An Instinct For Kindness

Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)

3-29 August (not 10 & 17 August)

Start time 16:10

Running time 70 minutes

Tickets £5 - £10

Online Bookings:
Venue | Fringe | Comedy Festival

Phone Bookings:
Venue 0131 556 6550
Fringe 0131 226 0000

2012 Tour Official Site

‘Story-telling and ritual are the very roots of theatre. This is story-telling of a very high order.’ ****

The Times

‘The word extraordinary is misapplied during the Fringe but there's few other words that do justice to Chris Larner's one-man show.’ *****

Edinburgh Evening News

‘This is the most commanding and beautiful piece showing at the Fringe, an absolute must-see.’ *****

Ed Fest Mag

‘This is a show that reminds us that how we die is as important as how we live.’ ****

The Guardian



Last year, Chris Larner accompanied his chronically ill ex-wife to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic. He came home with an empty wheelchair and a story to tell.

This moving, bittersweet show reflects on the circumstances, morality and humanity surrounding the journey. Through a candid, poignant and sometimes comic performance, Chris explores both the profound personal implications and the wider ethical issues that surround the contentious topic.

Chris Larner is a writer, actor and director. His stage work includes Alice in Wonderland (RSC); Wind In The Willows (National Theatre); and on TV, Clingfilm in London’s Burning. He has written extensively for comedy legends The Right Size and many others. With David Gilbert he wrote The Laxian Key for BBC Radio. His Edinburgh shows include acclaimed musicals The Translucent Frogs of Quuup (Guardian Best Musical Award 2004) and On The Island of Aars (nominated for five MTM Awards, 2008).

Hannah Eidinow is a triple Fringe First Award winning director for documentary theatre pieces Lockerbie: Unfinished Business (Edinburgh 2011 & UK tour) What I Heard About Iraq (Edinburgh 2006; UK Tour & West End 2007) and Gone (Edinburgh & West End 2004). Hannah is Creative Development and Associate Director for Pleasance and an associate director of The Miniaturists, a writer-led group dedicated to producing short plays. Recent directing credits include Mood Swing (Edinburgh and New York 2010); Memory Cells (Edinburgh 2010); The Lady From The Sea (Arcola); and The Ugly One (Norwich Playhouse).


Latest news

  • 4 stars for An Instinct For Kindness from The Financial Times August 27, 2011

    Uncomplicated storytelling also makes a direct connection with listeners. In An Instinct for Kindness (Pleasance Dome), Chris Larner uses his more familiar comic skills to leaven and draw us into the poignant real-life tale of his trip to a Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Switzerland with his MS-suffering ex-wife.

    The full review is not available online so we have put it in full here.

  • An Instinct For Kindness gets five stars from Whatsonstage August 26, 2011

    ‘An Instinct for Kindness raises profound questions – about life, death, love and much more’

    You can read the full review here.

  • Critic's Choice and Five Stars for An Instinct For Kindness from Fringe Guru August 22, 2011

    An Instinct For Kindness is a story of intense emotions, but Larner’s frankness and warmth never lets it stray from the truth of the matter, thoroughly engaging the audience and engendering a personal understanding of this very important story.’

    Read the full review here.

  • Chris Larner interviewed by Fest Mag August 20, 2011

    ‘It’s moving, yes, but, greater than that, it is a real story, and there are real people out there who are really suffering, just as Allyson did, and just as needlessly.’

    You can read the full interview here.

  • FRINGE FIRST AWARD for An Instinct For Kindness August 19, 2011

    Congratulations to writer/performer Chris Larner, and director Hannah Eidinow on winning a coveted Scotsman Fringe First Award for their collaboration An Instinct For Kindness.

    As well as being a well-deserved accolade for this production, we’re delighted that Hannah has now won five Fringe First awards, all of them for Festival Highlights shows. The others were for Gone (2004), What I Heard About Iraq (2006), Lockerbie: Unfinished Business (2010), and Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still (2011).

    This award also brings the Festival Highlights Fringe First haul to 10. Well done everyone!

  • An Instinct for Kindness given four stars by The List August 18, 2011

    ‘This is highly moving and engaging theatre.’

    Read the full review here.

  • 4 Guardian stars for An Instinct For Kindness August 16, 2011

    “This is a show that reminds us that how we die is as important as how we live.” Read Lyn Gardner’s review here.

  • Five Stars for An Instinct For Kindness from Edinburgh Festivals August 15, 2011

    ‘While this is a heart-wrenching tale to be sure, the warmth and humour that laces through it makes it all the more human and astounding.’

    Read the full review here.

  • Four star Fringe Review For An Instinct For Kindness August 15, 2011

    ‘Informative and engaging, this bittersweet, strangely uplifting tale is told with much eloquence and truth.’

    The full review can be read here.

  • An Instinct For Kindness given four stars by The Times August 13, 2011

    ‘Wonderfully subtle and deceptively understated performance… story-telling and ritual are the very roots of theatre. This is story telling of a very high order.”

    Read the full review here.

  • Five stars for Instinct For Kindness from West End Whingers August 12, 2011

    ‘Never mawkish but often deeply moving, Larner’s prose and delivery combine to paint indelible visions of the people and the settings.’

    The full review can be found here.

  • Four Fest stars for Instinct August 11, 2011

    “Tight and lucid… a humbling, moving one man show.” – read the full review here.

  • The Times talks about An Instinct For Kindness August 10, 2011

    The Times mentioned An Instinct For Kindness in its Arts section:

    ‘One of the most affecting pieces of theatre this year is An Instinct for Kindness, in which Chris Larner describes with shattering frankness how he accompanied his terminally-ill former wife to the Dignitas clinic, in Switzerland, to die last November. The understated, occasionally humorous script makes the emotional impact all the greater. If you then need a burst of cathartic shock treatment, drop in on the inimitable Jerry Sadowitz, whoseComedian, Magician, Psychopath is a characteristically appalling virtuoso performance.’

    To read more, go here.

  • Five Stars for An Instinct For Kindness from Scotsgay August 10, 2011

    “If ever a show is truly deserving of a 5 star review and classic praise phrase, it is this one-man show by Chris Larner.”

    The full review can be seen here.

  • Five Evening News stars for An Instinct For Kindness August 9, 2011

    Here’s the review in full as it isn’t available online yet,

    “The word extraordinary is misapplied and misused during the Fringe but there’s few other words that do justice to Chris Larner’s one-man show at the Pleasance Dome.

    A powerful and heart-rendering story telling of his choice to support his ex-wife on her journey to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic.

    This is undoubtedly a polemic in favour of the right to dignity and choice but it’s also a touching, tender story done with warmth, humour and a fine streak of British grit that prevents it ever moving into saccharine territory.

    Though clearly in the pro camp it doesn’t duck the difficult issues and one of its greatest strengths is in dealing with the impact on others of this fatal decision.

    Larner is a superb performer and puts an all too human face on what can be a dry abstract argument and does so in a tremendously powerful and affecting way.”

  • Broadway World Reviews An Instinct For Kindness August 8, 2011

    “This show stands out as a superb and moving exposition of the universal themes of human kindness and courage”.

    To read more, click here.

  • All tickets 241 Monday & Tuesday August 8, 2011

    All Festival Highlights shows are participating in the 241 promotion today and tomorrow where you can get two tickets for the price of one. The perfect excuse to check out twice as many shows!

    The only exception to this is Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, as it is only doing one performance, today at 4pm at St John’s Church on Princes Street. Tickets are still available and the show will be followed by a panel discussion with guests including Jim Swire and Robert Black.

  • The List recommends An Instinct For Kindness July 27, 2011

    Read the preview of Chris Larner’s new solo show An Instinct For Kindness at The List site here.

  • An Instinct For Kindness is The List's Theatre Pick July 22, 2011

    “Hannah Eidinow, who directed last year’s Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, explores similarly hard-hitting subject matter in this monologue, which reflects on writer/performer Chris Larner’s experience of accompanying his terminally-ill wife to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic. The candid story expands to take in the ethical implications.” Read more here.

  • Chris Larner interview in The Sun June 17, 2011

    Read Chris’ interview about the extraordinary story behind An Instinct For Kindness at The Sun website in this feature-length interview.

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