Often Onstage

Often Onstage

At its most fundamental, theatre could be described as a series of entrances and exits, with a variety of complex journeys thrown in between the two to spice things up. A self-described “choreographic exercise in comings and goings”, Often Onstage is a bizarre production which, despite its tremendous energy and inventive humour, never quite works out what it wants to be... 

Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

In their homemade red and black jumpsuits (emblazoned with an enormous Z and V respectively), Zach Zucker and Viggo Venn are an odd pair — even at the Fringe, the spiritual home of the weirdly dressed... 

Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night

Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night

Omid Djalili’s not used to a four o’clock crowd. It’s full of prim Middle Englanders, he jokingly complains, who aren’t prepared to run with material with edge. But, standing onstage in a black velvet jacket, Djalili is not so far removed from the audiences he gently mocks, and his set could really benefit from something of the edge he says the afternoon audience wouldn’t be able to handle... 

Jody Kamali is The Incredible Man of Mystery

Jody Kamali is The Incredible Man of Mystery

The Man of Mystery comes on stage looking like something out of a classic James Bond film: strong jawline, handsome stubble and a black turtleneck — topped off with an orange shirt, which, admittedly, is a little less secret agent, but very 80s cool nonetheless... 

Chopping Chillies

Chopping Chillies

Clair Whitefield’s one-woman show tells the story of Ajna Jan, a martial arts master from Kerala, India. Struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and two sons, Ajna moves to Camden to assume ownership of his deceased uncle’s cobbler’s shop... 

Communicate

Communicate

Spot the cliché. James (Toby Vaughan) likes superheroes, video games, and not talking about his feelings; Heather (Olivia Elsden) likes berating her partner, talking about their future baby, and berating her partner some more... 

Rob Auton: The Sleep Show

Rob Auton: The Sleep Show

What is sleep to you? A distraction? A reward? A perversely sweet taste of that undiscovered country? Whatever it is, it’s a massive part of your life: around a third of your time is spent sleeping — 27 years of an average life spent dreaming nonsense or not at all... 

BEASTS Present Mr Edinburgh 2016

BEASTS Present Mr Edinburgh 2016

Sketch troupe BEASTS are not here to perform sketches. No, they have a grander aim this year — a higher purpose, if you will. For they are the hosts of the inaugural Mr Edinburgh competition, which aims to find the manliest man/woman/child and crown them champion of champions... 

Christian Reilly: Rock'n'LOL

Christian Reilly: Rock'n'LOL

Rock’n’LOL’s title is a crystal clear statement of intent: Christian Reilly promises to provide both rock and LOL, music and comedy, and, most of the time, he delivers on solidly both... 

All the Things I Lied About

All the Things I Lied About

Lying seems to be getting more and more fashionable. Over the past few months, political commentators have begun to talk of the dawn of a ‘post-truth’ society — a society where honesty is rewarded less and less... 

600 People

600 People

Is anybody out there? It’s a question that’s inspired generations of writers and filmmakers, religious leaders, astrophysicists and, of course, conspiracy theorists. Accompanied by a beautifully illustrated presentation, Alexander Kelly — a long-time obsessive when it comes to the Voyager space programme — delivers a sincere, informative, and touching performance lecture covering the possibility of alien life, Fermi’s paradox, extinction events, space travel, genetic modification, and even what it means to be human... 

Goose: Hydroberserker

Goose: Hydroberserker

Even in this drizzle-filled August, every Fringe venue is a different kind of sweatbox. But none can lay claim to the title more legitimately than Goose: Hydrobeserker; for the astonishingly kinetic human pinball that is Adam Drake — the star of the one-man sketch group Goose — is the sweatiest person you’re ever likely to see on stage... 

Adrian Gray's The 007 Conspiracy: James Bond's Terrifying Truth, Exposed!

Adrian Gray's The 007 Conspiracy: James Bond's Terrifying Truth, Exposed!

The internet seems to have triggered a new dawn for conspiracy nuts everywhere. Limitless access to dubiously verifiable information has allowed us to witness the true power of confirmation bias, and marvel at passionately argued YouTube videos explaining why the moon landings were faked and 9/11 was an inside job, along with hilariously confident tweets on why the earth is clearly flat... 

Novel Experiments in Living

Novel Experiments in Living

In the opening tableau, the stage is littered with a collection of bodies sprawled all over the stage, all paper white overalls and unsettling masks. A collection of discarded or potential ideas surround the image of a writer: knitted jumper, wiry frame, prop typewriter... 

Love, Lies and Taxidermy

Love, Lies and Taxidermy

We begin with a boy meeting a girl. Valentine (you’ll never guess his birthday), the son of a Polish taxidermist, meets Ash, the daughter of a debt-ridden Tutti Frutti man, outside a medical research facility in the small Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil... 

Stephen Carlin: TV Comeback Special

Stephen Carlin: TV Comeback Special

When Stephen Carlin was named by Stewart Lee as one of the ‘Ten Best Comedians in The World Ever’ in 2008, he wasn’t exactly a household name. Now, however — well, okay, he’s still hasn’t found the fame he deserves; his brand of deadpan wit is well overdue widespread recognition... 

Animal (Are You a Proper Person?)

Animal (Are You a Proper Person?)

Animal (Are you a proper person?) is a show about learning who you are and being proud of whatever that might be. All very twee, I know. Well, actually, not quite: it’s less quiet introspection, more shouting from the rooftops... 

Sam Simmons: Not a People Person

Sam Simmons: Not a People Person

“It’s a bit tense in here tonight.” At any given moment Sam Simmons can split the crowd — two-thirds of the room laughing at the gleeful insanity playing out before them, the remainder sat in flummoxed silence... 

Meet Fred

Meet Fred

We meet Fred as he wakes up - cute little puppet stretching and yawns ensue. But it’s when the lovable little puppet you see standing onstage begins to realise there are three pairs of hands attached to him, screams in terror, tries desperately to detach them from himself then gives up, deflated, that we get the first hint of Meet Fred’s modus operandi: self-aware and visually inventive comedy seasoned with a hint of existentialism... 

In Our Hands

In Our Hands

In Our Hands tells the story of Alf — trawler fisherman, boat captain, father — as he struggles with a changing industry, big business rivals, and his estranged son. But the fairly simple details of the story itself are not of tremendous interest here; rather, it’s the relentlessly imaginative manner in which Smoking Apples tell their story that delights and amazes... 

The Club

The Club

Before the play starts, you can glean some idea of where this hour is headed from the onstage desk: bottles of wine and vodka, a line of cocaine, a singed teddy bear and a dildo artwork-cum-paperweight all adorn its surface... 

Equations for a Moving Body

Equations for a Moving Body

There are audible gasps as we watch footage of two women staggering towards a finish line. They appear either drunk or extremely sick. The one in front collapses; the other trips over her, collapsing as well... 

Milk

Milk

Three of the ‘seven ages of man’ populate the Traverse stage: a pair of 14-year-olds, Steph and Ash, wrestling for the first time with the ideas of love and sexuality; a couple in their thirties, Nicole and Danny, awaiting the arrival of their first child; and Cyril and May who, at 93 years old, have no electricity, no food, no warmth — only each other... 

Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Settling into my seat, I glance at the leaflet which had occupied it moments before. ‘Hartshill Quaker House’, it reads. ‘Meeting of Worship on the occasion of the death of our friend Mr Matthew Chambers’... 

Escape from the Planet of the Day That Time Forgot

Escape from the Planet of the Day That Time Forgot

Let’s just appreciate that title for a moment. It’s the sort of glorious title an eight year-old would come up with for their yet-to-be-improvised-in-the-back-yard home movie. The entire show pursues that kind of home movie feel: the set is composed of a series of stacked and painted cardboard boxes; an ironing board becomes a rocket; the dialogue is deliberately cringeworthy; the performances are beautifully hammy... 

Adam Hess: Feathers

Adam Hess: Feathers

It was a little hard to breathe when watching Adam Hess. And no, it’s not the questionable musk of The Hive that's to blame. The real culprit is the fact that Hess zips from joke to quality joke at such speed that it’s almost impossible to suck in enough air between all the laughter... 

Lewis Schaffer: You Are Beautiful

Lewis Schaffer: You Are Beautiful

Early on, Schaffer decided that the show wasn’t going so well. And shortly after that, he appeared to give up. Throughout, there were occasional glimpses of the show he was ostensibly meant to be performing; I suppose it was just bad luck that he decided not to bother... 

Giants

Giants

Like every year, there are an awful lot of young white men who’ve arrived at this year’s Fringe, sketch show in tow. Will Hislop and Barney Fishwick — the duo behind Giants — are fully aware of this, sheepishly acknowledging the genre-wide homogeneity during their opening skit... 

All Aboard the Marriage Hearse

All Aboard the Marriage Hearse

The woman wants to marry, the man does not. But don’t groan yet - Matt Morillo’s All Aboard the Marriage Hearse isn’t as clichéd as it sounds.The guy (Sean) is not afraid of the usual bogeymen named ‘monogamy’ and ‘commitment’; rather he’s ideologically opposed to the institution of marriage that of which he has sniped for years within his magazine column... 

Tell Me Anything

Tell Me Anything

Fifteen-year-old David Ralfe knows that with “warmth, guidance, and gentle nudging”, Kate, his anorexic girlfriend, can be guided towards a healthier existence. But life is always messier than its theoretical counterpart — and there is just so much mess to contend with: Kate’s family, who don’t know and then don’t want to know about their daughter’s illness; an incompetent, patronising NHS; and Ralfe’s own desire for control... 

Mike Ward: Freedom of Speech Isn't Free

Mike Ward: Freedom of Speech Isn't Free

At the end of his show, Mike Ward took a moment to emphasise the importance of free speech, the vital importance that comedians are free to offend; he even handed out badges to help his departing audience fight the good fight... 

Nazeem Hussain – Legally Brown

Nazeem Hussain – Legally Brown

Standup is often at its best when it is possible to discern a great deal of the performer in their material. Nazeem Hussain’s Legally Brown is one such show, drawing on his experiences of the difficulties facing a modern Muslim living and working in Australia and the West... 

Michelle Wolf: So Brave

Michelle Wolf: So Brave

“Isn’t it a wonderful time to be alive?” Michelle Wolf’s opening statement elicited a telling silence from the crowd. “Not so much”, was the telepathic response. But for a comedian like Wolf, a year as cataclysmic as 2016 is something of a treat, a near-limitless stimulus for comedy... 

Nick Cody: Come Get Some!

Nick Cody: Come Get Some!

Come Get Some! is a rather energetic title, as titles go, but its excitement about Nick Cody is absolutely justified. Cody himself, by contrast, is insouciance incarnate: spending an hour in his company is like listening to a hilarious, Aussie mate down the pub telling some (very, very) funny stories... 

Jake Yapp is One in a Million

Jake Yapp is One in a Million

You won’t find many performers at this year’s Fringe trumpeting their lack of uniqueness. After all, there’s a lot riding on standing out: among the thousands of shows in the capital, it needs to be yours that has its flyers dispensed, seats filled, and reviewers amazed... 

Letters to Windsor House

Letters to Windsor House

Picture the scene: two women in letterbox face paint — a pair of punkish, postmodern clowns — sit on a couple of threadbare armchairs underneath an enormous screen, sipping beers, surrounded by stacked cardboard boxes... 

Mark Dolan: Life Hacks

Mark Dolan: Life Hacks

Few would disagree that our world is in dire need of fixing. Even Mark Dolan — whose indomitable good cheer is signalled by an ever-present impish grin — has been rather bowled over by 2016, he says, a year in which Bowie and Prince have been snatched away from us; in which Donald Trump is seen as a straight-talking saviour by a baffling number of people; and not one of our homegrown politicians is as sexy as that damn delicious Justin Trudeau...