With Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 kicking off this week, Theatre Editor Daniel Perks picks some of the mini-festivals he's most looking forward to. Read on for pockets of magnificence within the madness:

Edinburgh as all about theatre and comedy, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 is full to the brim with new talent and old favourites. It’s the return of the biennial British Council Showcase and the launch of new venues that expand the portfolio of the big four. It’s the year of immigration, true crime and space age drama. It’s a year of the mini-festival within this larger beast, pockets of joy in a maelstrom of magic.

With 3,841 shows in 323 venues across the city, there’s so much to choose from. Read some of my top mini-festival picks below:

Roundabout EdFringe 2019
Paines Plough Roundabout (image courtesy of Richard Lakos)

Paines Plough at the Roundabout

Roundabout is back in Summerhall, a sixth year of mini-festival shows that forms a staple of the theatregoing calendar. With 11 shows a day to pick from, production company Paines Plough have hand selected 300 hours of entertainment to delight and inspire.

This year sees contributions from some powerhouse theatremakers, including Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair‘s Fringe First-winning show, Square Go. Produced by Francesca Moody, Square Go returns to the UK after a critically acclaimed showing off-Broadway, with Game of Thrones star Daniel Portman in the cast. Another in Moody’s portfolio, Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd returns with Baby Reindeer, a collaboration with Olivier Award-winner Jon Brittain.

And that’s not all!

Themes around isolation come to the fore – The Claim broaches the subject of the Home Office visa process as a foreigner trying to lay down roots in the UK; Parakeet talks about an isolated teenager finding her flock among these feathered birds; The Canary and the Crow focusses on a working class black kid feeling out of place in a presitigious grammar school.

There’s also a trio of shows around difficult familial relationships – How to be Brave looks at a new mum trying desperately to provide and protect; On The Other Hand, We’re Happy examines what happens when a father meets his daughter and her birth mother for the first time; Daughterhood shifts the spotlight onto two sisters, one who stayed home to care for Dad and the other who left to make a difference.

Catch the Paines Plough Roundabout shows from 31 July – 25 August at Roundabout @ Summerhall.

HighTide EdFringe 2019
HighTide Disruption – Teddy Lamb’s Since U Been Gone

HighTide at Assembly Roxy

They’re back and they’re here to cause Disruption.

HighTide are bringing a series of six shows to Assembly Roxy, pieces from new and exciting artists that provide contemporary takes on the controversial current society. New artists mark the final season of outgoing Artistic Director Steven Atkinson, who will bow out after the Aldeburgh Festival in September and make way for Suba Das.

HighTide has never been one to shy away from difficult issues, and this year is no exception. Pops by Charlotte Josephine looks at a father and daughter in the midst of addiction; Rust redefines what trust means for a couple; Collapsible urges us to make connections with each other, even when we find it hard to connect to ourselves.

And then there’s the collaboration with The Queer House to present a double bill of personal accounts and powerful discourse. Teddy Lamb‘s Since U Been Gone charts their growing up in East Midlands, while Mika Johnson‘s Pink Lemonade explores micro-aggressions towards lesbian Black womxn.

Catch the HighTide shows from 31 July – 26 August at Assembly Roxy.

BoxedIn EdFringe 2019
BoxedIn Theatre at The Greenhouse

BoxedIn Theatre at Dynamic Earth

The environment, sustainability and climate change are big themes of this year’s festival. And one company has taken these ideas, incorporated them into its mini-festival core and run with it.

BoxedIn Theatre bring us a pop-up theatre, made and run in an entirely sustainable, zero-waste manner at The Greenhouse. This partnership with the Pleasance can be found at Edinburgh’s very own Dynamic Earth.

With eight shows, each production is closely linked to the overall ethos of the theatre company. Experience the human suffering of Evaluation, the eco-terrorism of Swallows and the ecofeminism of Daphne, or Hellfire. Laugh at a grad becoming head of marketing for a big oil company in Shellshock!. Explore the relationship with environment through the poetry and dance of Symbiosis, or how Scotland treats renewable energy in From The Wind.

But whatever you go to, be green. Be sustainable. Be the change.

Catch the BoxedIn Theatre shows from 31 July – 26 August at The Greenhouse, Dynamic Earth.