On a rainy, cold night in Edinburgh, it's like a slice of a Kiwi summer has come to the Traverse theatre as Daffodils star Todd Emerson launches into a raucous version of Th' Dudes' Bliss.

One of several New Zealand shows at this year's Edinburgh Fringe, the Scotsman newspaper praised the so-called A Play With Songs for packing "a serious emotional punch, wrapped in a bubblegum glove".

Little seems to have been lost in translation with Scottish audiences responding positively to main characters Eric (Emerson) and Rose's (Colleen Davis) poignant journey from youthful marriage to marital disharmony.

"It's very interesting when you bring something that's so culturally specific to where you come from to a different country," says Emerson when I meet him, Davis and playwright Rochelle Bright. "But the beautiful thing about the show is that audiences react in the same way no matter where they're from, as they laugh at the same jokes and cry at the same moments."


From the Swingers' Counting the Beat to Ray Columbus's She's a Mod, the locals have also enthusiastically embraced the numerous classic Kiwi anthems, interspersed throughout the show, even though many of them were not hits outside of Australasia.

"It helps if you know the songs, as you get a little bit extra," says Emerson. "But we've talked to audience members over here, and they've said they felt like they knew the songs anyway, as they felt like they fitted with the time period."

Having performed Daffodils at the Salisbury International Arts Festival earlier this year, Bright resisted changing any of the play's numerous New Zealand references.

"We were determined to keep it Kiwi, because even if people don't understand what ... a bach is, or what togs are, they will soon get it."

In contrast, Tim Carlsen has altered many of the place names in One Day Moko - his one-man show about incorrigible "urban cowboy" Moko - to known Edinburgh streets and parks.

"It highlights there is a Moko in every city," Carlsen says. "It reflects the fact that there is homelessness in most developed cities."

Taking Moko's catchphrase of "any requests?" to heart, Carlsen busks outside his venue, the Gilded Balloon, before each performance.

"It gives people a taste of at least the music that's in the show," he says. "It also allows us to connect with local social service organisations as well, as whatever profits we raise through that, we're giving back to them."

Apart from her distinctive Kiwi sense of humour, there's nothing intrinsically New Zealand about Julia Croft's If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming. It uses physical theatre and video clips to explore how Hollywood movies and the highly sexualised songs of pop artists like Rihanna help to create unrealistic impressions of the female body.

"New Zealanders are really good at using humour as a political weapon," says Croft. "It helps to disarm [in] certain situations, because we can't be deadly serious all the time. Even I wouldn't want to go see a feminist show where someone is just bemoaning the state of the world, as it needs to be light ... for you to listen to it."

Edinburgh's only full-time comedy venue, The Stand, is the ideal base for James Nokise's So So Gangsta, a scathing and hilarious exploration of New Zealand gang culture.

"I've always dreamed of bringing a show here, as it's one of the biggest clubs in the world, and is basically the home of political comedy during the Fringe," says Nokise, who is also appearing in Poetry Can F*ck Off at The Stand and Puppet Fiction at The News Room.

"I feel like [a Romanian rugby player] who has accidentally started playing with the All Blacks."

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

• The Edinburgh Festival Fringe attracts around 3000 shows each year performed in some 300 venues.

• Other Kiwi acts at this year's festival include Thom Monckton, Trick of the Light Theatre and Showpony while visual sound artist Olivia Webb is in the Edinburgh Art Festival and writers David Coventry and Tusiata Avia appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.