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The Edinburgh Fringe: Ten To See

| Comedy, Festivals | 17/08/2018


With just over one week left of the world’s greatest arts festival, Ian Cater lists his top ten comedy shows to see if you’re lucky enough to be north of the border before the Edinburgh Fringe comes to a close on 27th August.  And if you can’t make it up there, continue to follow What’s On London on Facebook and Twitter for news of when these fantastic shows are heading here. 

gs_gary_starr_micf18Garry Starr Performs Everything (right).  Occasionally a show has people almost soiling themselves with laughter from start to finish and this spoof whirlwind theatre lesson is one such daft, chaotic and immensely talented production.  Damien Warren-Smith’s actor-who-knows-best rattles through every theatrical form in various states of undress in a manner that’s equal parts hilarious and unpredictable.  Every day from 20.10 at Underbelly Cowgate, with an extra show at 22.50 on 21st August (tickets here).

Nish Kumar: It’s In Your Nature To Destroy Yourselves.  Although still billed as a work-in-progress, this show is everything satirical stand-up should be: frustrated, wide-ranging and analytical – while cramming in an implausibly high number of laughs.  Continuing to build on his impressive stint as anchor of The Mash Report, Kumar even accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of saying something funny and new about Brexit, Trump and Theresa May.  It’ll be intimidatingly good when totally tour-ready.  Every day from 16.30 at Monkey Barrel (tickets here).

methode-sundaytimes-prod-web-bin-dee6ee5a-9aee-11e8-89e6-46fcaabd1aeaKiri Pritchard-McLean: Victim, Complex (left).  An engaging performer in pretty much any format, Pritchard-McLean’s latest show gets personal as she delves into the sensitive subject of gaslighting after reflecting on a recent breakup.  Despite the emotions introspection inevitably stirs up, she manages to inject high levels of humour throughout, proving there are few subject matters Pritchard-McLean cannot master.  Every day from 20.00 at Pleasance Courtyard, with extra shows at 17.45 on 18th and 24th August (tickets here).

Jordan Brookes: Bleed.  Brookes delivers a hilarious, memorable and typically challenging show looking at his own flaws and insecurities, whilst utilising intelligent aural and visual ‘tricks’ to give credence to his self-proclaimed reputation as “the riskiest comic in the biz”.  An extremely impressive and worthy follow-up to last year’s Body of Work, rightly nominated for the 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Award.  A second successive nomination could be on the cards.  Every day from 20.30 at Pleasance Courtyard, with an extra show at 00.15 on 25th August (tickets here).

UnknownThe Delightful Sausage: Regeneration Game (right).  The best alternative sketch comedy at this year’s Fringe, with a wonderfully daft yet perceptive take on the best and worst of small-town mindsets.  Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill are a superb double act, as adept at bouncing carefully constructed one-liners off each other as they are engaging in surreal Mighty Boosh-esque clowning.  Both – together with relaxed interactions and occasional slip-ups – leave lunchtime audiences in stitches.  Every day from 12.00 at Monkey Barrel (tickets here).

Felicity Ward: Busting A Nut.  The energetic and engaging Ward is a ‘must-see’ right now, proving that overarching narrative themes are not strictly necessary when you’re this funny.  Focusing on recent experiences – holidays, marriage and exchanges with her characterful mother – Ward injects vast amounts of life into every one, always ending with a killer line.  While her previous shows found humour in serious subjects like anxiety and IBS, this is a lighter showcase of her impressive ability to identify absurdity.  Every day from 21.00 at Pleasance Courtyard (tickets here).

TimKeyBW3-even-smaller-940x470Tim Key: Megadate (left).  The poetic genius returns with an evocative show about dating and disappointment.  Few have the stage presence he’s blessed with; even fewer have the audacity to toy with audiences so playfully, careering from arrogant oddball to object of pity in the blink of an eye.  Key’s way with words is joyous, as is his ability to retain the high ground despite airing so many imperfections.  Every day from 23.15 at Pleasance Courtyard, except for 21st and 22nd August (tickets here).

Owen Roberts: I Let A Six-Year-Old Write My Show.  Previously best-known as a sketch comedian with the magnificent Beasts, this excellently executed show establishes Roberts as a witty and captivating stand-up in his own right.  Relayed through audio clips and – initially at least – cynical attempts to perform his partner’s daughter’s surreal script, the show becomes a wonderful insight into the filter-free creativity of kids and a heart-warming testament to Roberts’ paternal love for Isabella.  Every day from 16.45 at Pleasance Courtyard (tickets here).

Dr-ProfNeal Portenza’s Final Edinburgh Show (right).  Josh Ladgrove constantly plays with expectations throughout this chaotic, interactive and deceptively skilful magic show.  Laughs dry up when the softly-spoken Australian halts the performance to express his disillusionment with show business, but it speaks volumes for his talent and connection with the audience that he easily revives the mood.  If this truly is Ladgrove’s last Edinburgh run, he’ll be sorely missed.  Every day from 22.40 at Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus (tickets here).

Sam Campbell: The Trough.  It’s easy to see how Campbell won top prize at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, with his fresh-faced anarchy providing succour to crowds just looking to laugh.  Focus inevitably falls on his erratic delivery style, but a huge amount of effort goes into interrupting his own flow and creating unforeseen tension.  Although he compares himself unfavourably to Hannah Gadsby, expect to hear a lot more from this talented young comic.  Every day from 00.15 at Monkey Barrel, with extra shows on 19th, 23rd and 26th August from 15.30 at Pleasance Courtyard (tickets here).

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