Six Shows about the American South

By the time I manage to actually arrive at the Fringe, I’ll have been away from home for the better part of a month. While I love Edinburgh, that doesn’t stop me from wanting a piece of cornbread, a cup of sweet tea, and an old southern grandma to say “Awwww, Bless your heart,” at me when I mention I’ve spent time away from home. For those who are a bit homesick for the South, or people who just want to hear some fun accents, here are a few shows which should make you feel like you’re right back below the Mason-Dixon line.

SOMETHING WEIRD: Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard

Most people wouldn’t associate the south with queer storytelling of any kind, but this is the Fringe, and what could be more fun than a Drag performer telling you spooky, gothic Americana horror stories. Join Dandy Darkly, our intrepid storyteller, on his ship, the Gaybird Steamer, and travel down the river of the mythology of this bizarre segment of the world. Dandy takes old southern rumors, African traditional stories, as well as a splash of the finest southern authors (Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, Truman Capote) to create a show that’s designed to make you laugh, jump, and maybe think about how messed up the south can be sometimes.

Underbelly Bristo Square, 11:10 pm, no shows on 13th


With its feet firmly planted in between storytelling and musical showcase, Alabama God Damn is a perfect home for anyone who wants to hear the sound of a rough strummed acoustic guitar and a hint of harmonica. While nominally about a man named Frank returning home and finding the space to love the Deep South Again, it’s really a way for these guys to show off their musical chops. With its influences lying in True Detective, S-Town and Southern Gothic music, come here if you want a chance to hear some down home good tunes.

Pleasance Dome, 10dome, 11:00, no shows on 13, 21, 27

SOMETHING FUNNY: Reginald D. Hunter- An American Facing the Beast and Niggas

As a homegrown Georgia Boy myself, I’ve got a lot of respect for a black comedian from the south. Hailing from Albany, GA, Reginald D. Hunter has a strong history of facing race in his comedy- his show last year speared the OJ Simpson trial with just its name, and this year promises the same. Expect some comedy about the absurdity of the south as well, as Hunter has a history of spearing his homeland, namely in his BBC Two Show, Songs of the South. Plus who else can say they’ve had 20 years at the fringe?

Pleasance at EICC, 20:30, no shows on 8, 14, 20


There’s a whole lot of theatre about trump going on at the fringe, and while this might not be as directly relevant to the South, it might just be the most interesting exploration of populism at the fringe. This new play, from the two-time Fringe First award winners, Pepperdine Scotland, follows Samuel, a man feeling lost in his country, as he falls straight into the world of online Trolls and his sister’s journey to get him back. Described as an 80’s adventure story plumbing the depths of contemporary extremism, if you want to see a show about populism that’s not your average Trump/Farage/Boris mockery, The Abode is for you.

Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly, 12:30, August 9-16


I want you to picture a rural town in the middle of the Dust Bowl back in the 30s. Creepy right? Now add in a creepier fortune teller/Oracle and you’ve got yourself a show. Showmanship is a darkly comic thriller about this woman, who promises safety and renewal for these people, but with no knowledge of if she’s the real deal or just another charlatan. That sort of weird roadside spookiness is endemic to the south, especially some of those southwestern specialty states, like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma Come here if you want something intense, and creepy, with a beat up 30's aesthetic to match.

C Royale, Studio 1, 17:40, no shows 14th

SOMETHING CATCHY: Bonnie Bayou- The Jennifer Ewan Band

The culture of the city of New Orleans is a wild mashup of Southern, Carribean, French, and Cajun, a combo which has led to some of the best music ever. Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Roy Brown, and even Lil Wayne have come from the big easy, and while this show skews more traditional, it does have a hint of something new. Jennifer wants to take classic cajun sounds and add a touch of Celtic back to that. Described as a “Cocktail of Cajun and Modern sounds,” come here if you expect some interesting blues, with a little mix of Jazz and Celtic.

The Jazz Bar, 17:30, Only on 3, 9, 14, 16 21, 24

Related Listings

Reginald D Hunter

Reginald D Hunter

Celebrating 20 years at the Fringe and direct from an 80-date tour of the UK and Ireland, Reginald D Hunter returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this Summer with his highly anticipated new show... 

Bonnie Bayou

Bonnie Bayou

The Jennifer Ewan Band presents a stirring mix of original songs and old-time Cajun dance classics with a Celtic tint. Scots-Cajun mid-tempo personal ballads are grounded in the grooves of Cajun dance music and the unusual interplay of accordion, acoustic guitar and bass... 

The Abode

The Abode

Welcome to the subconscious fantasy realm of oppressed white American men! Davey Anderson\'s new play follows young Samuel into the alt-right. Samuel feels like an outsider, unvalued in his own country... 

Dandy Darkly's All Aboard!

Dandy Darkly's All Aboard!

New York City's critically acclaimed satirist and cult horror raconteur, Dandy Darkly, returns to the Fringe for another horrific, hysteric, late-night frolic. Join Dandy aboard the infamous Gaybird Steamer for the smartest, sleaziest ride of your life... 

Alabama God Damn

Alabama God Damn

Frank returns to his small hometown and has a riot with the casual criminals, enlightened rednecks and tattoo ministers. A Southern Gothic road trip of beauty and disgust, bringing everyone down to earth, even the angels... 



At first sight it would seem that Boondog Theatre's latest outing at the Edinburgh Fringe is somewhat ironically titled. Transferring from the crate they were packed in at Pleasance last year to the more intimate C Venues space, there is something inappropriate about the title Showmanship when one is being hurried down the corridor of a large hotel to a small box room and seated in front of a basic set up of two chairs, a table and a few candles... 

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this article has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now