Oedipus by Steven Berkoff (after Sophocles)

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

3-29 August (not 9, 10, 17 August)

Start time 13:20

Running time 100 minutes

Tickets £10 - £17.50

Online Bookings:
Venue | Fringe | Comedy Festival

Phone Bookings:
Venue 0131 556 6550
Fringe 0131 226 0000

Official Show Website

The bravest, most exciting and moving Greek tragedy in years. Shows that rewriting in a harsh, edgy modern language can still make you feel the heat and passion of its power. ****

Sunday Times

Taking him as visionary director and choreographer I am at Berkoff’s feet: it is a remarkable piece. Properly thrilling, and hurls the full pity and terror of the original at us across 25 centuries.

The Times

Beware the Greeks bearing gifts, the old saying has it – on this occasion, you can welcome them with open arms. ****


Steven Berkoff returns to the fringe for the first time since the acclaimed On The Waterfront in 2008. This new version of Oedipus, with an 11-strong cast including Berkoff, sees him reunited with Simon Merrells. The show recently won national acclaim during successful seasons at Liverpool and Nottingham Playhouses.

Anita Dobson will play Jocasta. She first shot to national fame as Angie Watts in EastEnders, Anita has performed extensively on stage and screen and her West End credits include Calendar Girls, Hello Dolly, Hamlet and Bette & Joan. She was nominated for a Best Actress Olivier Award for the National Theatre’s production of Frozen in 2003.

Thebes; the Gods are angry and have put a terrible curse on the city. Condemned by his own arrogance – his refusal to even contemplate anyone else’s point of view – truth and fate conspire as Oedipus unwittingly sets his own downfall in motion. It soon becomes clear that his only success will be in sealing his own fate.

Celebrated writer, actor and director Steven Berkoff brings his distinctive style to a new production of Sophocles’ greatest Greek tragedy, Oedipus. He adapted and directs the piece and will play Creon for the Edinburgh run. The co-production of the show premiered in Liverpool and Nottingham earlier this year to critical and audience acclaim with its highly charged performance style and charismatic ensemble of actors, led by Simon Merrells as the eponymous king. Berkoff directed Merrells in 2008 in his acclaimed adaptation of On the Waterfront (Nottingham Playhouse, Edinburgh & West End).

The ensemble is: Anthony Barclay, Sean Buckley, Michael Fenner, Christopher Hogben, Alex McSweeney, Anthony Ofoegbu, Alister O’Loughlin and Jonathan Sidgwick.


Latest news

  • 5 stars for Oedipus from Theatreguide August 27, 2011

    ‘Don’t come to Berkoff expecting understatement; come for the uninhibited but highly disciplined joy of open theatricality, here in the service of a play that fully responds to the approach.’

    Read the review here.

  • Oedipus receives four stars from Fringe Review August 26, 2011

    ‘This is an exceptional piece of theatre.’

    Read the full review here.

  • Steven Berkoff 'My Edinburgh' piece for The Independent August 22, 2011

    ‘Edinburgh in August is one of the most extraordinarily dynamic manifestations of human creativity in the world.’

    Read about Steven Berkoff’s full Edinburgh experience here.

  • Oedipus given Five Stars by Fringe Guru August 22, 2011

    ‘Berkoff has produced a pulsating, terrifying rendition of Oedipus, all the more gruesome for its simplicity, a masterpiece of physical theatre, and proof that the themes that pervade Greek tragedy can move seamlessly into the current century.’

    Read the full review here.

  • Four stars for Oedipus from Across the Arts August 20, 2011

    ‘A very convincing production that proves how the classics, when treated with innovation and respect, can be just as relevant now.’

    Read the full review here.


  • Best Actor Nomination for Simon Merrells August 19, 2011

    Congratulations to Simon Merrells, playing the title role in Oedipus, for his nomination as Best Actor in The Stage Awards 2011. Fingers crossed he will win – the ceremony is on 28 August and we’ll let you know the result…

  • Four stars for Oedipus from The Independent August 18, 2011

    ‘Steven Berkoff’s utterly distinctive new version of the Sophocles tragedy is like a well-oiled machine grinding towards death and destruction.’

    Read the full review here.

  • Four Metro stars for Oedipus August 17, 2011

    “A bravura staging” – we’ll post the link here when we the review is online.

  • Four stars for Oedipus from The Scotsman August 13, 2011

    Delivering the kind of multi-megawatt performances that make theatre seem like the most thrilling art form on Earth.’

    You can read the full review here.

  • Four stars for Oedipus from British Theatre Guide August 13, 2011

    ‘The mixture of ancient and modern is affecting and effective’.

    You can read the full review here.

  • The Stage Edinburgh: Oedipus is a Must See August 10, 2011

    A production that “positively glows with talent”, Oedipus is a must see according to The Stage.

    You can read the review here.

  • Four Stars for Oedipus from Informed Edinburgh August 10, 2011

    Steven Berkoff’s “rendering confirms the tale’s persistent value in contemporary theatre”.

    Read the full review here.

  • Four stars from Whatsonstage.com & Jewish Chronicle for Oedipus August 9, 2011

    “The crowds are going wild for Berkoff’s distinctly powerful new version of Oedipus.” Whatsonstage.com
    “The acting and the miming of the chorus-like ensemble, on and around a long table, with frozen moments recalling works of Renaissance art, is superb.” The JC

  • 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.

  • Win tickets for Oedipus opening show August 5, 2011

    Would you like to win a pair of tickets to the official opening performance of Oedipus on Saturday 6 August at 1.20pm at the Pleasance Courtyard?

    Simply send an email to tickets@festivalhighlights.com with the answer to this question:

    Which star of stage and screen has adapted Oedipus for this production, and also directs the show and appears in it as Creon?

    Please state your name and a contact phone number so we can be in touch to confirm your ticket collection arrangements if you win.

    Competition closes at midnight tonight, Friday 5 August. If you cannot attend the Saturday 6 August performance you can choose to take tickets on Sunday 7 August instead, please state this in your entry email.

  • The List interviews Berkoff July 31, 2011

    In this interview with The List, Steven Berkoff reveals how a table came to play a key part in Oedipus.

  • Anita Dobson & Steven Berkoff interview July 26, 2011

    Read this fascinating “How We Met” piece from the Independent on Sunday about how two of the stars of Oedipus have a shared stage history going back 20 years.

  • Oedipus is The List's Theatre Pick July 22, 2011

    “Steven Berkoff makes a welcome return to the Fringe, playing Creon in his own adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy. Featuring the director’s signature expressionist performance style and an 11-strong cast, the show is surely worth the price of a ticket to see ex-EastEnder Anita Dobson in the role of Jocasta.” Read the full story here.

  • Oedipus in Evening News Top Ten June 9, 2011

    Oedipus features in the Edinburgh Evening News selection of the Top Ten Fringe Shows 2011. Read the full story here and find out more about Oedipus at the official show website.

  • Oedipus Tickets Now On Sale June 5, 2011

    You can book Oedipus ticket via the Pleasance box office online or by calling 0131 556 6550.

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