Under the Covers, Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
3rd – 18th August (not 7th, 8th or 13th), 18:00 – 19:00,
suitable for 14+

Don't miss this opportunity to see Drag Race star, Celebrity Big Brother winner and all-round fantastic performer Courtney Act!

Packed with songs, dance and confessional comedy, this is a perfect chance to see why the Aussie queen is one of the most respected on the scene. 

Briefs: Close Encounters, Assembly Hall
2nd – 26th August (not 8th, 13th or 20th) , 19:15 – 20:30,
suitable for 16+

This show is almost impossible describe. It is, however, epic. This is boylesque at its absolute best!

Briefs are back with a brand-new show. They've come from the future to test the limits of masculinity and decency with their iconic brand of circus, drag, burlesque and comedy. Expect interstellar aerials, incredible artistry, sharp social commentary and warp-speed performers from outer space. Prepare yourselves for a close encounter.

Prom Kween, Assembly George Square Gardens
2nd – 26th August (not 13th), 21:05 – 22:05,
suitable for 12+

With glitter, glam and a boatload of amazing songs this feel good show is absolutely perfect, henny!
Following a sell-out 2017 Fringe, nine five-star reviews and two awards, the Kweens are back – and they're bringing glitter! Prom Kween is a coming-of-age satire for those who hit that age years ago. A musical for any kid who took their glasses off and still didn't feel pretty. Who questioned what it meant to be beautiful. It's a story of falling in love with who you are. Think Grease meets Drag Race meets a Trump rally with sequins.

Tilda Swinton Answers an ad on Craigslist, Assembly George Square Theatre 
1st – 26th August, 21:20 – 22:20,
suitable for 16+

There’s a lot of buzz about Tom Lenk’s comedy show and, if his last show at the Fringe is anything to go by, this one will be hilarious!

With sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles, a gay man's life implodes when actress Tilda Swinton (Buffy and Instagram star Tom Lenk) insists on studying him for her next big movie role. 'Catch mad comedy genius Tom Lenk in this wild, weird and wondrous play' (Michael Urie, Ugly Betty).

Hot Gay Time Machine, Underbelly Cowgate
2nd – 26th August, (not 13th) 22:00 – 23:00,
suitable for 18+

After a superb show last year, we can’t wait to see what this year has in store!
After their multi award-winning debut at last year's Edinburgh Fringe, the hot gays are back. Bursting with 'hilarious original musical numbers' (Stage), Hot Gay Time Machine covers all the most important moments in a gay man's life, from coming out to your mum to trying not to look at other men in the locker room. So what are you waiting for? Gay marriage? Well, we got that already so come party with the gays.

Denim: The Reunion Tour, Assembly George Square Gardens
2nd – 26th August, (not 13th or 25th) 22:30 – 23:30,
suitable for 16+

With a loyal and dedicated following, this fantastic troupe of drag queens return to bring another helping of joy and laughter!

After a sell-out global pop tour that came to an earth-shattering finale in Edinburgh last year – Denim broke up. Humanity has been in mourning. But now, through pop, laughter and love, these five queens will reunite for one night only. All month. 'A quintet of queens with voices as true as their wigs are fake' ***** (Scotsman).

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