It’s that time of year where I have spent several days scouring through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival catalogue, looking at what shows are playing this year and whittling down my list of shows I want to see whilst I am up there for one week 5-12 August 2016.
I thought I would share with you my top 25 shows that I am hoping to check out whilst I am there (note, I have not included any shows that start playing after I head back to London).
Scott Agnew: Ive Snapped My Banjo String Let’s Just Talk
Agnew returns with his sequel to 2012’s Tales of The Sauna, moving out the steam room into the living room. The consequences of gay sex going Abigail’s Party. Hailed as a master storyteller, his 2016 offering is a snapshot of hardcore, working-class gay life touching on mental health, sexual health and general misadventure. The former Scottish Comedian of the Year’s language and imagery is bold and brash – the stories deeply personal. ‘Electrifying’ (Guardian). ‘Unmissable’ (Chortle.co.uk).
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House (Venue 170) 10pm 3-29 August 2016
Sooz Kempner – Queen
Queen has been the soundtrack to Funny Women Variety Award winner Sooz Kempner’s entire life. With music that epic and triumphant scoring her every move, how does she consistently end up as one of life’s losers? The music of Queen combines with original comedy songs and tragically hopeful stand-up. ‘Fantastically funny… this is a woman who belongs on the stage’ **** (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Just the right amount of absurd, grotesque and alarmingly familiar’ **** (FunnyWomen.com).
Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302) 12.10pm 3-29 August 2016
2 Become 1
Comedy pop musical following four 90s girls embarking on a wild night of speed dating, meeting Mr Wrongs and Mr Rights along the way. A hilarious non-stop journey through infectious pop anthems and ballads. After her recent break-up Jess is left crying into her Haagen-Dazs, and what better way to unbreak her heart than to meet a man a minute? Relive that 90s love with all your favourite classics from Shania Twain to All Saints and witness speed dating before the takeover of Tinder.
Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61) 4pm 4-28 August 2016
Piff The Magic Dragon
With over 40 million online hits to his name, Piff has performed to hundreds of thousands of people in preposterous venues such as Radio City Music Hall, London’s O2 arena and Sydney Opera House. His sidekick Mr Piffles, the world’s first magic performing Chihuahua, has been levitated, laminated, shackled in a straitjacket and shot out of a cannon all in the name of entertainment. Just one thing: they don’t do children’s parties.
Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8) 8.30pm 3-13 August 2016
Katie Brennan Quarter Life Crisis
Are you crippled by student debt? Working an unpaid internship? Trying to find prince charming on Tinder? Welcome to the life of a modern day twenty-something! Join Katie for a new show packed with music, comedy and cabaret all about living that quarter-life crisis life. From Facebook to flat-shares, weddings to woeful bank accounts, career conundrums to chronically crap sex, come and raise a big glass of gin to all those twenty-somethings struggling to find their place in the world!
Underbelly, George Square (Venue 300) 10.50pm 3-29 August 2016
Doors To Manual
In the economy class of Rhiannon’s plane, you’ll find a host of funny, quirky and honest characters, inspired by her love/hate relationship with flying. Come and meet the characters, find out about the more mirth-inducing aspects of aviation, and learn how knowledge can ultimately triumph over fear. Rhiannon is a highly praised comic performer who has trained in London and the US.
Just the Tonic at The Mash House (Venue 288) 1pm 4-28 August 2016
Sooz Kempner – A Bit Of A Character
Following 2015’s Character Activist, Funny Women Variety Award winner Sooz Kempner is back with four more characters/figments of her imagination for you to meet. She is really showing that she can do different accents, wear wigs and even write and perform songs in this multi-character extravaganza. Legal disclaimer: the character Malcolm Dempster is not based on any person, living or dead. Certainly not her estranged father. ‘Fantastically funny’ **** (Chortle.co.uk).
Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88) 4pm 4-28 August 2016
Michelle McMannus: Pop Goes The Idol
Back by popular demand, presenter and singer Michelle’s brand new show, co-written with Bruce Devlin, tells the next instalment in the Glasgow based life of a glittering global megastar. From treading the SECC boards with The Hoff, opening Lidl in Rutherglen, to that one man who clapped her rendition of My Way in a Sauchiehall Street karaoke bar, Michelle has seen and done it all. A hilarious evening with music you simply won’t want to miss. ‘A very, very good comedian…. the new queen of the one woman show’ (Daily Record). @LadyM_McManus
Stand in the Square (Venue 372) 8.20pm 4-28 August 2016
Frank Sanazi’s Das Vegas Four: Zis Time It’s War
After another successful European tour, Frank Sanazi’s comedy-cabaret war machine rolls into Edinburgh, accompanied by his psychopathic daughter Nancy Sanazi, Saddami Davis Jnr, Dean Stalin and recent dictator Putin A. Bootin, as well as other outrageous acts. Frank offers a Vegas-style evening on his terms. Audiences will be spellbound as he swings such classics as Third Reich and Mein Way. Expect a night to remember. Not for the faint-hearted, but resistance is futile. ‘Brilliantly stupid, fantastically wrong and ridiculously funny’ (Scotsman). ‘Comedy gold’ (Evening Standard).
The Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68) 10.30pm 5-27 August 2016
Can’t Adult, Won’t Adult
Come and join adulthood denier James Farmer (writer for Have I Got News for You, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks) for his debut solo hour. There will be jokes, stories and possibly biscuits. Disclaimer: biscuits subject to availability. Tour support for Jimmy Carr and Patrick Kielty. ‘Sharp and Witty’ (BroadwayBaby.com).
Bannermans (Venue 357) 12.30pm 6-28 August 2016
Adam Kay – Fingering A Minor On The Piano
Amateur Transplants frontman, prolific sitcom writer and former doctor Adam Kay returns to the Fringe with his smutty songs. In the key of A minor. ‘Great, guilty fun’ **** (Telegraph). www.amateurtransplants.com
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 6.40pm 3-29 August 2016
Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows
Ding-dong the witch is back! Multi award-winning Fringe sensation Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho presents the most fabulous game show of all. Fresh from total sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs in 2014 and 2015, the Iron Lady has now set her sights on light entertainment. Join Maggie as she makes audience members compete for their golden giro cheque. There’ll be songs, games and of course… catchphrases! ‘So much fun Theresa May will probably outlaw it’ (Chortle.co.uk). ***** (Attitude.co.uk).
Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3) 9pm 4-28 August 2016
The Naked Magicians
‘It’s R-rated magic at its stunning best’ (TheGlobalGoddess.com). Following sold out shows and rave reviews in Australia, Asia, USA, Canada and New Zealand, the world’s funniest and naughtiest magic show The Naked Magicians is coming to Edinburgh! ‘They are hot, mind-blowing and seriously hilarious. Five stars!’ (Radio B105 FM, Brisbane). This boisterous R-rated magic show strips away the top hats and capes, promising full frontal illusions. Good magicians don’t need sleeves and great magicians don’t need pants. This show proves just that. ‘The most entertaining show of the year’ (AussieTheatre.com.au).
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 10.30pm 8-29 August 2016
A brutal comedy about a hard-ass woman out for world domination in the form of a supermarket promotion. Group leader Tracy spearheads her sales team who aid and abet her in the lifelong quest for perfection on the shop floor. Tracy’s done with middle management. Screw the price drops. Bollocks to the targets. Her faithful sidekicks help her to climb the supermarket ladder while Tracy’s arch-enemy Lucy sticks her trolley in. Everyone thinks Lucy should do one. Finding incisive hilarity in the crushing boredom of bureaucratic life, Tracy is the office comedy for the millennial generation. Supermarkets are brutal.
Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302) 1.45pm 3-29 August 2016
After sold out seasons down under, Australia’s premier improv troupe finally brings its riotous comedy to the audiences of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! The MC gets a title, and seconds later a never-before-seen musical begins. The only thing you know is that it will be full of highjinks, harmonies and hilarity. It’s unrehearsed. It’s unpredictable. It’s a whole lot of fun. It’s Impromptunes. ‘An unadulterated concoction of excitement, danger and hilarity’ **** (Time Out). ‘The ultimate in slick improvisation’ **** (West Australian). ‘Improv gold. You’ll leave with sore cheeks from laughing’ **** (Herald Sun).
Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302) 5pm 3-29 August 2016
Jess Robinson: Impressive
Vocal gymnast and impressionist Jess Robinson is back – this year with her incredible live band! Prepare to be blown away by Edinburgh’s 2015 triple award-winning star of ITV’s Newzoids and Rory Bremner as she dazzles with showstopping singing, comedy and irreverent celebrity impressions (quite possibly while tap-dancing, playing the drums and doing the splits with her legs behind her head at the same time). Impressive! Amused Moose People’s Champion Award, Spirit of the Fringe Award. ‘Remarkable’ **** (Telegraph). ‘A star is born’ **** (Metro). ‘Magnificent’ **** (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Stunning’ ***** (Edinburgh Evening News).
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 8.30pm 3-28 August 2016
After dazzling sell-out runs all over the globe, Briefs returns to Edinburgh. Your glamorous host Shivannah guides you through a jaw-dropping, eye-popping evening of extravagant birdbath boylesque, too close for comfort yo-yo tricks, valiant aerial acrobatics, irreverent interludes and show-stopping drag artistes. Now they’re back with more circus skills, more disorder and more burlesque… with balls! ‘Masters of the art of boylesque… freakish, funny and beautiful’ ***** (Scotsman). ‘Pure skill wrapped in comedy’ ***** (Daily Telegraph). ‘No one else does enormous, gloriously perverted fun quite like this’ ***** (Time Out). ‘Hot as hell entertainment’ **** (Herald).
Assembly Hall (Venue 35) 10.30pm 4-21 August 2016
Panti: High Heels In Low Places
The Queen of Ireland Panti invites you into her gender-discombobulating, stiletto shaped world, exposing stories behind the make-up – from performance giant to accidental activist – to reveal the national f*cking treasure she is today. In 2014, Panti landed herself in a legal shitstorm, dubbed Pantigate. Her speech about homophobia went viral, was broadcast worldwide, remixed by Pet Shop Boys, caused a parliamentary meltdown and fed into Ireland’s marriage equality referendum success. Hilarious and poignant, Panti traces her journey from small-town boy kicking against traditions to towering plastique woman in false lashes making history.
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) Various times 8-14 August 2016
The Diary of Anne Frank
A dynamic young cast bring Anne Frank’s diary to dramatic life in Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of this deeply moving play. Hiding in a tiny flat, a group of eight people desperately try to evade detection during World War Two. Stories such as this must never be forgotten. A new generation experiences the tale of a family’s struggle in war-torn Europe. Following hit productions of Blood Brothers, The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, Breaking Voices and others, Lambrook Theatre returns to the Fringe for their third exhilarating year.
Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152) 5pm 7-12 August
A show about being circumcised at 27. Exploring sex, sexuality and gender, to try and understand why men don’t talk openly about their bodies. As seen on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. As featured in the Guardian, the Independent and Cosmopolitan. **** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (ThreeWeeks).
Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire (Venue 338) 9.15pm 4-28 August 2016
Love Me Tinder Cabaret
Join Megan as she dreams of romance like in the movies, but resorts to online dating and shares her experiences through music and comedy. Whether you are a novice or an expert, Megan guides you through the rules and pitfalls of online dating. Fast-paced comedy with live music and an eclectic mix of familiar songs help to tell the tale.
SpaceTriplex (Venue 38) 11.20pm 5-27 August 2016
The Harry Potter parody show that celebrates and highlights the absurdities of those magical movies. Join us, four full grown men pretending to be twelve-year-old children as we re-enact and re-create scenes from the first Potter film.
Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire (Venue 338) 1pm 4-28 August 2016
Luke Kempner: Judi Dench Broke My Heart
Impressionist and star of The Only Way Is Downton, Luke Kempner, can’t wait to marry Judi Dench. But has Britain’s most celebrated thespian only been acting like she’s in love? Will they be getting a honeymoon room with a view or is Luke’s sky about to fall? Our hero is joined by a stellar cast of celebrities on a quest in the name of love. As seen on Murder in Successville (BBC Three), Luke Kempner’s Impression of 2015 (ITV2) and Drunk History (Comedy Central). ‘A remarkable tour-de-force’ **** (Telegraph). ‘Gloriously funny’ **** (Independent).
Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) 7pm 3-28 August 2016
Myra Dubois: Self Admyra
Fresh from her appearance on BBC One’s The John Bishop Show, Rotherham’s least celebrated daughter hits the Fringe. Expect acid-tongued conversation, razor sharp observation, songs and maybe even dance (if her hip’s up to it) in this unapologetic hour of self-adoration. Join Myra as she shows you, her faithful adMyras, that she’s really no different from you at all. As she would say: ‘I love me too’. ‘Acid tongued and funny to the bone’ (Time Out). ‘A viciously funny attack on decency’ (Skinny). ‘Hilarious’ (Three Weeks).
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) 9.15pm 3-28 August 2016
Briefs Factory Presents Sweatshop
Briefs Factory present the world premiere of new late-night extravaganza, Sweatshop. Grab yourself a knock off drink and clock into the Sweatshop. Experience the production line of cabaret, circus and party tricks manufactured in difficult and dangerous working conditions before your eyes, featuring the Briefs Factory workers. This is a sweaty, uncompromising performance, brought to you by the team that brought you Briefs and Hot Brown Honey. Violate your senses. Dance it out.
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (Venue 360) 11pm 4-22 August 2016
Check out the full list of shows that are performing at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival at https://tickets.edfringe.com