Published: Wed 20 Sep 23

Awards galore, fantasy deaths, minds read and loads of bananas: Highlights of our 2023 Fringe

First it was 16 shows, then 17, then, with the addition of Alex Edelman’s smash-hit solo show Just for Us in honour of the late director Adam Brace, Soho Theatre brought 18 shows to 7 venues over the month of August.

Five of the 18 acts were brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year through Soho Theatre India.

It’s been a massive month, with sold-out performances, accolades and awards, a slew of 4* and 5* reviews, a few pints of fake blood and thousands of bananas.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • Over 25,000 tickets sold for Soho Theatre shows
  • Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer for Urooj Ashfaq (the first time an India-based comedian has won the award) and Best Newcomer nomination for Bill O’Neill
  • Fringe First awards for Ben Target’s LORENZO, directed by Adam Brace and Lee Griffiths, and Miriam Battye’s Strategic Love Play, directed by Katie Posner
  • Pioneers of theatre, Artistic Director of Graeae Jenny Sealey (Self Raising) and co-founder of Tamasha Theatre Company Sudha Bhuchar (Evening Conversations) put their own heart-rending and heart-warming stories onstage as told by themselves
  • Hands-on support for 21 up-and-coming new artists through Soho Theatre’s Edinburgh Labs
  • More than one hundred 4* and 5* reviews

LORENZO, Strategic Love Play, Urooj Ashfaq’s Oh No!, Frankie Thompson and Liv Ello’s Body Show and Bill O’Neill’s The Amazing Banana Brothers all transfer to Soho Theatre as well as Sapan Verma’s Shame On Me and Abishek Kumar and Nirmal Pillai’s The Reel to Real – Crowd Work Tour.

Over 30 shows seen at the Fringe this year are transferring to Soho Theatre with shows continuing to be confirmed in the venue’s three spaces. Highlights include Ahir Shah’s Ends, winner of Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Ania Magliano’s I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This and Lorna Rose Treen’s Skin Pigeon.

Over the course of Soho Theatre’s month in Edinburgh:

  • Bill O’Neill slipped on over 1,500 banana skins in The Amazing Banana Brothers
  • Suhani Shah, the world’s highest-subscribed mentalist, read 250 minds
  • Audiences in Ben Target’s LORENZO conjured over 1,000 ‘fantasy deaths’, imagining the way they’d most like to die
  • India’s Instagram stars Abishek & Nirmal matchmade 32 single audience members, creating 16 potential new couples

David Luff, Soho Theatre Head of Theatre said:

“2023 has been an amazing year for Soho Theatre at the Fringe.

We brought 18 outstanding shows to Edinburgh audiences, which were consistently surprising, and with so many moments of brilliance.

The Edinburgh festival is a huge part of our year. We love taking risks with our programme and encountering amazing new artists. It feeds and energises our programme all year round.

We’d like to thank Isobel and Michael Holland for their generous support of our 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.”

On working with Soho Theatre, the artists said:

Soho Theatre’s like a cool aunt who knows what’s up. They’re like "we believe in you, we think you’re good, but also, get it together!"
Urooj Ashfaq
I felt delighted to be welcomed back by Soho Theatre, who I have a long history with. Being part of their programme was very comforting - I didn’t feel alone. I was under the umbrella of this great organisation.
Sudha Bhuchar
When you come through the doors of Soho Theatre there’s a lot of excitement. It’s a hip, happening space.
Bill O'Neill
Soho Theatre has taken such great care of me whilst I’ve made this show and I’ve just fallen in love with the team. To be produced by them, genuinely is a dream come true.
Ben Target
Soho Theatre is the best venue to perform in, in London.
Sapan Verma
It’s a friendship that I want to cherish with Soho Theatre. From the time I landed they’ve been so kind and good. As an artist you always want to be represented well, and I feel very fortunate to have their amazing team.
Suhani Shah
Soho Theatre has been very supportive of me, I kind of live there!
Lucy McCormick
It’s been amazing to have Soho Theatre back Body Show, it means so much to us.
Frankie Thompson