Since the Fringe guide is packed full of shows, especially in the comedy section, here are a few of our recommendations of what to see...
Matt Green - Alive. (Pleasance Dome, 20:10)
I've seen Matt every year for the last four or five years and he never disappoints. This year he is discussing the things that haven't killed him, which makes for a very entertaining hour. He's endearing, intelligent and personable, and very very funny. His off the cuff banter with the audience is always superb too - on the night I was in he got lots of laughs through his chat with an audience member who really didn't get him much to work with. Always a definite must-see.
Nat Luurtsema - Here She Be (The Counting House, 14:45)
1/3 of the popular sketch group Jigsaw, Nat is sharp and witty, and an excellent storyteller. This year her show is based around her split with her ex - in a very funny way. If you've read her novel Cuckoo in the Nest, you'll already have her on your to-see list; if not, make a point of seeing this unique stand up who is destined to be huge. And she's part of the Free Fringe, bargain!
Gordon Southern - The Kerfuffle
(Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17:45)
Random, sometimes musical, always on the ball, Gordon Southern does his best material when interacting with his audience. Also an established compere, he joyfully leaps on heckles and responds with razor-sharp wit. Well worth seeing.
Showstoppers: The Musical
(Gilded Balloon Teviot, 22:30)
The ‘Showstoppers’ return for their sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe and they never fail to deliver the finest evening of completely improvised comedy. Every night they’ll create an entirely new and unique musical based purely on audience suggestions. Watch in astonishment as the cast create stories set to music that will have your sides splitting. You’ll be applauding and wondering how on earth they do it! A musical based on the mystery of crop circles, a conspiracy in the house of scientology, a welsh heroine who hunts dragons singing songs in the style of David Bowie…you name it, they’ll create a musical out of it! It’s one of the most impressive shows at the Fringe, year on year.
(Assembly George Square, 12:00)
A show unlike any other. You get all the singing, dancing and fun you’d expect from a musical…but it’s got the added appeal of some straight-talking puppets! Follow recent English graduate, Princeton, as he searches for his purpose in life and meets some colourful characters on the way. Definitely not suitable for children! Avenue Q is guaranteed to have you laughing helplessly and humming Tony Award-winning and often inappropriate songs all the way home.
The Noise Next Door - Soundhouse
(Pleasance Dome, 19:00)
This group of 5 highly skilled improvisers will make a show based completely on suggestions made by their audience – no two performances are ever the same. With songs, dance routines and lightning fast thinking, these guys will have you rolling in the aisles and wanting to go back again. This is improv at it’s best!
(Gilded Balloon Teviot, 20:15)
Best known in the UK for her role as Aunt Hilda in ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’, Caroline Rhea’s passion has always been for stand-up and she does it incredibly well. In this show, she talks about her time on ‘Sabrina’, motherhood, and lightly pokes fun at her Scottish hosts. She’s a natural comic, full of energy and knows how to engage her audience. Possibly the funniest comedienne I’ve seen!
The Boy With Tape On His Face - More Tape
(Pleasance Courtyard, 21:40)
He was one of the most talked about acts at the Fringe last year and having seen this year’s show it’s easy to understand why. Taking everyday objects and using them in ways you’ll never have seen before, the Boy With Tape On His Face uses members of his audience to create an hour of entertainment you won’t forget. The music he’s selected for each section of the show couldn’t be more fitting and is used creatively. Hugely funny and very inventive, you really shouldn’t miss it.
Cambridge Footlights - Canada
(Pleasance Dome, 17:20)
The Footlights sell out every year not only because they’re so renowned, but they’re also incredibly talented. This year they celebrate their 130th anniversary and their show is packed full of sketches that are sharp, inventive and sometimes just downright odd! Join Cambridge’s finest writers and performers for an hour of laughs and silliness.
Janey Godley - Ungagged
(Gilded Balloon Teviot, 18:45)
One of Scotland's best-loved comedians, Janey Godley is a woman who speaks her mind. Her show this year is thought-provoking - she's not one for meaningless waffle. A thoroughly enjoyable show, Janey discusses how she refuses to be silent about issues that really matter, whilst reducing the audience to tears of laughter. Supported by her brilliantly talented daughter Ashley Storrie, if you're a fan of warm, funny comedy (and don't mind the occasional swear word), then go and see the only mother/daughter show at the Fringe.
Julie Madly Deeply
(Gilded Balloon Teviot, 14:55)
This show is wonderful whether you’re a huge fan of Julie Andrews or just enjoy watching ‘The Sound of Music’ at Christmas. What this performer doesn’t know about Julie probably isn’t worth knowing! It’s a show that’s been lovingly and thoughtfully put together, accompanied by beautiful piano playing. Funny, clever and at times very poignant, this is a show that delves into the history of one of the most recognisable voices of all time. There’s even scope to sing along to some of your favourite musicals if you’re feeling brave enough!
THE AMAZING BUBBLE MAN (KIDS SHOW))
The Assembly Rooms Until the 25 August at 11:05
Louis Pearl is the Amazing Bubble Man and he is just that. A show that sells out every year speaks for itself. He even has a Blue Peter badge from their visit! Expect big bubbles, square bubbles, people inside bubbles, flying bubbles, sticking bubbles. Prepared to be impressed whether adult and child and learn the science behind it all. My niece (10) and nephew (5) loved the show giving 5 out of 5 for the show ( niece ) and 129 out of 5 (nephew )
THE ADVENTURES OF CAROLINE AND MR CLOWN (KIDS SHOW)
Gilded Balloon Teviot Until 22 August at 11:30
Think interactive Sesame Street. Caroline Rhea (better known as Aunt Hilda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch ), and Mr Clown teach spelling and language skills to the young audience via stage performance, interaction and video segments. The kids all loved naming the animals. My 5 year old nephew loved the video with the egg and Mr Clown as well as telling a joke on stage. My niece ( 10) loved to see her idol and was given her moment to shine speaking out the alphabet. Caroline focuses with warmth on the children drawing them out of their shell. It was a shame that the alphabet song in the video has an American ‘Zee’ and one of the words taught is ‘flashlight’. Other wise, nice, warm interactive show that young children will enjoy. And fans of Sabrina will love.
Jigsaw - Jiggle It
(The Pleasance, 16:45)
Sketch at its best. You may have seen them on BBC Three of late, and Jigsaw (who comprise of Dan Antopolski, Nat Luurtsema and Tom Craine) just seem to be going from strength to strength. They have a great dynamic, and you are guaranteed a non-stop hour of clever, funny sketches if you go to see them. Look out for the Nandos sketch - very funny!
David Morgan - Pretty (Udderbelly Bristo Square, 19:00)
David Morgan chats about our perception of ‘prettiness’ on a day-to-day basis. The idea for this show came from two moments in his life that made him question how good-looking he is. He’ll tell you all about those moments and make *you* feel pretty in the process. He’s immediately familiar with his audience and makes you feel like you’re close friends having a chat with a lot of laughs in between. He’s also got the most amazing quiff you’ve ever seen! Full of honesty and feel-good factor, David Morgan will leave you smiling and feeling good about yourself as you head homewards.
Sam Lloyd - Fully Committed (Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17:45)
You might recognise him as nervous lawyer Ted from ‘Scrubs, Sam Lloyd is back at the Fringe this year with his solo show. He plays himself in this piece of theatre all about taking some challenging bookings in a busy, pretentious restaurant in New York. Watch as Sam not only remembers the entire play all on his own, but portrays all 38 characters seamlessly! He makes jumping from character to character look easy when it must be a nigh on impossible task. Funny, entertaining, a bit bonkers and with a little pathos, this show really needs to be seen to be believed. A very clever concept and executed brilliantly.
Solstice (Assembly Roxy, 13:45)
This is hard hitting, edge of your seat theatre with a great script. Set in the remote Highlands with not a soul around, it’s the story of two people with a past who have found themselves in a highly precarious situation. If you enjoy straight theatre and a bit of a thriller that’ll keep you guessing right up to the end then this will be right up your street. Atmospheric, completely engrossing and performed perfectly.
Knightmare:Live (Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17:30)
If you ever watched and loved the cult TV show, Knightmare, you just have to go and see this. It’s been adapted for the stage and is an hour of pure joy and nostalgia. Join Treguard the Dungeon Master and watch as a member of your audience dons the Helmet of Justice in an attempt to defeat Lord Fear’s dungeon. Helped and guided on the journey by two comedians, this is a show that will have you laughing from start to finish. It’s everything you remember from the classic TV show and so much more. There’s even a photo opportunity at the end for you to pose wearing the Helmet of Justice…if that isn’t incentive enough, we don’t know what is!
Chris Martin - Passionate About The Pointless
Chris Martin (not the one from Coldplay) is a fun, exciting young stand up. His show this year isn't about anything in particular, it's just an hour of stand up about what's been happening in his life. In the new, cosy venue of the Bunker, Chris joyfully riffs with the audience, skillfully exploring such would-be mundane topics as baths and dogs, but making them wonderfully funny. An hour of good, classic stand-up from a talent who is on the brink of superstardom. See him now, before he moves into bigger venues.
The Play That Goes Wrong
(Pleasance Courtyard, 17:00)
Direct from the West End, this show will have you laughing from start to finish. Join the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they attempt to bring you a production of a classic whodunnit…and fail miserably. As the title suggests, everything you could possibly imagine (and then some!) goes wrong in this play. Watch as the cast struggle bravely on, pretending everything is as it should be. It’s cleverly written and excellently performed with comedic timing that’ll leave you stunned. It’s been selling out every day so be quick if you want to see this one!
(Pleasance Courtyard, 17:55)
This is a show unlike any other. Using no dialogue at all, four office workers escape the daily grind by, among other things, imagining they’re superheroes, living in a world of hostile aliens and re-enacting scenes from films. This is incredible physical theatre packed with stunts, parkour, energy and will probably render you speechless by the end! It’s been described as ‘Die Hard’ meets ‘The Office’ and is the most accurate description we can give. If you fancy something totally different, this is it!