Monday, 24 July 2017

Edinburgh Fringe 2017



It's that time again... We're preparing to head up to Edinburgh Fringe, where we'll be highlighting shows that pass the Bechdel test, celebrating women on stage, championing gender-conscious and female-led theatre, and doing all we can to help you find shows where women are not completely absent.

If you're up at the Fringe, make sure you look out for our stamps and stickers on posters all around the city (and let us know if you see a show that we haven't highlighted yet).





We'll also be bringing our trusty microphones and seeking fringe-goers and performers to interview, so drop us a line if you fancy being featured on our podcast.

(PS podcasting, stickering, being in Edinburgh all costs £££ and Bechdel Theatre receives no public funding, if you want to help us to support the improvement of gender representation on stage, you can make a donation, or become a Patron.)






Now, onto the recommendations! These are some Edinburgh shows that we reckon will *probably* pass the test, and definitely sound like they're worth seeing. To help you plan what to see, and when, we've organised them by venue and time-slot - because we know how hectic Fringe-going can be.


See you there!

GOOD BETS FOR BECHDEL TESTERS

Plays, comedy double acts, sketch shows, dance companies, circus troupes and cabaret collectives that we're pretty sure feature at least two women.




DIGS @ Pleasance Courtyard 13:45

Devising duo Theatre with Legs have created this dark comedy about Generation Rent, overdrafts, anxiety and surviving their 20s.

Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman @ Pleasance Courtyard 14:00

A burlesque show about periods, featuring a stellar line-up of menstruators, and a liiiittle bit of blood.

Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) @ Pleasance Courtyard 14:20

A cheery tale about a young woman with clinical depression, from Olivier Award winning playwright Jon Brittain ('Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho' & 'Rotterdam').

Buzz @ Pleasance Courtyard 15:30

A new musical about the history of vibrators, what more do you need to know? Catch this before it's success makes it impossible to get tickets for.

Offside @ Pleasance Courtyard 15:40

Fresh from a successful tour, Offside is a poetic drama, co-written by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, based on the lives of female footballers, from the 1880s up to the present day.





This Really Is Too Much @ Underbelly Cowgate 15:20

Gracefool combine dancing with dark comedy to delve into a world of farcical stereotypes and preposterous power struggles, wrestling with gender, identity and social convention.

Dollywould - Sh!t Theatre @ Summerhall 21:15

Sh!t Theatre F*cking love Dolly Parton, and so do we. We also loved last year's offering from this award-winning performance duo.

No Show @ Summerhall 16:15

A contemporary all-female circus about the reality behind the flawless smiles and perfect execution: showcasing the wobbles, the pain, and the real cost of aiming for perfection.


Box Clever @ Roundabout Summerhall 16:40

A new play about one woman’s experience of a refuge and a mother’s commitment to do the best for her daughter.

The Vagina Dialogues – The Völvas - Upper Church @ Summerhall 12:30

A cabaret-style theatre and variety piece that includes a series of episodic monologues, duologues, and movement pieces set to live music.




Funny Women Fest @ Gilded Balloon Teviot 12:00

A merry lunchtime mix of comedy, variety and conversation, with different funny women guests on every day.

Notflix @ Gilded Balloon Teviot 15:00

This improvised musical comedy is different every night, but always aces the Bechdel test.

Siblings @ Gilded Balloon Teviot 23:30

A raucous journey into the absurdity of an all too familiar world. Suitable for anyone who has or has seen a sister. ‘Watch out for these gals’ (Jennifer Saunders). ‘Hilarious’ (Dawn French). ‘Really funny’ (Miranda Hart).

Fémage à Trois @ Attic at Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre 15:30
A brand-new trilogy of independent stories, told by the women central to them, as they battle with their demons.

Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin @ Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre 18:15
A Cabaret about Gin: does what it says on the tin. Also the two performers promise that a g&t is included in the ticket price. Bottoms up!

Under my Thumb @ Assembly Roxy 16:10
In a dystopian present, five women are imprisoned for crimes against society. Shortlisted for the inaugural RED Women's Theatre Awards in 2016.

Hot Brown Honey @ Assembly Roxy 21:00

Undoubtedly the fiery-est feminist hit show of last year's Fringe, the system-smashing cabaret burlesque show is back, with "lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment". Don't miss it.



Matter of Race @ Mint Studio at Greenside Infirmary Street 11:35

A story of two girls with identical lives, with one difference: the colour of their skin. Through physical theatre, spoken word, dance and song Zakiya Theatre Company explore just how much the colour of their skin affects their day-to-day treatment in society.

Britney in: John @ Bedlam Theatre 18:30

The team behind last year's brain-tumour comedy are back with a sketch show about a road trip across America.

We Are Not Afraid @ Just The Tonic at The Caves 18:45

Roisin & Chiara are Pippa's favourite ever comedy double act. Surreal storytelling 'improvising geniuses' bring to life a plethora of irresistibly well-observed character vignettes.

Hotter @ Paradise in Augustines 22:45

Hotter asked everyone, from grannies to drag artists: 'What gets you hot?' Joined by the voices of women and non-binary people interviewed around the country, two women are embarking on a battle against embarrassment using sketch theatre, song and dance.

Manic Pixie Dream Girls @ Laughing Horse at The Counting House 01:00 (from Aug 13)

This show bills itself as a late-nght antidote to "Pale, Stale, Male Comedy". Hosts Sophie Duker and Erin Simmons share the stage with a different guest each night. We LOVED the Dreamgirls last year, and can't wait to see more from them.


BECHDEL FRIENDLY SOLOS
Stand-ups and one-woman shows that make it well worth stretching the limits of the Bechdel test to include. Because sometimes quality is as valuable as quantity.

Breaking Black by Njambi McGrath @ Laughing Horse at the Counting House 12:05
Spat on and told to go back to the jungle, Njambi explores the patriotism of immigrants in their new home and dwells on her own experiences as a Kenyan-born UK resident. She is Breaking Black and loving it.

Half Breed @ Assembly George Square Theatre 12:20
Trust me, around here I’m about as black as it goes…’ a partly autobiographical dark comedy by Natasha Marshall, presented by Soho Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company.

Quarter Life Crisis @ Underbelly Cowgate 14:40
Yolanda Mercy uses original music and spoken word in her quest to achieve adulthood. Listen to our interview with Yolanda and director Jade Lewis on our podcast.




Dust @ Underbelly Cowgate 16:40
Milly Thomas, has written and performs this solo show about a woman forced to watch the aftermath of her suicide and its ripple effect on her family and friends.

A Robot in Human Skin @ Underbelly Med Quad 20:30
Nicole Henriksen's fresh, truthful, and heartfelt look at mental health and the ways we treat and understand it. Come take a look into a different mind and see how you like the ride.



The Unmarried @ Underbelly Med Quad 22:35

Written and performed by Lauren Gauge, The Unmarried mixes 90s rave with 'striking, savage, rare writing talent', and has had sell-out runs at Lyric Hammersmith and Camden People’s Theatre.

Ava Campe and The Psychic Duck @ CC Blooms 15:00
A show about spirit waterfowl, wonderful women and a fairground mystery that occured on the Welsh coast many moons ago. DIVA said Ada Campe ‘resembles an unhinged super-villain’, and we agree (in the best possible way).

Nina – A Story About Me and Nina Simone @ Traverse Theatre (times vary 5-13th Aug)

Josette Bushell-Mingo intertwines stories from her own life and career with Nina Simone's story and music from a live band.


That's all for now! 


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Seen an amazing show that we haven't covered yet? Let us know!

















Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bechdel Testing 2017

Shows on our radar for 2017... It's as simple as that. As always, get in touch if you have more suggestions!

We'll be talking in more depth about some of these on Bechdel Theatre Podcast, live at VAULT Festival on Feb 1st.
There are still a few tickets left so BOOK NOW to join us with guests including:


On to the recommendations...

VAULT Festival
Where we first saw 'Skin A Cat' last year, before it became an award-winning sensation and opened the first season at super-cool subterranean venue The Bunker. VAULT is the best place outside of Edinburgh to catch new shows before word spreads and they start selling out bigger spaces.
Here are a few that we've noticed this year:
Balancing Acts
Sharing six intimate stories on depression and coping. Devising company Feral Foxy Ladies team up with film-makers Kaleido Film Collective to deliver six candid stories of depression and the ways we find to cope: from diving and sex to song.
Britney
A comedy with lots of heart, and a brain tumour. When good brains go bad. This is the very true and very funny story of two best friends coming to terms with one being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Fran & Leni
1976. Fran & Leni meet. Three years later they are The Rips. Girls with guitars, bored of playing nice. Music, fishnets, tits and spitting. A full-throttle tale of lifelong friendship.
Puppy 
Comedy following two young women who meet and fall in love while engaging in some light recreational dogging. Together they explore the world of feminist porn and take on the patriarchal establishment.
Princess Suffragette
A contemporary (re)telling of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’s journey, from her aristocratic upbringing as the daughter of an exiled Maharajah, to her political awakening as the first British-Asian Suffragette.
My World Has Exploded A Little Bit

A darkly comic, deeply personal guide to bereavement. With philosophy, music and silliness. We loved this at Edinburgh and can't wait to interview it's creator on our podcast!


Meanwhile, outside of the vaults...

Escaped Alone -  Royal Court, then touring New York, Salford, Cambridge and Bristol.

One of last year's highlights returns, a searingly up-to-date play about 4 women over 60.

See Me Now - The Young Vic - 11 Feb - 18 March
London sex workers share their painful, touching and often hilarious stories. Male, female and transgender, they are teachers, cleaners and parents. Behind closed doors they’re also paid to make their clients feel good - in all sorts of ways. Some do it for the money, some for love, some for unexpected reasons... A new play about an invisible side of everyday life.


Bucket List - Battersea Arts Centre 13 Feb - 4 March, then touring until 29 April
Set on the Mexico-US border amid turbulent relations, Bucket List follows one Mexican woman's extraordinary quest for justice.
When her mother is murdered for protesting corporate and governmental corruption, Milagros finds herself with a bloodstained list of those responsible and is determined to make them pay.


Brixton Rock - Mangle Nightclub - 15 Feb - 12 March 
Brenton Brown has never known his parents. A brutal feud with the killer Terry Flynn has scarred him for life. As a care leaver living in a hostel he craves the support of a family. But when he meets his mother and his beautiful half-sister, his life changes forever. The Big House stages high profile productions with young people who have been in care

Twelfth Night  - Olivier Theatre - 15 Feb - 17 April 
With Tamsin Greig as gender-swapped Malvolia.




Herstory Festival - Balham N16 Feb 17 & 18
A feminist festival of new writing, creating a platform for political discussion and giving a voice to women. 


Two Man Show - Soho Theatre 20 Feb - 4 March
Another Edinburgh 2016 hit that we couldn't get enough of. Two phenomenal actors and one amazing musican (all female, despite the show title) explore masculinity and challenge gender binaries in a physical performance that'll rock more than your socks off (I've never wanted to perform naked more than when I watched this show).

Roundelay - Southwark Playhouse 23 Feb - 18 March
Sex at 70? Falling in love at 65? Coming out at 62? Never, ever give up on the game of love…You know what they say, love makes the world go round. And sex of course, when you can get it. Roundelay, a fantabulous conglomeration of circus, dance and music. We may not have lions in this little circus of ours, but we have tigers….How’s your inner tiger tonight? Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for close encounters with the third age!



a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) Royal Court Feb 28 - April 7
debbie tucker green returns to the Royal Court with a new play about three couples. It's sold out except for £12 Monday day seats.

Tamburlaine Reclaimed 15 March - 8 April at Arcola, and touring until April 21
Yellow Earth presents Christopher Marlowe’s thrilling, controversial and compelling masterpiece, Tamburlaine. Presented by an East Asian cast in a startling new adaptation this production calls into question the very nature of power, masculinity and violence.

Offside Touring, 24 March - 29 April
Four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football. Whilst each of them face very different obstacles in pursuing their dream profession, the possibility that the beautiful game will change their futures – and the world – is tantalisingly close.
By poets Sabrina Mahfouz (who we'll be interviewing about the show on the podcast soon!) and Hollie McNish.

Consent The Dorfman Theatre - 28 March - 17 May
Friends take opposing briefs in a rape case. The key witness is a woman whose life seems a world away from theirs. At home, their own lives begin to unravel as every version of the truth is challenged. 

The Hearing Trumpet The Old Library -April 6 - 29
Adaptation of the inventive and inspirational novel, written by Leonora Carrington in the 1960’s, follows a 92 year-old female protagonist who is having a crisis.

JOAN - Ovalhouse - April 11 - 22
We adore this cabaret-style re-telling of Joan of Arc with Lucy Jane Parkinson (aka drag king LoUis CYfer) in the title role. It was hugely popular at Edinburgh, so grab tickets as soon as they go on sale as part of Ovalhouse's Spring season.



Brighton Festival throughout May
This year's guest director is the sublime Kate Tempest. We 're eagerly awaiting Feb 15th when her programme will be announced.

Dreamgirls at The Savoy Theatre until Oct 21
Because the West End is so often full of old white men, we can't wait to see Amber Riley front this stunner of a musical. Get cheap tickets with the todaytix app lottery (£15 for the front row ain't bad for this calibre of songs and cast)

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at The Duke of York's Theatre - from May 15
Another stunner of a musical, transferring to the West End this summer. The worlds of theatre and feminism will jointly rejoice at the return of this choir of Scottish schoolgirls on a wild coming-of-age trip to Edinburgh. They take no shit and give no fucks about anyone except each other. Contains strong language and strong direction from our fave Vicky Featherstone.
Tickets go on sale on Jan 31.