Theatre (drama, new writing)

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  • Pleasance Courtyard - Pleasance Above
  • 14:30
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United States
  • Group: Dark Lady Co
  • Warnings and additional info: This show contains adult themes and content, including some scenes of violence and strong language.
  • 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


What makes a killer? What makes the yearning for connection and friendship so great that you would do anything? How does a mind justify the most terrifying act? In 1991, four Austrian nurses were charged with murdering 49 patients in their beds, but were suspected of killing up to 200. The world premiere of this blistering new play by Jessica Ross, directed by Steven Roy and executive produced by Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss, forces us to confront all we deem evil, horrible, and hideous. Look carefully enough, and we might just see a little bit of ourselves.

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General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
  • Accessible entry: Main queue on road outside. Lift access through Pleasance Bar — ask at Box Office or bar for assistance.
  • Wheelchair access type: Building Lift

  • Stairs: 11- 20
    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

Daisy 75 days ago

Looking back on the 42 shows I saw at the Fringe, I can safely say that this was the the worst one I saw. The acting was bad, the direction was confusing and self-absorbed, the script was rambling and made no sense. I don't know how this show managed to get rave reviews when everyone I saw it with was baffled, confused and disappointed by a show that could have been truly great, considering the subject material. The only thing that I can commend was using the 4 bathtubs but even these were used clumsily by the 4 actors - the transitions were slow and cringe inducing.

GDB 81 days ago

A powerful and emotive play, this requires your attention in order to fully appreciate the clever writing and narrative hooks used throughout. The clever use of bathtubs as a multi-used prop is creative excellence (the link is in the name of the play, folks)
The atention to detail is second to none when it comes to the research undertaken by the writer, and afterwards, when you 'google' about the true life events depicted, you may fully realise the attrocities played out in front of you in this hour long theatre piece.
4 great main performances, each actor owning their shared time. There is brilliant use of sound to convety panic, anxiety and dread.
The narrative arc is sharp and demands attention, as so much is crammed into the one hour running time.
There are one or two moments of staggering emotion and the use of falsetto opera at key moments is a wonderful touch.
if a powerful, emotive rollercoaster play is what you are after, you'd be hard pressed to find a better show than Drowning.

Keith Grant 81 days ago

I had heard about this show and I am so glad I went to see it. I was engrossed from the word go. Utterly believable performances from four main characters - the nurses. It was gripping, shocking and brilliantly executed. I had to remind myself that they were only acting.
A must see.

Dan 83 days ago

Honestly don't bother - flimsy performances, rambling writing, baffling direction. Bit of a shame there's such a huge buzz about this, when so many truly great new pieces at the Fringe get lost for want of their budget.

Agnes Joyce Wells 84 days ago

A dark real life story of perhaps the biggest female serial killers ever! What is incredible is how they managed to get away with so many! Highly recommend.

Robert Smith 87 days ago

Brilliant piece to see with friends so you can discuss it afterwards. So glad I went with my team today and we were able to get into what looked like a sold out show. I'm new to the Fringe, and don't always know what to expect.

What I liked about it: Gripping portrayal of the nurses and what could drive them to murder (or was it mercy) so many patients. Loved the interplay between the characters, especially in the final big scene with them all (I won't give anything away). Sharp dialogue.

What could be better: I'm reaching here but I felt once or twice there was some silent acting getting a point across that I didn't quite get (maybe I'm not enough of a theatre pro). Started a bit late.

As I said wonderful yet disturbing piece to see with friends so you can discuss things afterwards.

Onna Young 87 days ago

HOLY [email protected]%!!! I walked into the show not knowing what to expect, except that my friends had RAVED about it and said it was the best dark, intense show at the Fringe they'd seen. Little did I know I'd be pulled into a world I never imagined: four overworked nurses who somehow ended up as serial killers together. There's no way four nurses just walked in together as killers from Day 1, so how can people change into that? Just wow. Dark genius.

Aaron 88 days ago

While most of the shows at the Fringe are lighthearted, well meaning and entertaining... Drowning goes DEEP. How many shows here examine the motivations of serial killers, especially ones that weren't born that way, but chose to do it?

I love how different the show is, how it made me think... even though it was an uncomfortable emotional roller coaster... WOW. If you want ponies and rainbows, it's not for you... but if you want something different and darker (in a fascinating way), I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Drowning!!!

Katie Mulcahy 89 days ago

A look into what could have possessed these women to commit such heinous acts. Extremely good performances from all, particularly Stephanie.
Really enjoyed this show.

Peter Louch 89 days ago

Sadly, did not get this play at all.
At the end, had no better understanding, of why it may have happened, than before the play began.
Always disappointing when this happens, but watching 40 + shows in a week ,is likely to happen.

Martyn Deans 91 days ago

I thought this was an extremely thought provoking show, that took a great chance with an episode I knew absolutely nothing about.When I saw it it made a great impression, and provoked a lot of discussion, afterwards about the whole thing around the nurses motivation behind the killings, which was far from straightforward.
And did they really have the nerve to play 'Another
One Bites The Dust' after one murder?

Sarah Fox 94 days ago

Dark and uncomfortable at times but totally captivating. Brilliant use of set. The cast were superb and completely believable. Definitely my stand out show of the Fringe!

Andrew Riddle 94 days ago


This play should be expanded and sent to the West End. A few notes to help it get there:

The actor playing Stephanie needs to be louder. You can’t hear her and sometime she forgot her lines.

Waltraud could add more depth to her character. Her ending was over dramatic and confusing. The young girl playing

Maria made me hold my breath throughout her entire monologue. Such a gut wrenching speech for a young actor.

Favorite character was Irene. She seemed the most real. Made me cry twice.

Deborah J 94 days ago

My FAVORITE show at the FRINGE!!!!!!

Jenna 94 days ago

AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! Wow my family and I LOVED IT! Ignore any bad reviews you see, seriously this show had the guts to tackle a dark true story and it takes some beautiful risks. Everyone should see.

william greer 95 days ago

This play is an actors dream. The monologues are positively winning. Forget figuring out why these nurses killed. Come for their stories. Cast explained at the end of show how they actually interviewed female murderers in America to create the roles of the characters.

Rose Wilson 95 days ago

This show was very enjoyable! The set was incredibly interesting and you could tell a lot of thought had been added to see how these seemingly bland baths could be used on stage. I love the questions the performance asked, but it never gave the audience any answers, meaning they had to think for themselves - which i loved. The actors were amazing as well, each bringing a different story and idea along with them

Mark Hendrickson 96 days ago

Thought provoking, well scripted and acted. :Highly recommended.

Mary M 96 days ago

I cried. Laughed. Cried. Laughed. Gasped. Then cried. Cried. And cried more. Every woman should see this.

Ryan Napier 96 days ago

Brilliant story. I was captured by the rich writing and language. Each character was multi layered and the story of each nurse was particularly clear. This show is deep and has humor to aid the digestion of such heavy stories. Definitely a must see!!!

Colin Patrick 96 days ago

The darkest thing you will see at the Fringe. The writing and story is without a doubt the most challenging and beautifully crafted I have ever seen at a Fringe. Dark humor with a human touch. The production itself is definitely in a workshop stage, but the potential is all there. The cast transforms the stage into a hospital room or intimate monologue setting with he use of bath tubs. Creative. Go see.

Clara Spoelgen 97 days ago

I think the play is getting such bad reviews because people are uncomfortable. I worked as a nurse in a similar hospital in Vienna. This story is so true. Playwright should be applauded for capturing the reality but also the darkness that we all don’t want to believe exists in the medical profession and in the world. I like how the story was tangled and confusing because it reminds me of how my nursing days felt just like that.

Frank Rizzoi 97 days ago

For audiences who simply want to enjoy their drink and be entertained by mediocre comedians or toilet humor this is NOT the show for you, THOUGHT PROVOKING and HARD SWALLOW tale that writer tackles here with such finesse. The writing is rich with nuances that makes a fellow author envious. Vignette structure to the plot, but so much to tell in 55 minutes. Opera solos from the young character gave me chills. And the woman playing Irene had me in tears or laughter and dark sadness. Without a doubt go.

Katherine Walker 97 days ago

The acting was quite unbelievable. Unbelievably bad. The story was hard to follow.

Shelby J. 97 days ago

Loved this show! For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would give this less than 5 stars. It is a really dark story but it's done really well and honestly out of everything else I have seen at the fringe this year I think this the most impressive. Don't miss it!

Mark Reynolds 97 days ago

Went to see this after seeing a lot of promotion on social media. A well rehearsed character exploration piece with some very talented performers delivers an honestly horrible tale, very well. At times I felt as though the narrative was slightly confusing as I struggled to make connections within a time context especially. The four performers really shone, and could probably have added a little more subtlety to their deliveries, but that is honestly nit picking. Overall I felt the script could have paced the show faster, and monologues felt a little tangential at times. That didn't take away from the emotions presented on stage and I'm genuinely glad I came to see this show. Would recommend to anyone at fringe looking for character pieces, multi dimensional female characters and dark themes.

Jimmy 98 days ago

A masterpiece of dark genius! The 80's music mixed with the hospital sounds was like being trapped in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Hands down one of the best shows I've seen at Fringe.

Michael Paulson 99 days ago

Panned by critics, made me want to see it even more, as journalist from New York. Floored that something of this magnitude is at the festival. Huge thanks to the venue for bringing this level of depth to it’s stage. Tackled a hugely taboo subject. DROWNING didn’t try to convince me of why these women killed but offered the real challenges people literally ‘drown’ themselves in. Superb use of bathtubs as the set. Guaranteed to be a movie or TV series.

Angie B. 99 days ago

I can't stop thinking about what I saw yesterday. I overheard people talking about the show and decided to give it a go. It was utterly devastating. The playwright should be congratulated on capturing women so accurately. As a women who has suffered abuse in it's many forms, been a mother, and felt under appreciated this play made me feel heard for the first time. Finally theatre for women, about women, who understand. Don't come for answers. Come to experience. I'm coming back and bringing my daughters and granddaughters as well.

Alexander S. 101 days ago

MEANT for LONDON or NYC. This show is like notion I've ever experienced at the Fringe before. Top notch acting. Unbelievably creative set construction out of bathtubs!!! The dialogue is so specific and refined, I cannot believe how much this show was able to pack into an hour. Every word had me either crying, laughing or on the edge of my seat. Definitely a show that makes it's audience members think. It's not a happy piece which is so unusual for a Fringe show. Bravo to the venue for bringing something new to the Fringe, not another comedy or predictable piece with a happy ending. I WANT MORE SHOWS LIKE THIS PLEASE!!!

LTW 102 days ago

Good storyline, strong acting, incredible opera number, but the script could be tighter as there was little connection between scenes, which wasn't helped by the rather corny filler music which did not compliment the dark storyline.


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

The Wee Review (4/5 stars) 77 days ago

In Austria, four nurses, dubbed ‘Angels of Death’ confessed to killing 49 patients in the 80s. It is believed that they may have murdered as many as 200. Their motives for killing the patients were never revealed, and as of 2008, all four have been released from life imprisonment on...

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The Stage [paywall] (3/5 stars) 77 days ago

Like sirens, four nurses emerge from the bathtubs on stage. As we learn about them in monologue and dialogue, we are introduced to a quartet of women who appear resoundingly normal; flawed, yes, but all too human in their responses to their profession, and to telling us what in their...

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Ed Fringe Review (3/5 stars) 79 days ago

Feeds our morbid fascination...

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UK Theatre Web (3/5 stars) 81 days ago

"...a good play, well researched and written"

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The Scotsman (3/5 stars) 81 days ago

At a time when life expectancy in the UK is beginning to fall following severe spending cuts and several Fringe shows toy with the idea that the unloved elderly might be the targets of humanity’s next holocaust, the story of the Lainz Angels of Death is a chilling one. ...

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Deadline News (4/5 stars) 91 days ago

These women have four distinct, well-rounded and well-realised characters which challenge our idea of why we expect women to care.

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North Westend (4/5 stars) 93 days ago

As a piece of theatre it is a joy to watch and it would not be under heavy criticism if it was purely a fictional piece. I believe with a few tweaks this show will be picked up by a publishing house and be shown across the country in the coming months and years.

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Culture Fix (3/5 stars) 95 days ago

Drowning explores the concept of mercy over murder as it depicts the story of four Austrian nurses who killed over two-hundred patients in the 1980s (dubbed the Lainz Angels of Death). Directed by Steven Roy and written by Jessica Ross, Drowning is inventively staged and tonally atmospheric

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FringeReview 99 days ago

The writer of Drowning, Jessica Ross, has unearthed a fascinating story – that of four Austrian nurses who in 1991 were charged with murdering 49 patients in their beds (and are thought to have killed many more).  She sets out to ask what makes a murderer, and explores the fictionalised...

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