David Benson – Cato Street 1820

  • Pleasance Courtyard - Beneath
  • 15:15
  • Aug 18
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: David Benson
  • Warnings and additional info: This show contains audience participation, scenes of violence and scenes that some may find disturbing.
  • Accessibility:
    Audio enhancement system
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Benson shares his fascination with the infamous plot to murder Lord Liverpool's entire cabinet and the grisly aftermath on the gallows at Newgate. Drawing on verbatim accounts, hear how outrage at the 1819 Peterloo Massacre led five men into a deadly trap. Gruesome and disturbing at times, the tale has uncanny resonance today, as Benson explores, in this highly original entertainment. 'Masterful comic timing... miss him at your peril' (Independent). Double Fringe First winner for Think No Evil of Us – My Life with Kenneth Williams, Lockerbie: Unfinished Business.

Please note that while all media gallery content is provided by verified members of the event, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society does not review or approve this content before it is posted. Reports of inappropriate content or copyright infringement can be directed to [email protected].

General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
  • Accessible entry: Queue in courtyard. 5 steps down into space, For access via locked lift ask staff or at Box Office.
  • Wheelchair access type: Building Lift

  • Stairs: 2 - 5
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Peter Doherty 90 days ago

David Benson is such a good raconteur you could listen to him recite the phone book, which makes any of his shows worth going to. This in-depth look at the ill-fated Cato Street uprising is well-researched and humorous, with songs from the period. You leave feeling you've learned something, without having been taught it. It doesn't, though, have the intensity of some of his previous shows such as Lockerbie.

Agnes Joyce Wells 93 days ago

We really enjoyed this show. An account of a notorious event from historical London. Gruesome in details at times. Well researched by Mr Benson. This is one for the history buffs. Recommend.

Keith Baxter 100 days ago

A powerful telling of a little known story with a shocking twist...this compelling show draws you into the murky world of radical London in the early nineteenth century and leaves you with more than a little to think about on your way out. Don't miss it.

Michael Saunderson 101 days ago

David here has returned to the one man format that he always executes so perfectly. Telling this little known tale with gusto and switching into every character effortlessly we left smiling despite the rather grim nature of the subject. I for one cannot wait to hear the song he has resurrected being sung in the streets.

If you're familiar with David's work, you won't be disappointed. If you're not familiar, then don't miss the chance to be introduced to this wonderful actor and writer. Many things at this year's Fringe deserve to be seen and this is most definitely one of them.

Susan Stewart 104 days ago

Entertaining and very well researched and put together performance. Lots of parallels to where we are now politically!! Well worth going along to see.

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

ScotsGay (5/5 stars) 91 days ago

David Benson here takes us into the world of discontent, plots, sedition and public executions of the early nineteenth century. The Cato Street conspiracy receives much less attention and is less well known then such events as the Peterloo Massacre, recently covered in an excellent film. David Benson takes us...

Read the full review

Theatre Extra (5/5 stars) 96 days ago

Anybody who loves history will love this and anyone who thinks history is boring will find it doesn't have to be when told in this marvellous way by Benson.

Read the full review

The Scotsman (3/5 stars) 97 days ago

Through biographical solo shows such as the classic Think No Evil of Us: My Life with Kenneth Williams and Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, in which he unravels historical figures and events through the pitch perfect and in-depth creation of character, David Benson’s name has deservedly earned its place as a marker...

Read the full review

British Theatre Guide (3/5 stars) 100 days ago

You would think it hard to make an audience laugh at a show about the Cato Street Conspiracy, especially if you are getting them to take it seriously. But this is what David Benson does, as he introduces us to those involved in the conspiracy, sings a few songs, tells...

Read the full review

Edinburgh Guide (3/5 stars) 101 days ago

On May 1st 1820, a vast crowd gathered outside Newgate prison to witness the hanging and beheading of five traitors, caught in the act of conspiring to assassinate the entire British cabinet and declare a republic. David Benson - Cato Street 1820 tells the story of the plot, the trial...

Read the full review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Please login to add a review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.