Optimistic: Elizabeth Holmes

Theatre (verbatim, solo show)

  • ZOO Southside - Studio
  • 18:55
  • Aug 27
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)
  • Country: Canada
  • Group: Sarah Deller
  • Warnings and additional info: Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes, Scenes of a sexual nature, Scenes of sexual violence, More information
  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    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


Elizabeth Holmes claims her biotechnology will revolutionise medicine – and people believe her. A single drop of blood, she claims, can be used for up to 800 blood tests. As she defrauds investors of hundreds of millions of dollars and uses her disastrous technology to test real patients, does she think she's doing anything wrong? This devised verbatim play, based on interviews, newly released trial exhibits, text messages, and Holmes's personal notes, asks questions about the gap between appearance and reality as it delves into the mind of the fraudster once considered guaranteed to change the world.

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Level access via rear entrance, 10 steps from street if not taking accessibility entrance.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access

  • Stairs: 6 - 10
    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

Andrew 87 days ago

A very talented actor, putting on a great show - audience engaged throughout as she tells a most interesting story.

Iona McCormick 92 days ago

A slightly odd but captivating performance. There is no doubt that the actor is incredibly talented- to flawlessly memorise a whole hours worth of word for word quotes and act them out was fascinating. Quite a small audience which was a shame as I truly believe the actor was worth a full house. We came to Edinburgh for a different show which ended up being dreadful and booked this last minute as a filler- well, thank goodness we did as it made the Edinburgh trip entirely worth it. Well done! And hope to see you at another Fringe performance next year

Stef Anderson 93 days ago

Sarah’s embodiment of Holmes is phenomenal, the display of her spiral and interpretation of messages is mind boggling. Would see again.

David 94 days ago

A very strong performance from a very talented actor. This was probably the best Fringe play I saw. A gripping and intense play that kept my full attention throughout. Well done Sarah Deller!

H 95 days ago

Wow, what a great performance! Definitely a must see of this year's fringe. The 1-hour long performance captured what seemed impossible- the story, the emotion and the tragedy of the whole Theranos saga.

Bev Kippenhan 98 days ago

One of my favorites this year! I was fascinated with the Elizabeth Holmes case and I knew I had to see this when I read that her story was being told in verbatim theatre style. Deller’s phenomenal vocal technique and attention to Holmes’ mannerisms puts you in the room with Elizabeth Holmes. An absolutely stunning (and at times unsettling, in the best way) performance. Looking forward to the work Sarah Deller does in the future!

Stuart Arnott 98 days ago

If you've no idea who Elizabeth Holmes is, or even if you've seen all of the films and documentaries about the Theranos fraud, this is a powerful piece of theatre that you'll enjoy. Sarah's performance as Holmes is quite mesmerising, the spot-on vocal impression alone will make you gasp. The toxic relationship with Holmes's partner Sunny Balwani is explored, and in those moments Dellar's performance does make you feel some sympathy for her.
Clearly a ton of research has been done, and even if there may have been a tad too much verbatim reading off the screen for me, the right material was unearthed to give you an insight into the mind of the jailed ex-CEO and how she managed to cast a spell on their investors.

Geoff Dover 98 days ago

Fantastic, intense performance. A compelling story, incredibly acted with a nuanced performance covering a complex topic. The hour went by in a flash. Educational and engaging.

Alice Bailey 98 days ago

Absolutely incredible show by Sarah who didn't miss a beat throughout and we were totally hooked by her performance of Elizabeth Holmes. The hours and hours of research were evident and Sarah steered you through the story and the different characters really nimbly. A must see at the Fringe!

Vroni Holzmann 99 days ago

This show was fantastic! What a story, and presented with such energy. Can totally recommend : )

Ruth 100 days ago

I hadn't appreciated how funny the Elizabeth Holmes story was until seeing this show. Would love it to be a longer show. Don't miss.

Douglas Moody 100 days ago

How do you go from being hailed as the next Steve Jobs to being federal prisoner number 24965-111? This brilliant one-woman show cracks the code of the notorious Theranos fraudster. Brilliant high octane performance. Sarah Deller almost sells the grift even though we know what’s coming. A MUST SEE!

Niamh 103 days ago

Fast paced hour of brilliant theatre telling the story of Elizabeth Holmes using her own damning words. Deller has the bizarre accent to a T and delivers a perfect blend of the comically confident 'public eye' Holmes while also capturing the behind the scenes intimate inner workings of her mind and motivations. A Fringe must see!

maura 105 days ago

A brilliant production and performance of an extraordinary story. Fast paced and engaging. Don’t miss it!

Michael Harley 107 days ago

Live the emotions, mind and delusions of Elizabeth Holmes. Immersive and detailed. A real tour de force.

Iain 107 days ago

Strap yourself in ...
A fantastic one women tour de force, capturing the visuals, vocals, drama and extremes of a driven entrepreneur.
A great show.... go see it.

Hilary Roberts 109 days ago

A proper Fringe show! A thrilling story and loved the production.

Nicola 110 days ago

Such an incredible character study of Elizabeth Holmes, delivered with intensity and range and insight by Sarah Deller. I didn’t know anything about Holmes’ story and loved the way the text was compiled and delivered alongside the minimal but effective set. Highly recommend!

Jamie Scott 113 days ago

Absolutely fantastic. If you’ve read “Bad Blood”, watched “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” or have a general fascination with Elizabeth Holmes (who doesn’t?!) then you’ll love this retelling of the Theranos scandal.

Charlotte Hurdman 114 days ago

If you love verbatim go see this show! If you hate verbatim this show will change your mind.
If you love a one person show go see this show. If you hate a one person show this performance will change your mind.
This show is fast paced, it keeps you engaged and fascinated by Elizabeth Holmes' story.
The acting from Deller is stellar and is an absolute must see! Don't miss this show!

Jo 115 days ago

An engaging solo performance that examines a high-profile case from a fresh, original perspective. Sarah Deller does an astounding job of representing Elizabeth Holmes’ highs, lows, and frenzies as reality comes creeping in and her world begins to spiral. Highly recommend!

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Theatre Travels 92 days ago

Deller engages the audience throughout

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The Lancet 100 days ago

A fascinating premise, leaving members of the audience feeling as if they are gaining an insight into Holmes’ thoughts.

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Theatre Weekly (3/5 stars) 105 days ago

Sarah Deller’s unwavering dedication shines through, turning Optimistic: Elizabeth Holmes into a memorable theatrical experience.

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Plays International & Europe (4/5 stars) 107 days ago

I can’t think of a better motivation for creating art.

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The Nerd Party (5/5 stars) 108 days ago

Deller's show is a tribute to her incredible research and performance and will leave you with one of the greatest final lines you will hear at any fringe show this year.

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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.

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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.