As Fringe mania kicks in – here’s our top tips!

The skirl of the pipes. A slippery combination underfoot of puddles, cobbles and pulped flyers. And what’s that disconcerting malty smell? It can only be the Edinburgh fringe, to which the indie theatre world relocates in August as surely as salmon swimming upstream or Britain’s Brexit plans returning to a state of chaos. CPT will be there, trying to forget that it’s meant to be summer, hunting down the best new shows and artists we’ve never met yet – and doing all we can to champion this year’s cracking roster of CPT-supported projects.

If you’re heading to the Fringe, it’s less a job than a pleasure on our part to recommend you check out these terrific works. Several are doing so well already, you scarcely need our voice added to the chorus of acclaim. Our associate artists Sh!t Theatre are back in their home-from-home, Summerhall, with 2017 smash DollyWould, which – via the Spring Festivals Co-Commission – we helped bring into being two years ago. Nouveau Riche are making their fringe debut with Queens of Sheba, recent winner of the Underbelly Untapped Award having been developed on CPT’s Starting Blocks scheme and selling out a week-long run here last autumn. Its defiantly upbeat examination of ‘misogynoir’ is really not to be missed.

Also developed on Starting Blocks, Pip Hambly’s entirely unique The Kinkens pitches up at Just the Tonic at the Caves. Pip has worked with another CPT favourite, Kid Carpet of Castle Builder fame, on this one, and it’s well worth a look. So too Silent Faces, whose corporate clown show Follow Suit was a CPT favourite, and whose newbie A Clown Show About Rain scratched as part of our ‘Shape of Things to Come’ festival last autumn. This one takes on mental health; it’s going to be great.

Also mental health themed, after its own eccentric fashion, and also featuring in our ‘Shape of Things’ 2017 programme, Miranda Prag’s This is Just Who I Am is – like Pip’s show – a true original, exploring emptiness, art and artifice, and the construction and projection of the self. CPT was one of Miranda’s supporters on the show – and we advise you most heartily to check it out on the fringe. Which applies equally to Trip Hazards’ Love Songs, a charming and hard-hitting solo spoken word / theatre offering about coming-of-age, relationships and consent.Love Songs ascended its ladder of development at CPT and elsewhere, and – fronted by superstar-in-the-making Alissa Cooper – it’s now ready to conquer the world.

Speaking of world domination, I predict a stratospheric Fringe for Paul O’Donnell, whose one-man imaginary Bon Jovi musical We’ve Got Each Other has got ‘Edinburgh cult hit’ written all over it. CPT co-commissioned Paul’s whipsmart and mischievous performance via our partnership on China Plate’s First Bite / Bite Size scheme, and it’s so exciting to see it on the verge now of major lift-off. The Welcome Revolution also emerged via one of our out-of-London partnerships, in this case with the National Student Drama Festival, where Josie Davies’s engaged and idealistic project first took wing. She worked on its development here at CPT and previewed it at Sprint 2018; now it’s at ZOO Southside throughout August.

Victoria Bianchi and Jess Brodie’s I’ll Have What She’s Having made its first CPT appearance two years ago, as a scratch performance in our ‘Calm Down, Dear’ feminism festival that immediately made you want to see the finished show. A sparky autobiographical two-hander about modern womanhood and “why every decision we make feels like the wrong one”, it’s at the Assembly George Square throughout August. Round the corner, young tyros The Fun Club – whose show CPT programmed and supported straight out of college last year – bring their playful and mega-meta debut The Fun Club Presents…to Zoo Venues. I recommend it to anyone who loves honest, intelligent and funny performances, intensely engaged with what it means to tell stories – and the truth – onstage.

We couldn’t be prouder to have helped all these shows on their journey to this year’s fringe, and we can’t wait to see them flourish. See them if you can – and have a great festival!