Edinburgh festival 2016: what to see and where to go

The Guardian / Lyn Gardner

If you were to stick a pin in the Summerhall programme you would be almost certain to come up with a show that would surprise and delight in equal measure. Check out the curated programmes from Paines Plough and Northern Stage. The former includes the return of Every Brilliant Thing, alongside Luke Norris’s new comedy about manning up, Growth; Alan Harris’s Love, Lies and Taxidermy; and the off-Broadway song cycle Ghost Quartet. Katie Bonna’s All the Things I Lied About should be fun too. The Northern Stage programme includes Rash Dash’s examination of masculinity, Two Man Show; Unfolding Theatre’s Putting the Band Back Together, about revisiting lost dreams; Hannah Nicklin’s Equations for a Moving Body; and Third Angel’s 600 People, looking at our place in the cosmos.

If you enjoyed On the Run’s So it Goes, check out their latest, Tell Me Anything. The housing crisis get the Sh!t Theatre treatment in Letters to Windsor House. Kieran Hurley’s Beats was terrific so I’ve got sky-high hopes for Heads Up about three people facing up to disaster. I’ve already seen a version of FK Alexander’s I Could Go on Singing, and it’s remarkable: uplifting and gruelling in equal measure. Inspector Sands are back in Edinburgh with The Lounge, set in a care home off the A1, and Ontroerend Goed are contemplating the end of humanity in World Without Us.

Jeremy Weller’s Grassmarket Project created some memorable shows 20 years ago, and he’s back with a new true life tale, Doubting Thomas, about a man with a violent past. Annie Siddons’s tale of loneliness in Twickenham, How (Not) to Live in Suburbia, has already won fans. It Folds is an award-winning Irish piece combining the talents of Brokentalkers and the Junk Ensemble. Brilliant puppeteers Blind Summit and Hijinx collaborate on Meet Fred which explores what happens when Fred loses his “puppetry living allowance”. Us/ Them revisits the Beslan siege; Jenna Watt’s Faslane talks to those working at the Trident site and those protesting there; and the stories we tell to ourselves in the violet hour, are explored in Francesca Millican-Slater’s Stories to Tell in the Middle of the Night.