The Voice Factor [X]

The Voice Factor [X]

The Voice Factor [X] is the playwriting debut of Michael-David McKernan, an hour of sharp satire and musings on the nature of fame for those that are unprepared for it.The tale charts Quincy's rise through a televised singing competition... 

God Has No Country

God Has No Country

Written and performed by Donal Courtney, God Has No Country is the story of Hugh O’Flaherty a priest from Killarney that saved 6,500 lives in Rome during World War 2. This one-man play charts the true story of O'Flaherty through his early years, through his time at the Vatican and some of his latter life back in Ireland... 

The Quare Fellow

The Quare Fellow

Money For The Sun's production of The Quare Fellow is an astounding bit of theatre. Written by Brendan Behan and based on his time spent in prison, the play revolves around the final days of a condemned man in Mountjoy prison... 

The MMORPG Show

The MMORPG Show

The MMORPG show is a good idea but lacks the slick execution required to fully succeed. It isn’t likely to appeal to many outside of its target audience but as they say ‘know your audience’ and this show does... 

Lou Sanders: What's That Lady Doing?

Lou Sanders: What's That Lady Doing?

It is a rare treat to see surrealist comedy this good. Sanders’ genius is to keep the audience off balance, no sooner have they wrapped their heads around one concept another comes flying at them,There’s not much structure or narrative to the show, it moves at breakneck speed and feels like you’ve over indulged in some amphetamines... 

Colin Hay: Get Rid of the Minstrel

Colin Hay: Get Rid of the Minstrel

Most will only know Colin Hay from his time as the frontman for Men at Work and appearing in an episode of Scrubs. For those willing to delve into his back catalogue they will discover a strong songwriter with a sardonic wit... 

Will Seaward: Magnificent Bastard

Will Seaward: Magnificent Bastard

Everyone wants to rule the world but Will Seaward actually has a list of ways to achieve this. With a new scheme every day Seward hopes to achieve world domination with plenty of laughs along the way... 

Knightmare Live: The Game Has Changed

Knightmare Live: The Game Has Changed

For many like me Knightmare was watched with a religious fever back in the 90s. The theme tune still has the power to instil a giddy excitement in many. So, it is with a sense of trepidation and excitement the fans would hold for a live production of the programme... 

John Robertson: Arena Spectacular!

John Robertson: Arena Spectacular!

John Robertson claims that comedy is a sick industry (and he should know). Nothing terrible has happened to him this year, so he wishes to bring a middle of the road arena show to the Fringe to broaden his appeal... 

Abberline's Artefact

Abberline's Artefact

Chief Inspector Abberline is known as the man that failed to catch Jack the Ripper. In what was once his house, retired shopkeeper John Davis finds that the former policeman’s soul cannot rest with the guilt of failing to stop the serial killer... 

Mark Steel's in Toon

Mark Steel's in Toon

This year Mark Steel aims to give a brief overview of the cities and sights of Scotland. It’s effectively like your uncle showing you holiday slides with added jokes and minus the racism... 

Jonny & the Baptists: Eat the Poor

Jonny & the Baptists: Eat the Poor

Johnny and Paddy return with another hour of rip roaring music based satire. This time they’ve come from the future to show us the errors of our ways. Songs and gags are a plenty in this apocryphal tale... 

Princes of Main: Cool

Princes of Main: Cool

Princes of Main return with another sketch show chock-a-block with odd characters, witty one liners and silliness. It’s all tied together on the vague theme of how to be cool and when I say vague I mean almost nonexistent... 

Wasted

Wasted

It's quite a bold group that brings a show about life-failing drug users in post Thatcher Britain to Edinburgh, the home of Trainspotting. When it comes to drugs, black-humoured wit and misanthropic politics hardly anyone does it better than Edinburgh... 

John Robertson: The Dark Room

John Robertson: The Dark Room

“You awaken to find yourself in a dark room”, it’s a phrase shouted many times during The Dark Room. When the hour is up you’ll be shouting it with glee like the rest of the audience, old and new fans alike... 

Shoot the Women First

Shoot the Women First

Shoot the Women First revolves around a mercenary company. Starting from their first assassination it quickly moves to a job in the Middle East which quickly starts to go wrong. The show is full of potential... 

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

Too often, successful American comedians make their way to the UK assuming that audiences are as easy to please as they are back home. Many wrongly expect that our frames of reference will be exactly the same too... 

Shaedates: or How I Learned to Love Myself

Shaedates: or How I Learned to Love Myself

Shaedates is a show about finding yourself – quite literally. Although this one woman show holds together, parts that work are closely coupled with moments of cobbled surrealism within an unfocused narrative... 

Henry Rollins – Charmingly Obstinate

Henry Rollins – Charmingly Obstinate

The force of nature that is named Henry Rollins graces the Edinburgh Fringe once again, bringing with him another hour of profound advice and big laughs. The former frontman of Black Flag is a man you’ll want to see talk, whether you are a punk or not... 

Mungo Park – Travels in the Interior of Africa

Mungo Park – Travels in the Interior of Africa

Mungo Park proved that any true Scotsman would do almost anything to avoid spending another bloody day in Selkirk. He was an African explorer before it was fashionable and a complicated man in a complicated time... 

Robert Newman: The Brain Show

Robert Newman: The Brain Show

In a previous show, we witnessed Robert Newman intellectually tear down Dawkin’s view of evolution. Now in his second science-themed piece, Newman pierces deep into the heart of fashionable pop science and cynical neuroscience... 

Spencer Jones is The Herbert in Proper Job

Spencer Jones is The Herbert in Proper Job

Almost every review of Spencer Jones takes the lazy route of saying he’s like Mr Bean meets something/someone wacky. The issue is, Mr Bean is just pale imitation of Jacques Tati’s character Mr Hullo... 

This Glorious Monster: Wrong 'Uns

This Glorious Monster: Wrong 'Uns

Wrong ‘Uns is aptly titled because there is plenty of them packed into this hour of sketch comedy. The easily offended beware, this probably isn’t for you.This show is a mixed bag and fails to rise above the average level set for sketch comedy, but it's certainly entertaining viewing... 

The Necessity of Atheism

The Necessity of Atheism

The genius of the Romantic poets was their ability to bring emotion to the forefront in a world where faux-rationality reigned. They championed the sublime over the logical in poetry that still resonates today... 

Dark North and Hungry Jane: Two Plays of Supernatural Horror

Dark North and Hungry Jane: Two Plays of Supernatural Horror

After comedy, horror is the next most difficult art form to tackle; although comedy reigns king at the fringe there is still an eager audience waiting to be scared. Unfortunately they certainly are not going to find it in this production... 

Dark Heart

Dark Heart

Dark Heart is a Shrodinger's Cat of a show, managing to be both hopelessly amateurish and professionally polished at the same time.It’s the story of young girls inner turmoil as she tries to come to terms with the death of her sister, all while in the care of a psychiatric hospital... 

The Game's a Foot, Try the Fish

The Game's a Foot, Try the Fish

Tom Taylor has produced a show so funny at one point I thought my lungs were going to burst. The Game’s a Foot is an hour of very silly and very funny comedy.Charlie Montague an upperclass twit who wishes to be a detective... 

Sherlock

Sherlock

Bablake Theatre’s take on the character of Sherlock delivers a few laughs, though it offers nothing new to the already long list of pastiches and homages the detective has received over the many years... 

Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema

Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema

This is Manual Cinema’s first visit to the Fringe and they have brought with them a technical and awe-inspiring show that combines live music and shadow puppets.Ada and Ava have lived their entire lives together, so when Ava dies unexpectedly the surviving sister finds it difficult to carry on without her only companion... 

Andy Zaltzman: Plan Z

Andy Zaltzman: Plan Z

The Satirists for Hire returns to the fringe with another hour of bizarre similes, half baked ideas, and desire for a better world. Plan Z sees Zaltzman tackle Trump, Brexit and a myriad of other topics in his own unique fashion... 

The Vaudevillains

The Vaudevillains

This year Les Enfants Terribles are gracing us with a show that’s fun but is a hotchpotch of great performers, boring music, missed opportunities and laughs.Charlie the owner of the Empire has been murdered, and on stage no less, with every performer of the club the potential perpetrators of the crime their backgrounds are examined through the medium of song... 

Irons

Irons

Irons the new play from writer Colin Chaston certainly pushes the envelope of believability. We are meant to believe that West Ham United can score 5 minutes from a match starting. What next, Hibs winning the Scottish Cup? At the very least it’s nice to see a play about football that doesn’t revolve around hooliganism... 

Big Bite-Size Lunch Hour: Best Bites

Big Bite-Size Lunch Hour: Best Bites

Big Bite is celebrating it’s 10-year Fringe anniversary with a ‘best of’ showcase: although an enjoyable selection of short pieces - effectively boiling down to long sketches - they tend towards middling rather than the ‘best of’ that was probably intended... 

Joe's NYC Bar

Joe's NYC Bar

Interactive theatre is a tricky beast. Too often the interactive element revolves around tokenistic nods to the audiences, or at other times it's difficult to lose yourself in the drama that’s unfolding as it’s painfully obvious you're watching actors... 

Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity – A Live Action Graphic Novel

Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity – A Live Action Graphic Novel

Intergalactic Nemesis was like being trapped in a lift that wouldn’t stop going up or down, it made me angry on so many levels.Billed as a real-life graphic novel, the cast stand behind microphones as comic panels are shown behind them and a foley artist makes effects, all accompanied by a live piano... 

Perfidious Lion

Perfidious Lion

Some shows stick in your head even if they are flawed. Sometimes the flaws actually add to why you enjoyed it. Perfidious Lion, the new hour from writer and actor Bettine Mackenzie, is such a show... 

Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud

Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud

Nish Kumar has provided a wily hour of satire as some people could sit for the entire show and not realise it’s really a show about politics. Here he perfectly demonstrates that the personal is the political by weaving tales from his life and clever use of hilarious analogies... 

Burnistoun Live at the Fringe

Burnistoun Live at the Fringe

For many Rab Florence and Ian Connell are the unsung heroes of Scottish comedy. Burnistoun is the last great Scottish sketch show from the days where BBC TV still seemed interested in making comedy... 

Life According to Saki

Life According to Saki

Whether you’ve never heard of Saki before or consider yourself a die hard fan, this production is sure to please. Saki (Hector Hugo Munro) was an Edwardian short story writer and satirist in a similar vain to Max Beerbohm or Jerome K... 

Darren Walsh: S'Pun

Darren Walsh: S'Pun

Unsurprisingly Darren Walsh's S'Pun is an hour of puns. Depending on how you feel about puns you may add or subtract a star to my rating.The quality of the jokes ranges wildly, which is an inherent issue with this format of comedy... 

Canned Laughter

Canned Laughter

Some people claim that the 1960s and 1970s were the golden age of British comedy. There’s plenty of to enjoy from this era but it often lacks any real substance. Canned Laughter takes tired vaudeville inspired routines and bends them around an up-to-date narrative... 

I Am Thomas

I Am Thomas

I am Thomas is an economic show bound together with a fantastic cast. Though billed as a “brutal comedy with songs”, there are in fact more songs than comedy; this is largely fine as the songs are pretty good... 

Zippos Presents Cirque Berserk!

Zippos Presents Cirque Berserk!

The Marx Brothers greatest failing is at the circus. Rather than crash a nice middle class event with their anarchic shenanigans, they transposed themselves into a strange and unusual place, thus diluting the humour... 

Hairspray

Hairspray

Hairspray is a breath of fresh from the normal Broadway musicals that trudge their way through the British stages. Too often the jukebox musicals have a plot you could write on an extra small fag packet with only a passing interest in their source material... 

The Tailor of Inverness

The Tailor of Inverness

One-man show The Tailor of Inverness first hit Edinburgh stages eight years ago and has been touring ever since. In the packed theatre it was obvious that it is still in demand. It is a solid piece of work, but it has never been altered to address its criticisms... 

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Horsecross’s production of Beauty and the Beast holds a debt to the Disney version of the tale, and it never quite gets out from under its shadow. It’s a serviceable show and, when it works, it works well, but at times it feels uninspired... 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

It’s that magic time of year when we theatre critics stop watching plays about middle class people and their problems, and get to watch a man in a dress tell dirty jokes to kids for a couple of hours... 

Rambert Dance Company: Dark Arteries

Rambert Dance Company: Dark Arteries

Rambert is quite possible the most important dance company performing in Britain today; at the very least their influence is far-reaching. Known for presenting large scale works, it’s usually worth the entry price just to see the scale of the performances... 

The Man Called Monkhouse

The Man Called Monkhouse

Bob Monkhouse was a complicated and enigmatic man. To some he was nothing more than a tanned gameshow host; to others he was a master joke writer. The Man Called Monkhouse delves into his life to shine some light on an often misunderstood public persona... 

Zanna, Don't

Zanna, Don't

What would the word be like if homosexuality was the norm? Zanna Don't is here to answer that question and bleed the concept dry, long after the amusement has left the building.Zanna Don't has a deeply irritating script... 

Abnormally Funny People

Abnormally Funny People

Abnormally Funny People showcases some of the best and brightest comedians living with disabilities on the circuit, oh and a token “normal”. It’s a nice idea and it works well, it could fall into mawkishness but never does, it’s a series of solid acts tied together by a theme... 

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

If you are looking for some respite from hackneyed scripts and dodgy accents, you are not going to find it in Sanctuary.Written and performed by Susanne Sulby, this one woman show is trying to do something quite admirable: examining how war affects women around the world, which is partly why it comes as such a disappointment... 

Chris Martin: This Show has a Soundtrack

Chris Martin: This Show has a Soundtrack

Chris Martin is trying something a little different this year by having his show underpinned with a musical soundtrack. One wonders why as after it’s mentioned at the beginning, it's isn’t really utilised in any interesting ways... 

Tar Baby

Tar Baby

Tar Baby is a show caught between two worlds, comedy and drama, poignant and silly, white and black. This reflects its co-writer and actor Desiree Butch’s life: she’s too black for some and not black enough for others, this duality leading to a deeply moving and funny piece of theatre... 

David Tsonos: Walking the Cat

David Tsonos: Walking the Cat

You’d imagine that it’s quite difficult to write an hour of stand up about owning a cat, and apparently it is, because about half way through David Tsonos' Walking the Cat he promptly changes topics... 

Moribund

Moribund

Moribund: a show about death and the afterlife that fails to get a rise out of the audience. It’s not that it’s a terrible production but death is a once in a lifetime experience, so there needs to be more pizzazz in a 50 minute slot entirely dedicated to it... 

Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden – Old Masters

Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden – Old Masters

How can you review Barry Cryer? He's a British comedy legend, practically an institution. So, if I give him a bad review, you dear reader will probably think I'm some no good kid that can't tell their arse from their elbow and dismiss this as the ramblings of an idiot... 

Elaine Malcolmson: Arrangements

Elaine Malcolmson: Arrangements

Arrangements is about death and depression but doesn’t leave the audience down in the mouth.Malcolmson is a low energy and laconic performer. And it works. It takes a while to fall in step with the rhythm she sets but once you are sucked in you realise something brilliant is going on... 

Dolls

Dolls

Dolls is about our relationships with toys, but there is nothing wooden about this show. Combining contemporary dance with circus skills, Cirk La Putyka have created a mesmerising hour of entertainment... 

Katie O’Kelly’s Counter Culture

Katie O’Kelly’s Counter Culture

Counter Culture is a very clever show; so clever that it took me halfway through it to realise that the title is quite a good joke. Set in a department store on a dreary December day, the show quickly introduces a host of eclectic characters, all played by the superb Katie O’Kelly... 

Nick Doody: T'ai-Po

Nick Doody: T'ai-Po

Since Nick Doody's first fringe show Before He Kills Again I would have expected him to have achieved more success than he seems to as he is simply one of the best gimmick-free stand-up comedians you can see at the Fringe... 

The Oxford Revue Presents –  Free

The Oxford Revue Presents – Free

Alex Furrow, the compere for Oxford Revue Presents, has a lot to contend with, La Belle is a big venue and it must be difficult to pack it out with an eager crowd. Unfortunately any goodwill he manages to build is undermined by the acts on the bill... 

Emma Sidi: Character Breakdown

Emma Sidi: Character Breakdown

When you see a comedian get a laugh from taking a sip of water you know they’ve got good timing. In Fact, Emma Sidi inhibits her characters so much they all seem to drink water differently... 

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 2

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 2

Gein's return to the Edinburgh Fringe once again to showcase their brand of dark sketches. After their success last year hopes have been high that they'll pull out another great show... 

Simon Donald: Barry Twyford Isn’t Meant

Simon Donald: Barry Twyford Isn’t Meant

The nervous Barry Twyford (from Crackwhore and Mingpiece Market Research) takes to the stage and explains that he has accidentally booked himself to do a show at the Edinburgh Fringe... 

Jonny and the Baptists: The End Is Nigh

Jonny and the Baptists: The End Is Nigh

Johnny has accidentally told his niece that he can single-handedly stop climate change and so he embarks on a musical adventure with his bandmate Paddy to save the world. Do they succeed? No, but they provide an hour of hard laughs and catchy tunes to make up for it... 

Mark Steel: Who Do I Think I Am?

Mark Steel: Who Do I Think I Am?

Who Do I Think I Am? is an hour long rip roaring stand up performance. The show is centred around Mark's search for his biological parents which spans the course of 12 years or so.As a central theme it works wonders in the hands of such a capable writer and performer... 

A Storm in a D Cup

A Storm in a D Cup

Amelia Ryan is accustomed to accidents, inclined to insult, prone to gaffs, whoopsies, and boobies. Or so we are told, as it's hard to believe when she puts on such a slick hour of entertainment...