A Feminist’s Guide to the Festivals: Pick of the Free Fringe (in time order)

Mansplaining Feminism – August 2-26 (not 14), 20:00-21:00 at Laughing Horse @ City Cafe

Fancy a fix of feminist-friendly theatre and comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe, but on a tight budget? No problem!

These shows are all pay what you want – ie admission is free and there will be a bucket for donations rattled at the end. I can’t guarantee they’ll all be good – the Fringe is open to all – but it won’t cost you to find out!

10.05-11.50 (NB Aug 4 and 6-11 only)
All About Her – Feminism in Chinese Traditional Opera

“All About Her — Feminism in Chinese Traditional Opera creatively combines traditional Chinese Opera with contemporary ideas, exploring feminism in the traditional opera repertoire, and creating a new contemporary style. Including traditional plays: Three claps and Song Jiang Killing, the stories show that ancient Chinese women, both noble and poor, have the determination to die for freedom from marriage.”

Katharine Ferns: Between One Ferns

“New work-in-progress solo show from Canadian comedian Katharine Ferns is relentlessly funny with her confessional and brutally honest storytelling style of comedy. With seemingly sweet and innocent charm, Katharine finds dark comedy in her observations on relationships, family, mental illness, feminism and her past misadventures. ‘Perky, charismatic performer with an acute sense of irony’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Observant and witty, Katharine Ferns is a modern, 21st-century woman, who throws herself into life and consequently her jokes’ **** (TheWeeReview.com). ‘Salty-sweet, savagely honest, brutally funny’ (The Scene Magazine).”

Zahra Barri is Zahra: Warrior Not Princess

“Zahra’s never stood in front of a mirror and taken a selfie. Nor has she intentionally made herself look like a dog on Instagram. In a world full of Kim Kardashian’s career, be Kim Jong-Un’s Korea. A show about femininity and fighting. As heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC Radio 2.”

(you can pay £5 to guarantee a seat at this show, or Pay What You Want at the end)
Sara Barron: For Worse

“The ‘reigning queen of New York’s live storytelling scene’ (Jon Ronson) and host of the hit US storytelling show, The Moth, delivers her debut stand-up hour. Filthy, funny and incisive, Barron skewers her husband, her child, WhatsApp, herself and, notably, a tweenage sex script she wrote way back in 1992. As heard on The Guilty Feminist and BBC Radio 4 Extra. Contributor to Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish. ‘Darkly humorous… smart… acerbic’ (Bust Magazine). ‘Rib-tickling’ (Chicago Sun-Times). ‘When you’re not squirming, you’re laughing out loud’ (LA Times).”

Godley’s Cream 20 Years and Counting

“20 years of Fringe shows, 20 years of touring and so many stories. From LA to New York, Newcastle and Glasgow. Godmother of Scottish Comedy, chief Trump annoyer and all-round Glasgow mouth piece brings her show back to the Counting House. Lots of old stories and plenty of new material to keep punters gripped in their seats. ‘Who else got jailed for possessing guns?’ (Janey Godley). ‘Her shows have sold out globally, she’s a social media influencer, podcaster and best selling author, but crap at organising a fridge or hanging up a washing’ (Husband).”

Harriet Kemsley: Slutty Joan

“Multi award-winning comic Harriet Kemsley pulls her skirt out of her pants and shames slut shaming. In a Cornell University study women rated fictional female peer, Joan, as emotionally unstable and less competent because she was sexually promiscuous. If Joan wasn’t fictional her name would be Harriet Kemsley and in this deeply personal show Harriet delves into her sexual history. Star of Bobby and Harriet Get Married, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and Katherine Ryan Tour support. ‘A quirky, refreshingly charming comedian at the dawn of her TV career’ (Radio Times). ‘Joyful’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Effervescent’ **** (EdFestMag.com).”

Queen of the F*cking World: The Second Coming

“Returning with a brand-new kick-ass sequel, Queen’s bass guitar dances across sexual politics. Unleash your inner queen! Must See Show 2017 (List). Funny Women Best Show nominee. ‘Voice like Debbie Harry’ (Scotsman). Since Queen’s 2017 sell-out show based on Arts Council funded research, this is a fiercer, darker performance that embraces everything from Mary Magdalene via #MeToo to RuPaul. An audience-empowering ride exploring life on the front line of gender politics. Marysia’s a stunning entertainer whose Singing Psychic stormed the Fringe, toured Europe, earned five-star reviews and featured at the Brit Awards.”

(you can pay £5 to guarantee a seat at this show, or Pay What You Want at the end)
Sally-Anne Hayward: Comedienne-ess

“Fifty-eight minutes of jokes from one of the UK comedy scene’s most vaginary binaries. Sally guarantees this show will change your life, even if only by making it an hour shorter – come and feel the wrath of her mirth! ‘Exceptionally funny’ (Independent). ‘Warm and very funny’ (Sarah Millican). ‘A kick in the balls from a bullying southerner’ (Some nobody on Twitter). **** (ThreeWeeks). **** (Skinny). @sallyannhayward”

Kate Smurthwaite: Clit Stirrer

“Kate Smurthwaite finally tells us what she really thinks. The award-winning feminist, atheist, polyamorous comedian, writer for Have I Got News For You and former Question Time panellist, puts away all those years of coquettishness and gets off the fence. Free. Arrive early.”

19:45-20:45 (NB August 19 and 22-25 only)
Lady and the Cramp

“A tongue-in-cheek, bursting-at-the-seams (literally), all-female musical cabaret troupe. We celebrate the female experience in all its splendid and not-so-splendid variety. We cover topics from tampon tax to getting that dodgy wax!”

Stand Up, Weather Girl!

“Sam Fraser has been a stand-by BBC local weather presenter since 2012. It’s been a steep learning curve. Flattered by online comments about her bottom, she wonders can you be a full-time feminist and a part-time weather girl? This is Sam’s first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe. Join her as she forecasts storms of delight and gales of laughter!”

Holt and Talbot: Mansplaining Feminism

“Still talking to each other after last year’s Edinburgh success with Holt and Talbot Can’t Stand The Sight Of Each Other, no one is more surprised than them. Rosie Holt is unable to grasp some of the concepts of feminism but over the course of an hour, through bickering, sketches and an audacious bit of mansplaining, Christian attempts to set her straight. ‘Refreshing and very funny’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Aroused my interest from the get-go’ (FringeGuru.com).”

(you can pay £5 to guarantee a seat at this show, or Pay What You Want at the end)
Lucy Hopkins: Secrt Circl

“Calling the courageous, faithless and broken. The late-night ceremony of love we always hoped we’d never need. Hosted by award-winning priestess/shapeshifter/person Lucy Hopkins and supported by a small ever-changing cast of the most exquisite Fringe idiots. ‘Hopkins is fantastic’ (Guardian). ‘A wonderful experience’ (Scotsman). ‘Lucy Hopkins… will transform you’ (EdFringeReview.com). Lucy Hopkins is also known as Aunty Val in Spencer Jones’ Christmas short (Sky TV), Charlie Chuck’s assistant Mary, and is an internationally touring, award-winning clown/director/lover of humans. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Tell evryone.”

The Spice Girls Lied to Us

“The Spice Girls lied right to our faces. They sold us girl power, the crappy music, the equally crappy merch. We soaked it up. They told us friendship would last forever then each one of them went off, got married, had kids, got cheated on and publicly humiliated, and all of them went back to their husbands. Yes, even Sporty Spice became a housewife! They didn’t even stay mates! Friendship doesn’t last forever! They lied. Right to our faces.”



Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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