Listings: Mon 29 Jan – Sun 4 Feb

Jan 31 2024 | By More

What is on Edinburgh’s stages this week?

This week is all about the Manipulate Festival – and that apart, the answer is “not a lot” with the sum total of two one-off touring music shows on Edinburgh’s other stages.

The only two non-Manipulate offerings are at the Playhouse with 1974: the Abba Tribute Show (Saturday: tickets) and The Rock Orchestra by Candlelight (Sunday: tickets).

A scene from The House from Denmark’s Sofie Krog Theatre.

So what is this Manipulate Festival? It’s an eleven-day celebration of animation, puppetry and visual theatre. And if that is your bag, then this shows off the best of Scottish production and brings the best International shows to our theatres.

We have a full listing of live performance at the festival here. But this opening weekend has some real treats.

The House (Traverse, Fri 2/Sat 3: tickets) from Denmark’s Sofie Krog Theatre is a European puppetry classic, having racked up hundreds of performances over the last decade across the continent. A darkly hilarious piece of puppetry, this Scottish premiere performance is set in the Warehouse Family Funeral Home after the death of their undertaker, and features a revolving set with intricate lighting and sound, intrigue, mystery, and murder.

Ramesh Meyyappan

Death and its after effects can also be seen in Last Rites (The Studio Sat/Sun: tickets) from Manipulate veteran and Scottish artist Ramesh Meyyappan, co-directed by George Mann with EdFringe favourites Ad Infinitum. This entirely wordless performance – accessible to d/Deaf and hearing audiences – explores funeral rites in an intimate, final ceremony which unearths a rich tapestry of shared memories and a complex relationship between father and son.

Ramesh Meyyappan in Last Rites. Pic: Camilla Adams

Plinth (Traverse Fri/Sat: tickets) is led by celebrated Scottish theatre-maker and festival returner Al Seed, produced in partnership with Vanishing Point. Abstract and unearthly, Plinth is the wordless journey of a statue, shocked into life, descending into a warzone. Seed draws on the myth of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur as he explores the concept of the ‘hero’ versus ‘other’.

France’s Compagnie Bakélite present two Scottish Premieres. Love of Risk (L’Amour du Risqué) (Fruitmarket, Sat: tickets) is a hilarious farce involving a surreal ballet of increasingly disordered robot vacuum cleaners as they attempt to serve a man dinner by candle light. Invaders (Envahisseurs) (Traverse, Sun: tickets) finds a lurking threat of strange, gelatinous beings at the edge of the universe moving towards the earth in a piece of tabletop object manipulation.

Continuing to explore technology and robotics, the Scottish Premiere of Simple Machines (Fruitmarket Sun: tickets) presented by Belgian Theatre company Kwaad Bloed, sees choreographer Ugo Dehaes show how he grows organic-looking robots in his basement, raises them, and trains them to be dancers. Simple Machines treads the lines between satirising the idea that technology could replace humans in the arts, while also showcasing the beauty and potential within machines. After each performance, the audience is invited to see the robots up close and teach them their own dance moves.


45 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DF

L’Amour du Risque (Love of Risk) (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Sat 3 Feb 2024
Two shows: 3pm, 5pm.
A ballet for robot vacuum cleaners. A man is waiting to be served for a candle-lit dinner accompanied by romantic music. Here, the service is automated and managed by artificial intelligence with somewhat limited capacities. As robot waiters come and go, they create a hypnotic dance, demonstrating both human-like intention and mechanical randomness. Book here.

Simple Machines (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Sun 4 Feb 2024
Three shows: 1pm, 3pm, 6pm.
In this satirical show where performance meets presentation, choreographer Ugo Dehaes demonstrates how he grows organic-looking robots in his basement, raises them and trains them to be dancers.  Book here.

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
1974: The ABBA Tribute Show 
Sat 3 Feb 2024
Evening: 7.30pm.
Dig out your 70s fashion, dust off your platform boots and get ready to celebrate all things ABBA. This highly acclaimed show tours all over the world, and are renowned for their authentic voices and musical excellence. Book here.

The Rock Orchestra By Candlelight 
Sun 4 Feb 2024
Evening: 7.30pm.
Get ready to rock out like never before in a glorious mashup of head-banging hits, classical instruments and an abundance of candles. An 11-piece orchestra reimagine some of the most well-known and well-loved rock and metal songs from the last 40 years. Book here.

Studio Theatre
The Studio, 22 Potterrow, EH8 9BL. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Last Rites (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Sat 3/Sun 4 Feb 2024
Sat: 6pm, Sun 8pm.
An ending. A beginning. A goodbye.  One man has twenty-four hours to perform his father’s funeral rites. This intimate, final ceremony brings to life a rich tapestry of shared memories and a complex relationship cut short by death. A powerful journey of love, loss, and what it means to be a parent. Book here.

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404

The House (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Fri 2/Sat 3 Feb 2024
Fri: 6pm; Sat: 1pm (Trav 2)
The story of the Warehouse Family Funeral Home. On her deathbed the undertaker changes her last will and testament, a secret begins to unravel and an evil plan is formed. Sofie Krog and David Faraco’s complex puppet performance takes place in a revolving set featuring intricate lighting, strange contraptions and scary sound effects; the perfect setting for this comically chilling journey. Book here.

Plinth (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Fri 2/Sat 3 Feb 2024
Evenings: 8pm (Trav 1).
Renowned visual theatre maker Al Seed presents his latest striking work. A statue stands upon a plinth – a lightning rod for collective memory. Shocked into life, the statue descends into the war zone which surrounds it. Tormented by images of conflict, the statue battles to comprehend the world into which it has been thrust. As awareness grows, a monstrous transformation ensues. Book here.

Envahisseurs (Manipulate Fest ‘24)
Sun 4 Feb 2024
Two shows: 2pm & 5pm (Trav 2).
At the edge of the universe, strange, gelatinous beings are moving towards Earth. Their intentions are still unknown… Will our armies be overcome? Will our world fall apart? And what is this disturbing character, half demigod, half undertaker, creating this story before the awe-struck audience? Book here.



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