Healing King Herod

Comedy (clown, drag)

  • Underbelly, Cowgate - Iron Belly
  • 21:40
  • Aug 27
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Riss Obolensky and Eloïse Poulton
  • Warnings and additional info: Audience participation, Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes, Nudity, Strobe lighting, Strong language/swearing, More information
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


King Herod, famed for his Massacre of the Innocents, now leads a self-development pyramid scheme. Ancient soldiers become modern clients in an interactive, drag-clown therapy session. Through improvised songs, political parody and cult-like rituals, Herod asks one thing: forgive... yourself. VAULT Festival sell-out show, nominated for Show of the Week, Herod returns to heal Edinburgh. But who is his process really for? Created by Comedy Central-endorsed clown Riss Obolensky and director Eloïse Poulton. 'Funny, memorable, bold' ****½ (TheReviewsHub.com). 'Side-splitting laughs' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Raging lesbian' ***** (DIVA Magazine). 'Brilliantly weird' **** (FringeBiscuit.co.uk). 'Best thing I've ever seen' (LostCabaret.com).

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: There are 50 steps into this venue from the cowgate entrance.
  • 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.

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

Stan Austin 33 days ago

This was hands down the funniest, most creative comedy show we have seen at the festival. Pure genius! Go see it while you can - you’ll never see anything else like it.

Karen Wang 34 days ago

King Herod is like an onion. Or an ogre, as Shrek would say. It has layers.

At its most fun, the physical comedy itself is deliciously jammy. The energy Riss gives off as King Herod engages the audience is contagious, evidenced by the nearly nonstop laughter throughout the performance, er, therapy session. Therapy can be hard work as the spectrum of feelings presents itself. Riss’s theater performance had me right there in the seat with King Herod as he rode the roller coaster of emotions during his transformation. Something I noticed Riss did was to watch for implied consent of an audience member before carrying on directly with that person. This is important to me since I’m more of an observer than a participant type, and seeing that my boundaries would be respected allowed me to enjoy the show without anxiety of being singled out.

The next layer, the clever comedy, kept my mind entertained with King Herod’s turn of phrase and quick wit. My cheeks literally hurt after the show from the constant smiling and laughing.

Finally, and the reason King Herod haunts my mind even days after meeting him, is the deeper layer. I find myself pondering some of the valuable seeds that were planted through the hilariously not so subtle series of thoughtful tools placed into my physiological toolbox. Hint: watch for King Herod’s parallel index finger move —to signify the important concept of “distinction with a difference” when a nuanced topic is treated. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the show. I think the show has potential to be misunderstood if someone doesn’t recognize sarcasm or irony or dark humor but if the audience actually takes time to THINK really think about the content, then it could truly be the catalyst for positive change. To me, that is what makes this more than merely entertaining.

With so many shows to choose from especially during Fringe, we lucked out choosing King Herod. I highly recommend the show.

Miranda Woods 37 days ago

Brilliantly and hilariously weird!

We had heard a lot about this show and it did not disappoint! Had us laughing from start to finish. What a great way to end my fringe this year.

Warning: not for the boring or faint hearted!!

Ana 38 days ago

This is an amazing performer with a really bad show. The clown elements are very engaging but the premise is awful. An hour mocking therapy, forgiveness and intergenerational trauma? Great! The butt of all excellent jokes. It’s like someone gave the characters you created in secondary school a show at Edinburgh fringe, so you also created some really generic video content and a slide show to pad it out. What a waste of a great performer.

Patti Davis 39 days ago

Where are all the reviews for Riss? We met Riss and Eloise at a coffee shop hours before her show and bought tickets on the spot. Outrageous, courageous, spontaneous. The crowd went wild for this show. While some might consider it controversial, we thought it was incredibly creative. Big props for putting it all out there. We will not forget this show. GO SEE IT.

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