The Grandfathers

Theatre (drama, contemporary)

  • Hill Street Theatre - Dunedin Theatre
  • 13:15
  • Aug 27
  • 55 minutes
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - Scotland
  • Group: Reconnect Regal Theatre
  • Warnings and additional info: Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes, Scenes of violence, Strong language/swearing
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 1 year


The Grandfathers explores the idea of national conscription if it was still legal as we live now. We see eight young men join up to fight for their country – not through want but through force. The piece examines the different effects this has on the individual young men and how devastating national conscription can be. We follow Kol, Val, Kost, Stas, Dim, Lev, Sash and Zhen through their preparation for the front line and deployment. 'Your country called you up, and you came!'

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: There are four flights of stairs.
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

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L&G 34 days ago

As parents of a cast member we deliberately waited to the end of the run before posting a review, so as not to appear biased! Now that the run is over we have to say how incredibly proud we are, not just of x but of the whole Band of Brothers. A beautiful piece of theatre, spellbinding from start to finish. Wonderfully cast, with each member bringing their individual personalities to their roles. Well deserving of the Bright Spark Award and all the wonderful audience reviews are testament to their talents and commitment. Bravo and sleep well tonight. You all deserve a lie-in! Good luck to you all in the future. X

Emerlist 35 days ago

We were encouraged by the excellent reviews so we decided to get tickets.
What an excellent show. Difficult to say anything that has not been said before. Strong performances from all cast members. Thoughtful and thoroughly recommended.
I will look out for this group next year to see what they come up with.

Calum Philp 36 days ago

An incredibly intense and powerful production that perfectly showcases the effect of war and military training on young men. The cast of nine expertly bounce off each other without missing a beat, making your heart race like you were training alongside them! Every actor/character also gets a chance to shine in more subdued moments that reveal what's going on inside each of the soldiers' heads, resulting in some of the most powerful moments in the show. Go and see this show if you get the chance, you won't regret it!

Sean Davis 37 days ago

Grandfathers (****)
These excerpts from army boot camp demonstrated how eight recruits are prepared physically, socially, and psychologically to be a fighting unit. The initial battle justifies their training by showing us a situation that may lie in their future. While their physical training is obviously needed, the examples of team building, both official and incidental are well chosen.

This is the t22nd most enjoyable of the 184 shows I have seen so far at the Fringe this year. I hope to see almost 200. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website:

Paul DOCHERTY 37 days ago

Powerful drama about how modern day conscription would look and performed superbly. The energy, timing and force were superb. What an array of characters- all portrayed brilliantly. With the current war in Ukraine of course, topical and poignant.
Compelling throughout - highly recommended.

Marion Ritchie 37 days ago

Strong performances from start to finish. Thought provoking, funny and sad all in such a short time. Excellent characterisations from everyone in the cast. Go and see it before it’s too late.

Anne F 39 days ago

Engaging from start to finish. Talented ensemble of young actors in a very physical, emotional, at times funny and very powerful performance. Great acting throughout. Highly recommend!!!

Jerry Dupuy 39 days ago

An intimate and immersive experience of a group of young recruits. I felt as if I was being molded into a soldier. The acting was superb. Highly recommended!

Orla Henry 40 days ago

I saw this show last Thursday and found it really powerful. A young and talented cast with a fast moving script - each character delivered their monologue, at times emotional, at times poignant and funny. We were drawn into the minds of the young conscripts as they lived the reality of conscription, each character developing over the short duration of the piece. Highly recommended!

Ben Harrison 40 days ago

Brilliant show. More effective than Black Watch as it manages to be more concise and both more specific and more universal. Powerfully performed by a disciplined ensemble. Touching script and sharp direction. Highly recommended.

Jade Henderson 40 days ago

I was absolutely blown away by the talent in this cast!

The detail given to each individual character was incredibly impressive & you just know how much time & effort the team have put into this show.

I truly didn't want it to end!

It was so powerful with a good giggle here & there - never a moment where I wasn't watching in awe. Desperate to see it again.

Well done to all - smashed it.

Lorna McCormack 41 days ago

Granfathers was awesome, the conviction of the delivery from the whole cast, the conveyed emotion on their faces was wonderful to behold, it's no wonder it has been nominated for 2 Fringe awards, it deserves them both. Well done guys !! x

Simon Press 41 days ago

An amazing show!
The Grandfathers production was expertly delivered to a very appreciative audience in an intimate theatre setting. The cast worked so well as an ensemble and the monologue sections were truly engaging. The whole concept of conscription was dealt with an intelligent, thought provoking manner.
The opening scene grabbed my attention and kept it for the entire hour.
Congratulations to the cast especially as it’s their first time at the Fringe.

Rick Jones 41 days ago

Super interesting concept and great characterisation that is relatable to real young men in the 2020s. The play provoked some challenging thoughts, not just about war but about the experience of young men dealing with the toxic societal pressures of masculinity. This is some fantastic old school acting.

Marlyn Minto. 41 days ago

A powerful, thought provoking and brilliantly acted play. Make sure you catch it before fringe ends. You will not regret it. So hope it wins an award. Will be well deserved

Jordan O'Hara 42 days ago

I initially thought that this was a show about WW2, but I soon realised it wasn’t. The opening scene packs a punch, the ensemble work well together and each actor embodies their character perfectly, it is no wonder that they have been put up for an award.

It runs at slightly less than an hour but it still manages to convey the horrors of war and the brotherhood that comes from the intense training before they are allowed the fight on the ground. Each characters experience is highlighted in monologues and it allows us to see the people within the soldiers.

The small venue compliments the piece and allows the action to have a larger impact on the audience and highlights the somber monologues that come throughout the piece.

I can’t recommend this play enough.

Caroline Millar 42 days ago

I had no idea about the show before it started but wow, what a great surprise. It was completely engaging right from the start and maintained my attention throughout. I loved how the conscripts’ different personalities started to be revealed. The acting was fab but the well written script helped of course. It really played with your emotions; one minute you were laughing and the next appalled. Lots to think about. It will stay with me. So glad we went.

Oscar Girsa 42 days ago

The Grandfathers is a brilliant show that I would highly recommend for you to see at the fringe. It captures the themes of national conscription, war and the traumatic stress it brought to the nation, and the front line soldiers.

It was a theatre show that is well paced and is impeded well with stellar performances through each single cast member, bringing the soldiers to life as if they were here today. The show captures and captivates the emotions that were held within the battlefront to the fringe and tells a gripping story from start to finish. Once again, I do recommend this piece of art.

Kelly F 42 days ago

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Incredible!! From the second it started it had you gripped. Intense, emotional and funny, these actors were absolutely outstanding, such an intimate venue which you felt every single feeling from each of them. Brilliantly told story of 8 young boys and their commander getting ready to go into battle and each individual boys story was told perfectly, not to mention their relationships with each other!!
Will tell everyone about this show and definitely come see it again, well done guys xxx

paul muir 42 days ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this performance, lots of emotional and thought provoking moments throughout, well delivered by a young and very talented cast, recommend.

Audrey Whitehead 42 days ago

Seen this today. Outstanding, makes you think of the life soldiers lead. Get along if you can...

Adam Heads 42 days ago

Came in support of my good friend Lewis today. The cast were brilliant and put on an incredible show. The show reminded me of my time in training and it was put forward with a good balance of realism and artistic licence. It certainly gets the mind thinking and brings out emotion. 10/10

Freya Panton 42 days ago

Amazing show, a must see. Brought my partner who wouldn’t usually go and see theatre shows and he thoroughly enjoyed it! Engaging the whole way through, funny and even emotional. Well deserved of the award nominations

Michael Coyle 43 days ago

Saw this today and I was very impressed by this young ensemble cast. Humour, pathos, tragedy and irony were all part of the experience of the conscripts, beautifully and sensitively portrayed by the cast. Cliche, so often present in military pieces, was thankfully absent; instead this was clever and thought-provoking. As any good creative piece should do, it moved me, and I was not alone. Well done lads, and I hope you are showered with awards for all your wonderful, talented, sweaty efforts. 10/10 from a real grandfather.

Stephanie Harris 43 days ago

Wow just wow, outstanding performance by all of the cast. A modern day story of army life. The trials and tribulations gripping from start to finish. Intensely brilliant. A must see!

Ramona_Rites 44 days ago

RIVETING, RAW, REVEALING- I saw this show 2 days ago and it was so compelling that I can still feel the powerful performance of those actors connecting with the audience- Drawing us all in. At the end of the day, whether you’ve seen 3 or 10 performances… THIS is the one that will get TATTOOed on your heart.- (I am a screenwriter- Trust me on this)….

Also—Thanks to this phenomenal cast of young men, who played young soldiers about to be deployed into battle. What are those days, nights and profound quiet moments like…as they wait and wonder what cards will be dealt.

10 out of 10 STARS

Tracy Fordyce 44 days ago

Outstanding performance from a talented group of actors. The whole performance is emotive while funny & really carries the message. You feel like you're on the front lines with them.
Everyone should see this show. Well done to these talented actors, a well deserved standing ovation.

Neil Henry 44 days ago

Amazing ensemble piece. Intense, emotional, and funny play about the brutalising effect of war. Brilliant young cast putting everything in to it.

Jane Richardson 44 days ago

Can not say how much I enjoyed The Grandfather's today. Unbelievably moving performances from each of the cast definitely a show not to be missed

Margaret Gray 44 days ago

Absolutely outstanding performances by each and every member of this amazing cast. If you only see one show at this year's fringe,make sure it is this one. Well done everyone. It is a belter.

miryn 44 days ago

the casting was done perfectly. the boys were amazing. moments of laughter and moments of empathy that resulted in a standing ovation.

Tomas Jennings 46 days ago

Each one of the cast members brought out their characters to a unique view of the premise of the show. You could tell they really were a unit, all complimenting each other in intense, short narratives that paints the closeness of soldiers in training.

Hats off simply for how much exercise each one of these guys had to do onstage under bright lights, if nothing else!

Kirsty MacArthur 46 days ago

What a treat this show was. What a cast! A really tight team.

Ten people on this tight stage is not easy to make work, but they smashed it. The team managed to keep the show packed with high energy and yet give it moments of hard hitting emotion or calm reflection, and levity too.

Given the small space and no moving scenery, it is impressive how the team kept the show constantly engaging and fresh.

Each actor was bringing something different. Quick scenes meant it was punchy, and fast paced, but never rushed. An incredible achievement.

Each performer given powerful monologues without once dipping into any war reflection cliches. Each performance felt fresh and different and important. A genuinely electrifying performance from the Sarg who managed somehow to weave emotion and love for the conscripts through a big bolshy and bold performance. He was completely committed to the role. Stunning.

I walked in with a (reluctant) 12 and 11 year old, and they came out buzzing about it. It has given us so much to talk about on the way home. Thank you!

Kirsty Mclauchlan 46 days ago

Amazing show, a must see! The cast did an excellent job of making us feel so much in such a short period of time with cleverly written comic relief throughout.

Elaine S 47 days ago

Fabulous production, with strong performances from the whole ensemble. I wouldn't normally choose to see a play with a war theme, but this was something different from the rest, and the cast's portrayal of the individual characters kept me gripped from start to finish. Don't miss it!

Melanie Tolson 47 days ago

Having seen this today, I did not know what to expect. I was literally blown away by this group of exceptionally talented actors and their individual experience of what conscription was like for them. It was brave, bold, comedic and sensitive all at the same time. This is a powerful thought provoking show and should not go unseen. 100% recommend.

Sean Fullwood 47 days ago

Just saw The Grandfather's at the Fringe and I'm blown away. What a powerful show with an ensemble as tight as an army regiment. Outstanding performances from the whole cast of young Scottish actors. You won't want to miss this one! Bravo!

Ryan Brown 48 days ago

I didnt know what to expect when going to see Grandfathers. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and find it hard to single out one performance as the cast done brilliantly and worked well together. Definitely one of the must see shows at the fringe.

Adam Houston 48 days ago

Absolutely fantastic performance from the whole cast. Great blend of emotion moment with comic relief ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Chris 48 days ago

An excellent ensemble piece from a group of actors who gel and show their chemistry whilst working together. An easy watch that's under an hour and guaranteed to make you feel. Well done to the cast and company :)

Agnes Joyce Wells 49 days ago

Came as a group not really knowing what to expect. The group of lads displayed some great acting skills and amazing physical tolerance to the relentless ‘beasting’ that was dished out by the training sergeant. This is a powerful play and I can recommended.

Christine Wilkinson 49 days ago

This show is a must! A very talented group of young men who definitely got their story across to the audience. You’ll laugh and cry at this show and see some really good acting. Don’t miss it.

Mary C. 49 days ago

Absolutely loved this show. Gave meaning to the phrase "dramatic tension ". A very powerful piece of theatre! Congratulations to the excellent group of young actors who gave such moving performances. 5 stars!

Kiera Mcquade 49 days ago

This is amazing. There’s a reasons they’re nominated for Best Ensemble. Each character had an intense and amazing story. It’s extremely gripping but such an interesting piece of theatre. Fully recommend this show (and tissues)

Moira Jamieson 50 days ago

Such a fabulous Play. Very thought provoking and all amazing actors. No hesitation in recommending and I look forward to a second visit. M.

Leanne & Niamh Robertson 50 days ago

Absolutely fantastic show by some very talented actors. Would give this show ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and recommend it to everyone

Jim Lister 51 days ago

This is a gripping, emotional story told by a group of young, very talented actors. The audience is caught up in each character's emotional outpouring in this fast-paced show, which makes you laugh and then hits you hard with deeply emotional moments. This is definitely a show not to be missed, a must-see showcase of young talent.

Hannah Kershaw 51 days ago

The show was incredible. I purposely didn’t research the story line so that I could fully immerse myself in the show and I was blown away. It was so well cast. The boys brought a natural, realism to the roles and to the story that had me laughing and choking up all at the same time. Cannot recommend this show enough. Well done to the cast- you should all be chuffed to bits, a phenomenal performance.

Iain Usher 51 days ago

Really feel as many people as possible should pop along to Hill Street Theatre to see this absolute gem of a play with a powerful group of actors in this their fledgling production. I was blown away buy their gutsy performances. Each character so very different but somehow bonded so well as a unit. Colin McGowan was the perfect choice in leading this company of actors.

It must surely be up there for some award as I couldn't fault it in anyway.

A great afternoon's thought provoking entertainment.

Gary Young 51 days ago

FIVE STARS - A brilliant, emotional play, seeing the war through the eyes of different characters. All of the actors are extremely talented. It highlights the strengths and vulnerabilities of being a male in a group in a hostile environment and the different identities they portray to gain respect from their peers and how beneath all the bravado we are all human with fears and emotional needs. A great ensemble and highly recommended.

John Rennie 51 days ago


Great ensemble cast. Very strong acting across the board. Every character has their own unique experience and journey which is translated across in beautiful, sometimes nuanced, moments.

Ross Jamieson 51 days ago

A wonderful, hard hitting show with a very talented ensemble. A show not to be missed. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

James Gordon 52 days ago

Wow Wow Wow — whatever you do during the fringe you must see this show. A deep thought provoking play brought to life by a very talented cast. A fantastic performance from the full ensemble and noticeably Colin McGowan. Don’t miss this one whatever you do..

David C 52 days ago

Brutal themes handled with finesse, a touch of comedy and a lot of heart. Solid performances from each individual actor, and one of the tightest ensemble pieces I have ever seen.

William Matheson 53 days ago

This show is an absolute must see. The impact of the writing and acting was very powerful and thought provoking.

Go and see, you will not regret it.

Jeffrey Schwartz 53 days ago

Thought provoking and entertaining. A difficult topic to cover, executed with sensitivity. Great performances from a talented cast. Recommend

Nicola Schwartz 53 days ago

We came across this show by accident and all 5 of us loved it. Excellent performances from 10 warm and engaging characters. thought provoking themes. Serious topic with some humour thrown in. Highly recommend

Gary & Amanda 54 days ago

Amazing cast! Incredible performances by all. A show not to be missed. Stand out of the fringe this year.

Anon 54 days ago

A stunning piece of theatre that mixes light hearted "lads" banter with gut wrenching emotion, The Grandfathers is certainly one to make a point of seeing this Fringe. A battalion of superbly talented actors, led by Colin McGowan (as the Sergeant) brought a depth to their characters that allowed us to see the complex emotions that a soldier may face, especially ones being conscripted. Not only does it have us questioning the idea of war itself, but also the idea of who we consider "them" and "us" and how that affects someone's behaviour. A real treat, especially in such an intimate venue. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rebekah Wright 54 days ago

As a first time fringe attender, I didn’t know what to expect from this, I am not a big history buff and don’t tend go to anything other than musicals, that said I went on the recommendation of a friend to try something new…WOW.
Honestly incredible, truely thought provoking and really captures what our countrymen faced and in some countries still face today! The cast are so incredibly talented and all had their own leading role, I particularly enjoyed the comrade who likes to ‘twat things’ and the guy whose press ups look more like yoga poses. You really feel like you go on a journey with these men and by the end you are really invested in their stories. A must see when visiting the fringe!

Zoe McRae 54 days ago

A wonderful interesting and thought provoking show. Great performances from a fab cast, who shed some great funny moments over a difficult subject matter. Would definitely recommend you to catch this show at Hill Street if you can

Martin Walters 54 days ago

This show was absolutely incredible. The cast where brilliant and the performance was 10/10. Each one of the company shone through. Good luck for the rest of the Fringe guys and I hope to see it again.

julie young 55 days ago

This show is definitely a must see!! The quality of acting was phenomenal. It takes you on an emotional journey and was very thought provoking. I laughed, I cried. I can’t emphasise enough to go and see this show. It’s certainly left an impact on me. Its 5 stars from me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Marian Jarvinen 55 days ago

What a show! Amazing performances by very talented actors, both individually and as an ensemble. Such a gripping and thought provoking story, really makes you think. Would definitely recommend you go and see it!

Emma 55 days ago

A wonderfully thought provoking show. Great performances from all the cast, they truly brought the characters fully fleshed and not without lightness in an otherwise grim situation. Would definitely recommend.

Andrew Brown 55 days ago

To start off what a fantastic show!!

Went to this not fully knowing what to expect, delighted to say is blew away all expectations, a fantastically written story about conscripts and their trials and tribulations through their training. Plenty lighthearted moments and plenty slower more thought provoking scenes, fantastic performances from all the cast showing off a wide range of personalities and how they interact with each other.

In conclusion this is what the fringe is all about discovering new talent you would not usually see, if you are to see atlesst one show during the fringe. Respectfully, MAKE IT THIS ONE

Cameron Rutherford 55 days ago

Definitely a must see. Fantastic acting by some very talented actors. 10/10 loved val, zen and kost.

Reece Cavanagh 55 days ago


Moving and gripping production that is a must watch for any Edinburgh Fringe gowers. A battalion, lead by actor, ‘Colin McGowan’, tells short memoirs to the characters individual experiences of the down and outs and tragedy’s facing them through signing up to the army and the reality of friendship, companionship and loyalty.

This emotionally gripping piece, moves with contrasting, whitty scenes that are lead by Sam Fraser and his fellow actors, in the commitment and common ground they all share whilst training before battle. They’re own characters share individual tales of life in a balance of comedy and sorrow.

Well done!

Amy 57 days ago

Would highly recommend seeing The Grandfathers at this years Fringe. Gripping, heartfelt and thought provoking. I was blown away by the cast, such strong performances from everyone. A fantastic script and a beautiful interpretation of the material. Will leave you with a lot to think about so would recommend seeing it if you get the chance!

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All Edinburgh Theatre (4/5 stars) 38 days ago

This is a deeply moving production, which raises many questions about the morality of war, whilst still delivering an entertaining piece of theatre.

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North West End UK (4/5 stars) 42 days ago

A truly emotion packed performance that will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you quiver in your seat, but it will also leave you wanting more.

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