Alex Smith – Real Man

Alex Smith – Real Man

The laws of stand up hold that childhood diaries are always good for a laugh. The whole 'wasn’t I a daft little so-and-so' shtick provides the impetus for Alex Smith’s attempts to come to terms with not being a ‘real man’... 

Richard Brown: Hold Tightly to the Walls

Richard Brown: Hold Tightly to the Walls

For some Fringe performers, their tech gremlins are the cute ones from the movie franchise. They cause a little bit of feedback on the mic or delay the lighting cues by half a second: a nuisance, but not the end of the world... 

Josie Long

Josie Long

A few ideas structure Josie Long’s new show, the central one being simply that “not everything is for everyone.” In the hands of a lesser comic this sort of truism could seem trite, but with a stand up as politically and socially attuned as Long, something like this can take on a much greater significance... 

Tommy Tiernan: Under the Influence

Tommy Tiernan: Under the Influence

'This isn’t a platform for sincerity,' says Tommy Tiernan towards the top of the show. It’s neat summation of his approach to stand-up as a whole, and perhaps a reminder to some of his more earnest and sombre colleagues that theirs is a charmed profession... 

Crave

Crave

For anyone unfamiliar with Sarah Kane’s work, the first reaction is often shock. This is understandable in many ways; her plays are as much an attack on the senses as they are on the sensibilities of her audiences... 

Frankie Boyle: Prometheus Volume I

Frankie Boyle: Prometheus Volume I

Withstanding the daily increase in the threat of nuclear annihilation, there really hasn’t been a better time to be a political stand-up. For all the outrage and controversy that dogged his earlier career, that is what Frankie Boyle unequivocally now is... 

Tom Binns is Ian D Montfort: Ian Talk Three

Tom Binns is Ian D Montfort: Ian Talk Three

Ian D Monfort communicates with many famous figures who have passed to the other side. Among them is Steve Jobs, of Apple fame. Following his correspondent’s example, who modernised the humble phone by making it an iPhone, spiritual medium Montfort wants to modernise what we call rationality, making it… well, you get the joke... 

Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen

Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen

In 1986, the Kendall family stood in their back-garden, staring at the Australian sky and hoping to catch a glimpse of Halley’s comet. This blink-and-you-miss-it encounter with a celestial body sets the tone for a gorgeous and heart-breaking hour of storytelling – a meditation on life, loss, and luck, with an emotional scope seldom seen in standup... 

Lucy Pearman: Maid of Cabbage

Lucy Pearman: Maid of Cabbage

Greeting each and every audience member with a handshake after they take their seats may seem like you’re overdoing the niceties, but we soon find out that Lucy Pearman’s Maid Of Cabbage has just started in a new job and is eager to please the Lord and Lady of the Manor... 

Goodbear

Goodbear

As their hotel receptionist alter-egos, Henry Perryment and Joe Barnes help us check into The Hotel Après Vie for an hour of horror movie-themed entertainment.There’s a lot to like about the duo from the off as they battle through a raging storm in the guise of two non-British travellers, finding themselves at the door of some mysterious residence... 

Sophie Willan: Branded

Sophie Willan: Branded

It is a bittersweet moment in any girl’s life when they find out that The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft isn’t their real father. The pain is all the more acute if you’re a young, working-class, Northerner like Sophie Willan... 

Mark Forward Wins All the Awards

Mark Forward Wins All the Awards

Single father Mark Forward has decided the time has come for him to be appreciated as a comedian. The surest way to guarantee success is to win a comedy award. And the surest way to win a comedy award? Introduce some seriousness... 

Tom Houghton: Class Half Empty

Tom Houghton: Class Half Empty

There are many indicators of class membership in British society, but if you have lost count of how many times you’ve been in the same room as the Queen, then it’s a safe bet that you’re somewhere near the top... 

Pete Otway: Six Years from Then

Pete Otway: Six Years from Then

Pete Otway takes the opportunity in his first Edinburgh solo show to get audiences up to speed with what’s been happening in his life up to now. Conveniently from a narrative perspective, the most important moments in his life took place in the six years between when he broke up with his childhood sweetheart and when they got back together (that’s not a spoiler – Otway reveals as much in his poster for the show)... 

Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable

Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable

Due to the fact that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe demands that performers submit a name for a show months in advance of performance, many titles do not represent the content of the show... 

David O'Doherty: Big Time

David O'Doherty: Big Time

Based on a gauge adapted from his previous call-centre telemarketing experience, David O’Doherty rates being a professional stand-up as an eight out of ten, with two points dropped because it can be “kind of stressful sometimes”... 

Bob Blackman's Tray

Bob Blackman's Tray

“The Tribute Act To The Act With No Act”has solved a problem that dogs all but the most innovate of performers: why bother making the effort to come up with something new when in all likelihood it’s been done better already? The Bob ‘The Tray’ Blackman Appreciation Society thankfully returns to Edinburgh for another year, bringing with it its unique brand of light entertainment-infused, highbrow silliness... 

Home

Home

The fact that Home is “partly based on true events” makes Cate and Gia’s situation all the more distressing. The story is a microcosm of the UK’s housing crisis among young people... 

Tim Renkow: King of the Tramps

Tim Renkow: King of the Tramps

Tim Renkow has a handy tip for anyone who feels uncomfortable around him as a result of his cerebral palsy. The trick is, he says, to think of him as a physical metaphor for Brexit... 

Ali Brice Presents Home is Where Eric Meat is

Ali Brice Presents Home is Where Eric Meat is

We join Eric Meat on what is a sad occasion: the day is due to move out of his childhood home. The childless, unmarried protagonist doesn’t know where he will be moving or who the tenants will be... 

Daniel Nils Roberts: Honey

Daniel Nils Roberts: Honey

Life from a bear’s point of view is as strange and wonderful as you would expect it to be. Daniel Nils Roberts ursine-themed Honey mixes character comedy and multimedia in a very clever, very confident Edinburgh Fringe solo debut... 

Pun-Man Two: Girls Just Wanna Hear Puns

Pun-Man Two: Girls Just Wanna Hear Puns

Leo Kearse, in his guise as Pun-Man, has a simple mission: to save the world of comedy from banal observational stand-up and self-righteous, long-winded anecdotes. In this, the current UK Pun Champion is a qualified success, delivering an hour of dizzying highs mixed with a few nauseating lows... 

Luke Stephen: Commit No Nuisance

Luke Stephen: Commit No Nuisance

Returning to Edinburgh for the second time, Luke Stephen brings with him all the emotional baggage you would expect a self-destructive, early 30’s Essex bloke to have. Unlike a lot of comics who take the lads-eye-view of sex, relationships, and immaturity, Stephen’s wit and gregariousness enables him to come at these topics in a way that is far from hackneyed, managing to get the audience onside even when describing some of his more questionable antics... 

All in the Timing

All in the Timing

Often, first-time Festival goers arriving in Edinburgh can be paralysed by choice as a result of the sheer volume of shows on offer. However, once you have collected your ticket and taken your seat you would expect the decision making process to be complete... 

Christian Talbot: C60

Christian Talbot: C60

A near universal truth about comics is that they will bear some sort of emotional scars from their childhood. In Christian Talbot’s case, it was in response to being made perform in front of his family various Osmond family-esque pop tunes... 

Craig Campbell's 'Easy Tiger'

Craig Campbell's 'Easy Tiger'

The whole fish-out-of water shtick is a difficult one to pull off – the performer has to be au fait with local idiosyncrasies while at the same time be looking in at them from the outside... 

MacBain

MacBain

At first glance, there are other plays by Shakespeare that would offer more fruitful parallels with the Kurt Cobain story than Macbeth. Not least Hamlet, with whom, if Charles R. Cross’s biography is to be believed, the Nirvana frontman had a particular preoccupation toward the end of his life... 

Richard Herring: Happy Now?

Richard Herring: Happy Now?

His 20’s were a fist of fun, his 30’s spent deciphering the intricacies of Big Cook and Little Cook’s business partnership, and then, oh fuck!, he was 40. Now, closing in on 50, he is settling down... 

Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn

Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn

About halfway through the second story of three, in the middle of a series of thoughts on the benefits for men of sitting down on the toilet, Daniel Kitson breaks off, looking up from his notebook: “These are not Harry’s opinions, these are mine... 

John McKeever: Multifarious

John McKeever: Multifarious

On top of talent and comic-timing, McKeever has charm by the bucket-load. He somehow manages to cram into the show five distinct characters, each with their own idiosyncrasies and tics... 

The Power of Music

The Power of Music

There’s something infectious about certain ad jingles. That ‘stuck-in-the-head’ phenomenon over which we seem to have very little control is what inspired John Groves at a young age to want to be an ad music composer and, we are told, has led to him becoming one of Europe’s leading ‘comMUSICation’ experts... 

Phaedra's Love

Phaedra's Love

To do justice to any of Sarah Kane’s work, you need to not be taken in by the maniacal, despairing nature of her scripts. The characters are, for all their flaws, always believable and human; it’s the situations Kane constructs that are so distressing... 

Keith Farnan: Anonymous

Keith Farnan: Anonymous

Keith Farnan recently became father to a baby girl. As such, he tells us, she will probably want her own Facebook page in about eighteen months’ time. The Corkman uses the birth of his first child as the framework around which to build a show that deals with one of the most pressing matters of our time; state and corporate surveillance... 

Chutney Exhibition: Anyone for Armageddon

Chutney Exhibition: Anyone for Armageddon

The only things that will survive Armageddon are bacteria, cockroaches, and sketch comedy. The audience is transported to 20-whenever, after an unspecified catastrophic event, to see if we can find the funny in a desolate landscape... 

Mark Forward presents Mark Forward

Mark Forward presents Mark Forward

'I could tell you anything I want and you would have to believe it!' yells Mark Forward about twenty minutes into his show, as an invisible falcon perches on his arm. This image, plus the backstories of a family of chipmunks and a convenience store fancy-hat rack, will stick with you for a few days (if not longer) after this brilliant and inventive hour of stand-up is over... 

The Shuffle Show

The Shuffle Show

If The Shuffle Show is anything to go by, life behind the Genius Bar requires a very specific skill-set. First, you need a real passion for customer service. Second, an unquestioning devotion to the late Steve Jobs... 

Jack Heal: Do Scientists Dream of Synthetic Sheep?

Jack Heal: Do Scientists Dream of Synthetic Sheep?

The answer we get from Jack Heal to the question of his show’s title is that, not only do scientists dream of genetically engineered sheep, but they are actively pursuing how to create one... 

Roughs (for Radio)

Roughs (for Radio)

Beckett’s dramatic works are disorientating at the best of times. His characters are subjected to all manner of stresses, disfigurements, and distortions, which are then experienced vicariously by the spectator... 

Diane Spencer: Power Tool

Diane Spencer: Power Tool

Fringe shows based on the last twelve months of a comic’s life are not uncommon. Shows about the experiences of Fringe 2014, however, are a rarer commodity. Diane Spencer’s Power Tools is just that – an enjoyable backward glance towards the events that reached a climax in Edinburgh during August of last year... 

Mark Simmons – Laugh Yourself Thin

Mark Simmons – Laugh Yourself Thin

Not every comic has the wherewithal to build the feedline of a joke into the title of their show. Then again, not every comic looks and acts like a cross between Noel Fielding and Tim Vine... 

Carl Hutchinson: Learning the Ropes

Carl Hutchinson: Learning the Ropes

What have you done in your life that you can say you’re proud of? This is what Carl Hutchinson asks at the top of his show Learning the Ropes. On entering, the question is put to us on a screen to the side of the stage, asking that we Tweet our responses... 

Tommy Tiernan Alive in Edinburgh

Tommy Tiernan Alive in Edinburgh

Before he took to the stage, Tommy Tiernan took in some shows around Edinburgh. What struck him, whether the show was good or bad, was the humility and generosity of the acts. There is, he notices, an unwritten pact between performers and spectators, where those onstage offer themselves and their carefully cultivated performances with the sole purpose of pleasing strangers... 

David O’Doherty: We Are All in the Gutter, But Some of Us Are Looking at David O'Doherty

David O’Doherty: We Are All in the Gutter, But Some of Us Are Looking at David O'Doherty

This time next year, the Assembly George Square Theatre will not be big enough to contain David O’Doherty. Nor will Murrayfield stadium. At the rate he’s going, he says, next year’s show will be performed from a balloon hovering over Old Town, O’Doherty with mega-phone in hand... 

Aidan Killian: Holy Trinity of Whistle Blowers

Aidan Killian: Holy Trinity of Whistle Blowers

Aidan Killian is not the kind of performer to shy away from big questions. This August he is back in Edinburgh with a stand-up show-cum-sermon, centring on the actions of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden... 

10x10x10

10x10x10

This year marks the 10th year the Comedians’ Theatre Company appears at the Fringe. Essentially, the show consists of 10 dramatic (or not so dramatic) monologues by 10 comics. You can’t get all 10 on the night though – for that you would have to shell out for two tickets, divided into groups of five as they are on a given day... 

Hurt and Anderson: Sketchbombs

Hurt and Anderson: Sketchbombs

In Sketchbombs, Georgina Hurt and Laura Anderson take one of the cornerstones of the British entertainment tradition – the comedy double-act – and give it a fresh and invigorating twist... 

The Jest: The Five Humours

The Jest: The Five Humours

Like some much of our interaction with the wider world, it starts with a button. If you’re planning on seeing The Jest, press it when prompted (you can’t miss it). If anything, it will give the venue staff one less job to do... 

Bombs, Booze and Haggis Strikes Back

Bombs, Booze and Haggis Strikes Back

The title of this show refers to the three core acts, Gary Sansome (all Scots like haggis, right?), Irishman Andrew Gilmore (the booze, of course), and Israeli standup Daphna Baram (she seems more than comfortable with the explosive association)... 

Dane Baptiste: Reasonable Doubts

Dane Baptiste: Reasonable Doubts

Dane Baptiste returns to this year’s Fringe with a bit more notoriety than this time twelve months ago. His nomination for the Fosters Comedy Award last year has raised his stock to the point where, he says, he is somewhere just behind Trevor McDonald’s travel agent on the rank of black British cultural figures (Idris Elba retains his number one spot)... 

Jonny Awsum: Everything is Awsum

Jonny Awsum: Everything is Awsum

Using only the bare essentials of a guitar, some toy instruments, and a few lighting changes, Jonny Awsum delivers an hour of musical comedy with plenty of laughs and the sort of thing musical theatre PR people call the ‘feelgood factor’ (minus the attendant West End nonsense)... 

Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical

Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical

If you’re planning on making the trip to see Baby Wants Candy, get your title suggestions ready now! The audience for his fully improvised musical comedy has barely taken their seats (to music provided by the excellent four-piece house band, led by Dan Wessels) when the seven-person ensemble takes the stage and it’s all systems go... 

Christian Schulte-Loh: Return of the 50 Foot German Comedian

Christian Schulte-Loh: Return of the 50 Foot German Comedian

I don’t know exactly how many German comics there are on the circuit but, as Christian Schulte-Loh points out, such is their rarity that he has managed to secure both the germancomedian... 

The Brendon Burns Show Again

The Brendon Burns Show Again

When Brendon Burns announced last year that he would neither be promoting his Fringe show nor charging for tickets, a few eyebrows were raised. However, on the scale of Burns controversies, this was a relatively minor tremor... 

Sophie Pelham: Country Files

Sophie Pelham: Country Files

The trip from busy Edinburgh to sleepy Wiltshire is down a short flight of stairs and through a door, upon which you’re greeted with complimentary sherry (dry or sweet, your preference) and a few mini sausage rolls... 

Steve Bugeja: Day Release

Steve Bugeja: Day Release

The title of Steve Budeja’s show is misleading. Budeja himself isn’t the one who has been given a short reprieve from serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure; rather, it is the father of his best friend, Amy, who has been given a day release from his sentence to attend his daughter’s wedding... 

Laura Lexx: Lovely

Laura Lexx: Lovely

There’s probably some truth to the idea that going through a profound personal crisis makes it easier to produce a stand-up show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Maybe the equation should be updated to Comedy = Tragedy + Time + looming Fringe deadline... 

The Hibrow Comedy Hour

The Hibrow Comedy Hour

This was supposed to be a review of a stand-up comedy show. However, due to the vagaries of the Fringe this evening ended up as a review of Sarah Louise Young’s brilliant Cabaret Whore... 

Tom Stade: Decisions Decisions

Tom Stade: Decisions Decisions

Looking back at it, Tom Stade is the ideal performer to subdue the rowdy (but never disruptive) last-weekend-of-the-Fringe, Friday-night-on-George-Street, Assembly-Rooms-Ballroom crowd (you can only have one –ed... 

Chris Griffin and Ross Leslie Present Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Chris Griffin and Ross Leslie Present Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ross Leslie and Chris Griffin are joined by Gareth Mutch for an hour of solid observational stand-up as part of the Free Fringe at the Beehive Inn. The show’s title, Two Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was a bit of a misrepresentation given that the subject matter dealt with by each of the three comedians didn’t stray too far from everyday matters – sex, relationships, looking like a character out of Middle-Earth etc... 

George and Co (The Solo Tour)

George and Co (The Solo Tour)

Australian comic George Dimarelos’s first full-length show at the Fringe is a solid effort, with his conversational style and obvious talent for observational comedy showing a lot of promise... 

Bob Blackman's Local

Bob Blackman's Local

“And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for!” Fringe Festival folklore is replete with tales of life-changing shows witnessed in less-than-life-changing venues – seeing a Daniel Kitson show in an outhouse, Arthur Smith in a broom cupboard, or The Mighty Boosh in someone’s spare room... 

Jonny Lennard: Tale Blazer

Jonny Lennard: Tale Blazer

In his first full Edinburgh show, Jonny Leonard takes issue with stand-up comedians’ perennial bugbear – children’s literature. Dissecting the factual and moral discrepancies of classic children’s stories and from there taking inspiration for his own fiction, Lennard delivers an extremely well-written, inventive and hilarious set... 

The Mangina Funalogs

The Mangina Funalogs

Leo Kearse takes the audience through the things that make it hard to be a man in the modern world.Despite his admission that he’s only in stand-up for the money, Kearse is a massively endearing stage presence – as well as being massively tall... 

Hamlet

Hamlet

Secret Theatre’s staging of Hamlet, according to the show’s promos, will ‘make you question how much you really know this play.’ This is a bold claim, given the fact that this production reduces to just over ninety minutes a script that can sometimes take up to four hours to perform... 

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a 150 Seater at 10pm and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a 150 Seater at 10pm and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches

There’s no way to review this show without first admitting that the title does half the job.Well, the venue didn’t quite meet the 150 capacity but aside from that this show was exactly what it was billed to be... 

Tom Shillue: Impossible

Tom Shillue: Impossible

American stand-up Tom Shillue opens by asking why he, a comic on his first run at the Fringe, has the right to stand on stage for an hour and talk about himself. It’s the stand-up equivalent of Aristotle’s ruminations on the nature of being, to which no comedian/philosopher has yet found a satisfactory answer... 

Laughter Is the Worst Medicine

Laughter Is the Worst Medicine

Basing your second Edinburgh show on the serious medical crisis which cut short your first run at the Fringe the previous year is patently logical. Lee Ridley, otherwise known as Lost Voice Guy, does just this... 

The Internet: A Human Right?

The Internet: A Human Right?

Professor Michael Fourman of the University of Edinburgh hosted this event as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, a series of seminars and lectures taking place during the Fringe with the intention of giving audiences a chance to engage with topics normally confined to more academic settings... 

Bruchlandung

Bruchlandung

In the programme notes, the translation for the word Bruchlandung is “crash landing”. This is as good a description as any for the audience’s initial experience of this experimental and challenging work...