Edinburgh 2022

Edinburgh Fringe & Festival – reviews round-up

Here’s our annual look at what’s rating in Edinburgh this August 2022, from the picks to the pans, according to UK theatre critics.

After a two year hiatus, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival have roared back to life, with hundreds of new and revived plays, musicals, stand-up, circus, comedy and everything in between.

See reviews from the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Stage and more.

Also check out our full reviews round-up for the West End and beyond.

Book tickets through the Edinburgh Fringe website, and the Edinburgh International Festival website.

Note: This article will be updated up to the end of the festival on 28 August 2022.

Edinburgh - Medea

Medea

★★★★ “Adura Onashile commands in a formidable, immersive experience” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

★★★★★ “Adura Onashile exudes awesome authority in bloody tragedy” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Steely and effective” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★★★ “Spectacular staging of Liz Lochhead’s retelling of Euripides’s ‘Medea’” – TimeOut (Chiara Wilkinson)

★★★★ ” The most visceral and gut-wrenching performance at this year’s International Festival” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

Edinburgh - Feeling Afraid as If Something Terrible is Going to Happen

Feeling Afraid as if Something Terrible Is Going to Happen

★★★★★ “The first copper-bottomed hit of the Fringe” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★★★ “Samuel Barnett navigates the stage like a pro” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

★★★★ “Is this the male Fleabag?” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★★ “Samuel Barnett stars as a neurotic comedian in this ‘Fleabag’-indebted monologue” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★ “Seriously funny” – The Guardian (Chris Wiegand)

Happy Meal

★★★★ “Slick and nostalgic exploration of identity” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

★★★★ “Moreish and irresistible” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★★ “Romance blooms online and IRL” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Inside the world of two young people contending with trans identities and societal pressures” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

Edinburgh - Age is a Feeling

Age Is a Feeling

★★★★★ “An astonishing dive into the future” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “Skilful exercise in storytelling” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

★★★★★ “A tender, wry, wise, gut-wrenching monologue” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★★★ “Haley McGee’s tearjerking interactive monologue is a beautiful contemplation of a life” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★★ “In her wonderfully ambitious solo show, Haley McGee wrestles time and fate to the ground” – The FT (Alice Saville)

Cassie Workman: Aberdeen

★★★★ “meeting the ghost of Kurt Cobain” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

★★★ “A voyage around Kurt Cobain” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Exodus

★ “Save us from this jaw-droppingly awful satire” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★ “A concatenation of contrivances hobbles this refugee-policy satire” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★ “Home secretary launches leadership bid in satirical farce” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “Plenty of fun” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★ “This lurid satire on Britain’s treatment of refugees sabotages itself with its own silliness” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Edinburgh - Burn

Burn

★★★ “Alan Cumming dances, and puffs, through the life of the poet” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★★★ “Alan Cumming sears in a Burns Night to remember” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★★★ “Alan Cumming is extraordinary as Scotland’s rockstar poet” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher

★★★ “Alan Cumming gives it a whirl as Robert Burns” – The Observer (Sarah Crompton)

★★★★ “Awesome to behold” – The Stage (Fergus Morgan)

Hamlet

★★★ “McKellen can hold focus in a comic book kaleidoscope” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★ “Ian McKellen is poorly served by a baffling ballet” – The Telegraph (Tristram Fane Saunders)

★★ “Ian McKellen holds court in a dumb-ballet take on the Bard” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★ “Bold but misconceived hybrid” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★ “Sir Ian gets stuck into the action – and the big speeches – in this breezy new dance version of Shakespeare’s masterpiece” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Edinburgh - Boris The Third

Boris the Third

★★★ “A buffoon-class state-of-the-nation play with a valid satirical sting” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★ “The greased-piglet antics of a schoolboy PM” – The Guardian (Brian Logan)

★★★ “Unexpectedly insightful” – The Stage (Fergus Morgan)

★★ “A satirical prequel that pulls its punches” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

Sap

★★★★ “Ovid’s transformation myth gloriously retold” – The Guardian (Anya Ryan)

★★★★ “Lyrical and necessary” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★★ “A thriller in miniature, gathering strength from the complex web of ideas it touches on” – The FT (Alice Saville)

Boy

★★★★ “Gripping true story of gender identity” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Necessarily unsettling” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

Room

★ “I have rarely left a show more angry” – The Times (Donald Hutera)

★★★ “Sensory richness” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

This is Paradise

★★★★ “A woman’s quest for redemption” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

★★★ “Amy Molloy is hypnotic” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

Edinburgh - Mind Mangler

Mind Mangler

★★★ “Magic Goes Wrong spin-off is all fun and mind games” – The Guardian (Brian Logan)

★★★★ “The best thing from Magic Goes Wrong” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

★★★★ “Superb magician spoof, with moments of marvel” – The Times (Dominic Maxwell)

★★★★ ” the brilliant creation of Henry Lewis and Mischief Theatre company” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

This Is Memorial Device

★★★★ “Memories of fictional indie heroes burn brightly” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Evocative, atmospheric nostalgia for a band that never was” – The Telegraph (Mark Brown)

Breathless

★★★ “A hoarder of clothes begins dating a minimalist” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “Often painfully funny” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

Still Floating

★★★ “Poignant and troubling return to an island adrift” – The Guardian (Catherine Love)

★★ “Gets lost” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★ “Shôn Dale-Jones is back at the Fringe with a disorienting piece of storytelling” – TimeOut (Chiara Wilkinson)

Brown Boys Swim

★★★★ “Friends stay afloat against a tide of racism” – The Guardian (Anya Ryan)

★★★★ “Genuine edge” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★★ “Karim Khan’s moving, witty play” – The FT (Alice Saville)

Cassie and the Lights

★★★★ “Family drama glows in the darkness” – The Guardian (Chris Wiegand)

★★★★ “Guaranteed to break your heart” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

Head Set

★★★ “A backstage tour of standup comedy” – The Guardian (Catherine Love)

★★★★ “Quirkiness and curiosity” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

★★★★ “Fringe legend Victoria Melody dives into the amateur stand-up circuit in a typically odd and charming new show” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★ “Melody dives into her investigation with a charisma that defies scientific classification” – The FT (Alice Saville)

Learning to Fly

★★★★★ “A riveting, remarkable hour of theatre” – The Guardian (Catherine Love)

★★★ “Likeable, skilled storytelling” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

The Great Almighty Gill

★★★ “A thoughtful, funny farewell” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Potent storytelling” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

Tim Crouch: Truth’s a Dog Must to Kennel

★★★★ “Virtual King Lear” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “An act of imagination in a world undone” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★ “Alt-theatre mischief-maker Tim Crouch returns with another exploration of the meaning of theatre” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★ “An emotive, filthy love letter to the almost-lost art of being in a room, together” – The FT (Alice Saville)

Autopilot

★★★ “Brain-teasing drama full of sharp turns” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “An insightful inspection of love” – The Stage (Fergus Morgan)

Bogeyman

★★★ “Haiti and the price of revolution” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “An angry, poetic urgency” – The Stage (Dave Fargnoli)

Nightlands

★★★ “Talking through what’s become of Russia” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★ “Slow-boiling psychological thriller” – The Stage (Dave Fargnoli)

Svengali

★★★ “Absorbing gender-swap power play” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “A fascinating conceit” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

Edinburgh - Counting and Cracking

Counting and Cracking

★★★★ “An absorbing Sri Lankan family odyssey” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “Sprawling epic” – The Stage (Lyn Gardner)

★★★★★ “A gripping Sri Lankan epic” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

Caste-ing

★★★ “Shining a light on the inequities of the acting industry” – The Guardian (Anya Ryan)

★★★ “Raw and impressionistic” – The Stage (Dave Fargnoli)

A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain

★★★ “A resonant refugee fable” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★ “Frustrating” – The Stage (Natasha Tripney)

★★ “Disappointingly leaden allegorical fantasy about British imperialism” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Edinburgh - Les Dawson Flying High

Les Dawson: Flying High

★★★ “Jon Culshaw is note-perfect in one-man show” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★★ “Jon Culshaw perfectly captures Dawson’s delivery” – The Stage (Paul Vale)

★★★ “Jon Culshaw is note-perfect in one-man show” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

★★★★ ” A miraculous resurrection of Manchester’s greatest stand-up” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

Blood Harmony

★★★ “A moving, musical exploration of grief” – The Times (Alan Radcliffe)

★★ “Wildly cliched play with songs (by The Staves!) about three fractious sisters” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★ ” A touching 90 minutes” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

Every Word Was Once an Animal

★★★★ “This is head-spinning theatre” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★ “Ontroerend Goed’s mischievous latest whimsically deconstructs the very idea of putting on a show” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder!

★★★★ “This mini-musical about two lonely women from Hull and their shambolic true-crime podcast is comedy gold” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★ “Offbeat gem of a musical about Kathy and Stella, two true crime obsessives with a failing podcast” – The FT (Alice Saville)

The Last Return

★★★ “Audacious comedy about a returns queue that gets very, very out of control” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

★★★★★ “Queue up for this work of genius” – The Times (Clive Davis))

She/Her

★★ “Self-congratulatory feminist monologues from Nicole Ansari-Cox” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★ “Confused anthology of monologues about womanhood” – TimeOut (Chiara Wilkinson)

We Were Promised Honey

★★★★ “Glimpses into uncertain futures” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

★★★★★ “With the energy of an eerily charismatic alien, he sends us soaring into an apocalyptic future” – The FT (Alice Saville)

What the Heart Wants

★★★★ “When Woody Allen met Frank Sinatra” – The Times (Clive Davis)

★★★ ” Sinatra-Allen showdown ” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

9 Circles

★★★ “A hard-hitting psychological play directed by Guy Masterson” – TimeOut (Chiara Wilkinson)

★★★★ ” one of the best performances on the Fringe, but it’s also one of the most harrowing” – Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

(le) Pain

★★★★ “Jean-Daniel Broussé’s show is full of the delicious aroma of baking bread” – The FT (Alice Saville)

More The Telegraph reviews

The Pulse

★★★★ “Still sceptical about circus as an art form? The Pulse may well change your mind” – The Telegraph (Mark Brown)

Dick

★★★ “Perhaps the bravest show on the Fringe” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

EastEndless

 ★★★★ “A mid-life knock-out solo” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

Hiding Anne Frank

★★★ “Filled with stirring vignettes of Anne Frank” – The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

More The Times reviews

The Mistake

★★★★ “Still sceptical about circus as an art form? The Pulse may well change your mind” – The Telegraph (Mark Brown)

The Mistake

★★★★ “The past comes alive in this atomic bomb thriller” – The Times (Clive Davis)

Rajesh and Naresh

★★★ “A comical and endearing gay romance” – The Times (Allan Radcliffe)

More The Guardian reviews

Silk Worm

★★★ “Love under interrogation” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

The Book of Life

★★★★ “Harmony and hope in a musical Rwandan journey” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Porno

★★★ “Coarse and gutsy Trainspotting sequel” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Boom

★★★★ “Powerful, humane circus collaboration” – The Guardian (Róisín O’Brien)

Ode to Joy

★★★★ “The big joke in Ley’s comedy is in the culture clash between this man who thinks it outre not to wear a tie with his suit and the two men he meets at his first chemsex party in a room in an upmarket hotel” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Wilf

★★★★ ” A daft and delirious production by Gareth Nicholls” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Please, Feel Free to Share

★★★ “Living the lie online” – The Guardian (Anya Ryan)

Masterclass

★★★★ “The ‘great male artist’ put through the shredder” – The Guardian (Brian Logan)

False Start

“★★★ Sprinter’s nightmare makes for pacy theatre” – The Guardian (Chris Wiegand)

Everything Has Changed

★★★★ “A children’s guide to navigating our new normal” – The Guardian (Chris Wiegand)

She Wolf

★★★ “One-woman show unleashes beast within” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Runners

★★★★ “The treadmill of time, made flesh” – The Guardian (Róisín O’Brien)

Today I Killed My Very First Bird

★★★ “A gangster’s life laid bare” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Psychodrama

★★★★ “Hitchcock thriller prompts tale of acting and abuse” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

One of Two

★★★ “Testimony of twins living with cerebral palsy” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

Tomato

★★★ “Fruity show is ripe for the Edinburgh fringe” – The Guardian (Lyndsey Whinship)

You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History

★★★★ “Gripping crisis talks” – The Guardian (Catherine Love)

The Bush

★★★ “One-woman show about collective green action” – The Guardian (Mark Fisher)

How to Build a Wax Figure

★★★★ “Prepare for your heart to melt” – The Guardian (David Jays)

More TimeOut reviews

Blood and Gold

★★★★ “Stunning storytelling show exploring the legacy of colonialism in Scotland” – TimeOut (Chiara Wilkinson)

Half-Empty Glasses

★★★★ “A young Black student takes a stand against his school in this cleverly questioning drama from Dipo Baruwa-Etti” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Eulogy

★★★ “The latest headtrip from Darkfield is more of the same, but that’s exactly the point” – TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

Photo credits:

Age is a Feeling – Thea Courtney
Les Dawson Flying High – Andy Hollingworth Archive
Boris The Third – Andrew Pugsley
Medea – Jessica Shurte
Feeling Afraid as If Something Terrible is Going to Happen – MIHAELA BODLOVIC
Mind Mangler – Anna Gibbs



📷 Main photo: Edinburgh 2022

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