City Of the Blind

City Of the Blind

An innovative experience premieres at the festival this year in the form of David Leddy’s political thriller, City of the Blind. The ‘play’ is to be viewed entirely on smartphones, laptops, tablets or any other internet-led device as it consists of six half-hour chapters that include e-mail messages, texts, audio clips and video footage... 

Milk Presents: Self Service

Milk Presents: Self Service

Suitably advertised as a punk-style voyage, this is a raucous hour of cabaret, humour and profound insights into the connotations of the word ‘queer’. The company consists of Adam Robertson, Lucy Doherty and Ruby Glaskin and they perform a brave, edgy performance that will provide ample food for thought for any audience member, regardless of gender or sexuality... 

Haggis Haggis Haggis

Haggis Haggis Haggis

A likeable, if hardly groundbreaking, hour of Scottish storytelling comes in this lightweight appraisal for our national dish, haggis. Backed by talented musicians Hilary Bell and Jenni Borthwick, our host John Nichol provides plenty of Scottish humour in this animated lecture on the myths of the food... 

Antiquithon

Antiquithon

Any fans of the macabre would do themselves a favour by coming along to this gloriously depraved oddity tucked away at the French Institute. Performed five times a day, this half-hour tale contains the perfect balance of dark humour and creepy atmosphere... 

RIVERRUN

RIVERRUN

Riverrun is an adaptation of the final chapter of James Joyce’s controversial novel Finnegans Wake, a book that’s been cited as one of the most difficult novels of the twentieth century... 

Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli

Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli

Christina Bianco has become a bit of a YouTube sensation on our shores with her fantastic renditions of female singers. Her UK debut comes to the festival this year and it’s a most welcome, transfixing hour of cabaret and she’s joined by the glamorous, hilariously camp drag queen, Velma Celli... 

Once Upon a Nightmare

Once Upon a Nightmare

Occasionally the odd masterpiece arrives at the Free Fringe; such is the case with this gloriously atmospheric fantasy adventure tale. With influences from a wide range of fantasy movies, Box Step Productions have crafted their own mysterious, gripping and thoroughly exciting adventure show... 

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

A refreshingly creative and atmospheric adaptation of the old school television show Noggin the Nog arrives at the festival this year to provide entertainment for families. A cast of four takes us on an adventure to a Viking kingdom where a young prince looks for a bride whilst a scheming uncle is after the crown... 

Jay Foreman's Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children (and Other Funny Stories)

Jay Foreman's Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children (and Other Funny Stories)

Comedian Jay Foreman provides a devilishly cheeky hour of songs, poems and comedy for children of all ages in this excellent mid afternoon show in the Green. The children will truly lap this up as Foreman taps into their naughty side with lyrics that delve into all manners of mischief... 

Murder, She Didn't Write

Murder, She Didn't Write

A delightfully eccentric murder mystery is created within the hour as audience members choose the title, location, victim and murderer. A cast of six gives energetic, witty performances as they delve into the play full on... 

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

With an impressive variety of theatre tricks up their sleeve, Le Petite Artist recreate the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale. The message within the story of an odd looking duckling who grows up to become a swan still resonates profoundly today, over 150 years since it was first published... 

The Importance of Being Earnest as Performed by Three F*cking Queens and a Duck

The Importance of Being Earnest as Performed by Three F*cking Queens and a Duck

Out Cast Theatre return to the festival this year with their typically camp Carry On-style comedy. The cast of three perform as male divas who are roped into performing Oscar Wilde’s classic play and they have to learn to work together for it to be a success as the audience witnesses the preparation, rehearsals and the eventual outcome... 

The Shambles

The Shambles

The comedy troupe from York returns to the festival once again with their fun, if rather forgettable, hour of hit-and-miss improvised routines. The group energetically bounces around the stage firing jokes off each other from the suggestions of the audience... 

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa

Joseph Morpurgo’s epic, sprawling opus opens with a montage of a VHS recorded presentation of early ‘80s TV adverts and news reports from the city of Odessa, Texas. From these little nuggets of retro gold, Mopurgo spins what has to be one of the most bizarre, innovative and tear-inducingly hilarious comedy routines I have seen at the festival... 

MenSWEAR Collection: Spunk

MenSWEAR Collection: Spunk

Set almost entirely in one small flat, Spunk is the tale of James, a young wheelchair-bound gay man who is in desperate need of a sexual encounter. His decision to call on the skills of a prostitute is much to the dismay of his put-upon carer... 

Hunter and Johnny

Hunter and Johnny

Theatre company d’Animate presents this amusing look into the friendship between Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and the late Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. Any fans of the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will be in for a real treat here as the show recounts the true story of Depp’s preparation for the role in the film adaptation of Thompson’s surrealist masterpiece... 

Waiting for Hitchcock

Waiting for Hitchcock

A rather offbeat hour is presented by Finnish magician, Robert Jagerhorn. The show has our host preparing to present the first ever Hitchcock movie, a silent thriller from the 1920s... 

The Colour Ham

The Colour Ham

This show has rightfully picked up a bit of a cult following over the past few years and on the night I was in the audience it was completely sold out. This was a thoroughly entertaining madcap hour of absurd humour, magic tricks and some very nifty illusions... 

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 1

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 1

First of all, let’s get it out of the way, DO NOT go to this show with your mother. Unless your mother is keen on endless masturbating, genitilia, and fart jokes. This is a no-holds-barred sketch show unlike any other; it revels in its own vulgarity and immaturit, and is all the more uproarious because of its brash tone... 

Glenn Cosby: Food Junkie

Glenn Cosby: Food Junkie

Variety is the spice of life and the Fringe certainly has a lot of it. Cosby‘s comedy baking hour can hardly claim to be groundbreaking, but nonetheless it is an original idea, executed with grace and charm by an extremely likeable host... 

Iain Stirling: Everything

Iain Stirling: Everything

At the final moments of this stand-up, it becomes apparent that this could very well be the transitional period that a reliable Fringe stalwart gives the performance that should finally shoot him up the ranks into the big time... 

The Boy and the Bunnet

The Boy and the Bunnet

Big Sky productions have returned to the festival with this distinctively Scottish storytelling performance for families. A large screen lights up the auditorium with the beautifully illustrated story of ‘a young laddie called Neil’ and his life in the highlands with his grandmother and some animal friends... 

Aliens Love Underpants

Aliens Love Underpants

Big Wooden Horse Theatre has made a successful adaptation of the popular children’s book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. The story follows our young protagonist, Timmy (an agreeably boisterous performance from Harrison Spiers) as he discovers the mystery of why his underpants keep disappearing... 

Pekka and Strangebone's Comedy Showpiece

Pekka and Strangebone's Comedy Showpiece

WTF?: An acronym that perfectly sums up this completely bonkers comedic showcase. An imaginary talent agency showcases some of the ‘talents’ on their books for a bemused audience... 

After the Apocalypse

After the Apocalypse

There’s social unrest in the North, disease in the South. Yet here we remain, somewhat safe, somewhat uneasy, yet forever entertained in the confines of the Cabapocalypsaret. The Creative Martyrs have created a wonderfully atmospheric, snug little cabaret act that imagines the aftermath of an apocalypse... 

Mat Ricardo: Showman

Mat Ricardo: Showman

There are those of us who stand in awe and wonder at the street performers on the Mile and those of us who tut and move on, unimpressed by the same old tricks that we’ve seen performed too many times before... 

Jim Campbell: Stupid Animals

Jim Campbell: Stupid Animals

Campbell’s witty set consists of taking a closer look at the stupidity of the human race and how it compares to the animal kingdom. Now, this could have easily just been the basis of a tirade from an angry man but thankfully Campbell’s hour is a delightful, intellectual charmer of a stand-up routine and the comedian is always happy to poke fun at himself primarily... 

Inside

Inside

Once in a while, amidst the jugglers, glee clubs and stand-up routines of the festival that you dodge or indulge, you may come across a piece of theatre that instantly knocks you off your feet by its sheer astonishing bravado and unforgettable strength... 

Farce Noir Presents... The Big Sheep

Farce Noir Presents... The Big Sheep

This delightfully daft and silly send-up of ‘50s film noir is gleefully performed in one of the oddest venue spaces I’ve come across. There is barely a stage in Udderbelly’s new venue, yet this did not affect the sprightly and very game four young actors who presented their shaky but amusing pastiche... 

Tea at Five

Tea at Five

Tea at Five is a wonderfully detailed, informative and enjoyable monologue that delves into the career of the late, great Katharine Hepburn; the memorably boisterous, hard skinned actress who left her mark on golden-age Hollywood... 

Superjohn

Superjohn

Superjohn is a fast moving, visually creative show which follows the story of a young boy awaiting an operation in hospital. In his dreams he imagines himself to be a superhero fighting a number of different villains... 

Mr Braithwaite Has a New Boy

Mr Braithwaite Has a New Boy

This droll play follows the life of an elderly gay man and the relationship he develops with a male prostitute. Despite the cheeky poster and intriguing set-up, the only significant thing I found in the show is that it contains the most overused sound effect in any production I’ve seen at the festival this year: an unnecessary constantly opening and closing front door... 

Briefs

Briefs

A bit of a sleeper hit at last year’s festival, Briefs returns bigger, glitzier and filthier at the Udderbelly this summer. It’s one of those shows that completely embodies a party atmosphere so is probably best enjoyed as a starting point for a night out with friends... 

The Jabberwocky

The Jabberwocky

Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem provides the inspiration for this enjoyable children’s show. The young cast produce an inventive, colourful tale as we follow the young Jack, who falls asleep and dreams of an adventure where he must confront the dragon-like Jabberwocky... 

Pretending Things Are a C*ck

Pretending Things Are a C*ck

Looking at people’s holiday pictures can be a downright dull experience. Little did I expect from the tantalising title that I would be doing the same again whilst watching this show... 

The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart

The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart

A richly textured atmosphere enlivens this bittersweet tale of a young boy who has a very unusual means of keeping his heart ticking. From its bleak beginnings on a cold Edinburgh morning when the boy is born to the glamorous festivities of a Parisian cabaret, this young and sprightly theatre company has the ability to transform the tightly packed little box theatre into our protagonists’ vividly created world... 

Andrew Doyle: Whatever It Takes

Andrew Doyle: Whatever It Takes

Doyle is certainly not a comedian to shy away from controversial matters. His fearless attack on material such as paedophilia, incest and Catholicism (no connection intended) certainly takes no prisoners... 

Deborah Frances-White: Cult Following

Deborah Frances-White: Cult Following

Deborah Frances-White certainly has a market cornered in this year’s festival. There is a severe lack of shows covering the ins and outs of being a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s certainly not a show for those who are practicing the faith, but your appreciation of this stand-up’s set will be magnified if you have some knowledge of the ‘cult’... 

Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory

Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory

Paul Boyd’s big, bold and brash musical is a tour-de-force of bad taste hilarity and is probably the campest thing you will see at the festival this year. Whilst there will be endless comparisons to the likes of Rocky Horror and Sweeney Todd, Molly Wobbly’s has a unique style all of its own and is more than just a spawn from the blueprints of previous offbeat musicals... 

The Blanks' Big Break

The Blanks' Big Break

This comedy a cappella troupe is fast becoming one of the biggest sellers of this year’s festival. This is in no small part thanks to their popularity as recurring guest stars on the hit American sitcom, Scrubs... 

Craig Hill - Jock's Trap!

Craig Hill - Jock's Trap!

Hill’s show is very much one of a comedian totally comfortable with his surroundings and happy enough to coast on what he does best, insulting his audience. That may sound a little harsh though, as Hill very much connects with his audience with friendly banter before ripping them apart and he also pokes fun at his own misgivings... 

Outward Bound

Outward Bound

Opening night can be a daunting time, not only for the performers and directors, but also for the technical teams. When it boils down to it a good show can become a disaster if the technical team are not on top form... 

Time / Dropper and Driftwood

Time / Dropper and Driftwood

Time/Dropper, choreographed and performed by Jose Agudo, is a raw, visceral and masculine performance evoking a sense of distorted tension. From the silent beginning, a hunched figure on a bare stage with nothing more than a spotlight to accompany him, the solo communicates a distancing coldness... 

Simon Callow in Tuesday at Tescos

Simon Callow in Tuesday at Tescos

There is definitely a reason why Simon Callow has his name at the beginning of the title of this beautifully performed monologue. Its a real treat to see such a grand performance from a man who commands the stage with ease... 

Myrtle Chops

Myrtle Chops

Ever wondered what the puppets on CBBC get up to after 7pm? This refreshingly outrageous hodgepodge of cautionary tales might just provide the answer.The appealing cast of four ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ fresh-faced actors delve into the darker areas of modern life transferred through some grotesquely disfigured dolls... 

The Big Bite Size Breakfast

The Big Bite Size Breakfast

There’s no better way to start a busy day at the Fringe than with coffee, a croissant, a strawberry and a host of well performed, highly amusing short plays. Not only are the freebies of good quality but the performance itself is extremely well done... 

Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane

Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane

There is a nice relaxed humour and performance style that resonates throughout this show. Sammy J is a very laid-back comedian and works well against his purple-skinned, puppet flatmate Randy... 

Yours, Isabel

Yours, Isabel

This skilfully structured piece of theatre has clearly been a labour of love for writer/actress Christy Hall. Based on a number of real-life love letters sent between two sweethearts during the tragic years of World War II, the play follows the effects the war has on our two protagonists... 

Shopping and F***ing

Shopping and F***ing

Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and F***ing is one of the most controversial British plays of the 90s due to its brutal sexual violence and dark humour. Theatre company About Turn attack the text with a raw energy that never hides from the play’s bleak outlook... 

Will Gracie - In the Closet

Will Gracie - In the Closet

Will Gracie’s hideously self-indulgent cabaret act is a test of patience for any audience member who sits through the entire achingly unfunny 50 minutes. Needless to say there were a couple of audience members who had had enough and headed to the nearest exit at the sign of yet another video of Gracie dancing in his hot pants on a static-filled 80s video of Top of the Pops... 

Strip Search

Strip Search

Now I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes seeing a beautiful person performing on stage can lift your overall enjoyment of a show. So it comes as somewhat of a surprise that watching a perfectly sculpted piece of flesh strip down to bare all was one of the most embarrassing shows I have ever sat through... 

Not So Grimm Fairy Tales

Not So Grimm Fairy Tales

Some might consider it cruel, but I’m of the opinion that children’s stories benefit from that added sprinkle of fear. Children love to hear scary stories of wolves and witches and it’s this mix of the macabre and the magical that has kept children enchanted by the tales of the Brothers Grimm throughout the decades... 

Funny Women

Funny Women

Funny Women is a very respectable and enjoyable competition, highlighting the best up-and-coming female comedy acts from around the UK. Therefore the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the perfect springboard for some of these ladies to hit the ground running... 

Frisky and Mannish: Pop Centre Plus

Frisky and Mannish: Pop Centre Plus

A fast-paced, energetic and downright hilarious show that immediately had me finding a space within my schedule to come watch again. In fact, before the show began there was an excited buzz filling the auditorium; this highly original musical cabaret act has a huge following already and they can now certainly add this reviewer to their fan base... 

Sex, Lies and Eurovision

Sex, Lies and Eurovision

This is the tale of Neil (Grant Campbell) and how, as the dreaded forty grows ever closer, he decides to reform his old band in another bid for Eurovision glory.The play is littered with some amusing gags covering a broad range of topics from breakfast cereal to university fees... 

Anil Desai...

Anil Desai...

Anil Desai is... a very, very talented individual. Desai has a knack for spot-on impressions of celebrities ranging from Robert De Niro to Homer Simpson. His vocal bag of tricks allows for an endless supply of amusing riffs and pointed satire on modern celebrity culture... 

4 Poofs and a Piano - Business as Usual

4 Poofs and a Piano - Business as Usual

Behind the cheap gloss, sexual innuendos and hyper-kinetic jazz hands there is a whiff of melancholy to this instantly likable quartet.The boys are most famous for being Ross’s house band before the infamous BBC firing and the song sarcastically pokes fun at the host’s antics... 

The Lady Boys of Bangkok - Fur Coats and French Knickers Tour

The Lady Boys of Bangkok - Fur Coats and French Knickers Tour

Somewhere in this show there is a turning point. A moment where you ignore the fact that you have been cheated out of £20 to watch a bunch of performers lip-sync and you get up on your feet and start dancing and laughing along with the strangers that were sitting beside you...