Dark Noon best theatre

whynow’s best of the fest | The best theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023

From lonely tech giants to post-apocalyptic Yorkshire farmhouses, here’s the very best theatre our critics found at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023.

Two weeks, a dozen burritos and a whole lot of shoe leather later, our crack Fringe-reviewing team have seen a whisker-shy of 1% of the shows at 2023’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I know, I know, hold the applause.

But while every year you’re likely to leave the Fringe with a dozen missed show opportunities scratching at the back of your head, for anyone still planning a trip, there’re plenty of days left to cram in as much comedy, theatre and whatever Creepy Boys is as possible.

The Edinburgh Fringe has become synonymous with comedy over its 76-year history. But for the chuckle-phobes and theatre-philes, or anyone just looking for a change of pace, there are all sorts of fantastically inventive plays and one-person shows jostling for a slice of the Edinburgh pie. In fact, it’s often some of the best stuff to be found at the festival.

The Fringe really does thrive off recommendations, and so, without further ado, here’s our rundown of the very best theatre shows we found vying for attention in the Scottish capital.

Distant Memories of the Near Future

distant memories of the near future

Credit: David Head

Distant Memories of the Near Future review | An astounding multi-media love story

Like the very best of Black Mirror without the existential dread, David Head’s collection of five intertwining sci-fi stories paints a melancholic and astoundingly hopeful portrait of the eternal day after tomorrow. Blending dystopian TV adverts with AI poetry and genius storytelling, Distant Memories is a completely fresh and often hilarious depiction of what society might soon become. It’s powerful, optimistic and intoxicating stuff – we loved it to the moon and back.

Distant Memories of the Near Future is playing at the Summerhall – Red Lecture Theatre at 17:45 until 27 August. Get your tickets here.

Dark Noon

dark noon review

Photo: Soren Meisner

Dark Noon review | Striking, immersive retelling of American history

It’s no mean feat to attempt to tell the story of the United States in just under 100 minutes, but Dark Noon pulls it off with aplomb. Told by a cast of seven South Africans over an earthy stage representing the American continent, it plunges unflinchingly into the brutal history of the world’s largest superpower with a wicked sense of humour and a breathlessly cinematic scope. A powerful takedown of the oppressor from the point of view of the oppressed, Dark Noon is the kind of intense, ambitious theatre you didn’t know you were missing.

Dark Noon is playing at the EICC at 17:00 until 27 August. Get your tickets here.

My Dad Wears a Dress

my dad wears a dress review

My Dad Wears a Dress review | A touching, feel-good one-woman play

While rabid politicians, newspaper columnists and politicians with newspaper columns continue to debate the trans community’s right to exist, My Dad Wears a Dress emerges as a sweet, thoughtful coming-of-age story told with an old dressing-up box and a big clothes peg. Maria Telnikoff tells her story of growing up with a transgender parent in her own words and in her own brilliantly childish style. A morning show with a sweet sense of humour and lashings of heart, this one-woman show should make its way to the top of every Fringe-goers to-see list.

My Dad Wears a Dress is playing at the Underbelly – Cowgate at 11:25 until 27 August. Get your tickets here. 

The Hunger


Credit: Black Bright Theatre

The Hunger review | Pitch-black, pitch-perfect farmyard horror

The apocalypse is an ever-popular setting for Fringe theatre with small casts and small budgets, but Madeleine Farnhill’s pitch-black kitchen-sink drama pulls off the impossible by making a well-worn topic feel immediate and fresh. A bleak tale of motherhood and disordered eating, a pair of powerhouse performances and a delightfully eerie soundscape will keep you glancing over your shoulder for the duration. On-stage horror doesn’t get much better than this.

The Hunger is playing at Assembly George Square until 28 August. Get your tickets here.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 runs until 28 August. You can view our comprehensive guide to the entire Fringe here.

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