Gráinne Maguire's One Hour All Night Election Special

Gráinne Maguire's One Hour All Night Election Special

Halfway through this likeable but ill-conceived show, Gráinne Maguire recounts an anecdote of her short-lived stint as a primary school teacher. On the last day before Christmas, Maguire recalls, she looked into other teachers’ classrooms to see a winter wonderland of Christmas treats; in her own, a solitary bottle of Fanta, brought by a hopeful parent... 

Blofeld and Baxter - Memories of Test Match Special

Blofeld and Baxter - Memories of Test Match Special

To devotees of Test Match Special, the voice of Henry Blofeld – deep, resonant, quite improbably plummy – is iconic. The inexpressible warmth of his clarion cry – ‘my dear old thing!’ – or the excited first sighting of a number 139 bus on the St John’s Wood Road provoke memories of summers past and winter tours spent clutching an old transistor to the ear... 

Mark Dolan - You're Awesome!

Mark Dolan - You're Awesome!

A public-school Ed Byrne in appearance with the patter of a middle-aged Jack Whitehall, Mark Dolan’s You’re Awesome is a gentle, beguiling hour. The first half of the show treads a familiar path, raising gentle chuckles as Dolan unerringly hits the buttons of the opening night Fringe crowd: supermarket 'finest' ranges; domestic arguments; Alex Salmond’s erotic eyes... 

Mushy Ate My Credit Card

Mushy Ate My Credit Card

Cricket, as we know, can be an all-consuming passion. For every casual punter who makes his annual pilgrimage to Lord’s in May, there is another who follows his county week in and week out over the course of a long, arduous, and inevitably rain-splattered Championship season... 

News Brunch

News Brunch

Described by its creator Mark Brailsford as ‘the Fringe like it used to be’, News Brunch is the latest show in the News Revue tradition. Presenting a mix of song, sketch and satire based on the day’s news, the show is being developed this year in advance of a full run at next year’s Fringe... 

Piff the Magic Dragon: Piff-tacular 2 - Get Rich Or Die Trying

Piff the Magic Dragon: Piff-tacular 2 - Get Rich Or Die Trying

Chihuahuas always look terrified. Right? Mr Piffles, the true star of this show, certainly does: every time he is introduced by his master Piff – the dragon-suited alter ego of John van der Put – he trembles as if he’d rather be curled up in a slipper backstage... 

Sara Pascoe vs Her Ego

Sara Pascoe vs Her Ego

Twisting one leg around the other in a show of girlish innocence, Pascoe’s stage presence is that of the coquettish schoolgirl, rambling aimlessly whilst making puppy dog eyes at her latest beau... 

Aspidistras - Secret Breakfast Gig

Aspidistras - Secret Breakfast Gig

It is impossible not to warm to The Aspidistras. Combating the perils of a lunchtime slot with coffee and croissants sets the show on a promising footing, and the caffeinated goodwill of an unjaded audience is easily tapped... 

Helen Arney's Songs for Modern Loving

Helen Arney's Songs for Modern Loving

“This isn’t,” Helen Arney tells us at the outset, “a high-energy show”. After a curiously tentative beginning, as both Arney and the audience take time to warm up, Songs for Modern Loving is instead a whimsical wander through the minefield of love... 

Shirley & Shirley

Shirley & Shirley

Some partnerships are thrown together at the whim of agents and producers; others seem to fit like Siamese twins of the comedic arts. Shirley & Shirley are Pascale Wilson and Joanna Carolan, two talented comedians who complement each other perfectly... 

W;t

W;t

At some stage in the rehearsal process for this misguided venture, some bright spark decided to site a desk lamp on stage. Not competing with the stage lights, you understand – a 100W bulb would strive rather ineffectively to add its weight to the cause – but pointing towards the audience... 

Your Mum

Your Mum

Overheard at C Soco: “I’d like to see Your Mum – but only if there’s room”. An unpromising box office exchange, perhaps, but the title obscures a fine show. Siobhan O’Hagan, Jennifer Moon and Harriet Fisher – who, they tell us in their programme notes, met at drama school and bonded over their love of Alison Steadman – form a fine comic troupe... 

Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat (A Cricket Tale)

Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat (A Cricket Tale)

It is much to Miles Jupp’s credit that, at no stage in this terrific show, does he venture a pun on the Wankhede Stadium. Infamously irresistible to the cast of Test Match Special, the easy lure of Mumbai’s premier comedy goldmine proved an untapped seam in Jupp’s Indian tale... 

Fly in the Fridge

Fly in the Fridge

In this remarkable one-woman show, Karin de le Penha plays Emily, the author of this autobiographical piece. The Fly in the Fridge tells Emily’s story of her easy slide into drugs and prostitution, a victim of the seedier side of the Sixties subculture in New York City, and of her struggle to reclaim the woman subsumed by addiction... 

I'm No Hero

I'm No Hero

“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls... 

Reveries

Reveries

Close-up magic is a tricky act to sell. For every stadium-rocker magic act, sawing glamorous women in half, there is a magician who relies on sleight of hand and twists of fate. The close attention this demands of an audience is virtually impossible in a large room, as the subtleties of card and coin tricks get lost amongst the crowd... 

Phil Cornwell is Switzerland McNaughtiehorse (and Others)

Phil Cornwell is Switzerland McNaughtiehorse (and Others)

Phil Cornwell is a frighteningly talented man. Best known as the star of Dead Ringers and Stella Street, Cornwell has a quite astonishing impressionistic verve, veering from footballers to rock stars by way of Alan Rickman’s laugh... 

Gemma Goggin: Get Laid or Die Trying

Gemma Goggin: Get Laid or Die Trying

Full disclosure: I was dreading this show. With a host of stand-ups and sketch troupes competing for my attention, was I really going to spend an hour listening to a desperate middle-aged woman expound upon her dismal dating failures? Fuller disclosure: I was wrong... 

Behind the Truth: More Lies - Free

Behind the Truth: More Lies - Free

Behind The Truth is an endearing but frustrating show. Throughout, there are glimmers of invention, and the better sketches are played with a lusty commitment. A knowing take on Deal Or No Deal, featuring Schrödinger’s Cat, is witty and original, and the catchphrase ‘not in front of a lady’ is well conceived and executed... 

Cheeky Beggars Banquet - Free

Cheeky Beggars Banquet - Free

It’s all too easy – and all too dangerous – to dismiss the Free Fringe. A quick flick through the Festival programme, and your eye naturally alights on the household names in the grandstand venues... 

Bud Take the Wheel I Feel a Song Coming On

Bud Take the Wheel I Feel a Song Coming On

Bud Take The Wheel is the new play from Clara Brennan. Acclaimed in 2008 for her short play Rain, Brennan is a ferociously talented writer, here blending themes of violence, jealousy and generational conflict with a keen ear for the rhythms of familial dialogue... 

Jack Whitehall: Learning Difficulties

Jack Whitehall: Learning Difficulties

Jack Whitehall is a man on top of his game. Fearlessly confident, Whitehall holds the audience in the palm of his hand, toying gently before delivering punchline after punchline. Middle-class comedy is a tough act to pull off: social-climbing parents and public school bullying can be dangerous territory with a tough crowd, but the Edinburgh audience holds no alarms... 

Ava Vidal: Lessons I Should Have Learnt

Ava Vidal: Lessons I Should Have Learnt

Ava Vidal was first on my list for this year’s Fringe. After her breakout set on Michael Macintyre’s Comedy Roadshow, former prison officer Vidal’s reputation has grown swiftly, giving her a platform to make the leap from promising newcomer to established star of the comedy firmament... 

Holly Burn - Living and Dying

Holly Burn - Living and Dying

Holly Burn’s new show is a rip-roaring hour of delicious madness. Following on the heels of last year’s At Home With Holly, Living and Dying is surreal, hilarious fun. Burn has an infectious energy and an irresistible charm that gives her all the licence she needs to experiment wildly... 

Fancy a Threesome - Luke McQueen, Jim Campbell, Pat Burtscher

Fancy a Threesome - Luke McQueen, Jim Campbell, Pat Burtscher

Fancy a Threesome, the vehicle for three different and complementary stand-ups, is a peculiarly apposite name. Jim Campbell, self-confessed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall lookalike, is responsible for the comedy foreplay, and he handles the audience adroitly, pressing all the right buttons to get the humour juices flowing... 

Waiting for Lefty

Waiting for Lefty

Waiting for Lefty begins in medias res. Even as we wait in the rain, we are privy to the arguments of a group of cabbies contemplating a strike. As they return from a break in negotiations, we follow them into their union meeting to find ourselves sitting amongst them as discussions continue... 

Inglorious Stereo

Inglorious Stereo

There is an enormous amount to like about Inglorious Stereo. Paul Putner and Glen Richardson owe much – as they acknowledge – to the Two Ronnies, and their admirably shambolic hour of musical comedy sits firmly in the knockabout tradition of the old English variety show... 

Eirlys Bellin: Unaccustomed As I Am

Eirlys Bellin: Unaccustomed As I Am

From bizarre eccentricity to deadpan mundanity, character comedy comes in many guises. Perhaps more than any other routine, the solo character comic has enormous scope to stamp their own unique imprint on the genre... 

Colin Hoult: Enemy of the World

Colin Hoult: Enemy of the World

David Tennant and Robert Peston walk into a bar. They get chatting. They have a few drinks. They get along. Stuff happens. Some months later, Colin Hoult is born. An alluring explanation, perhaps, but even such illustrious parentage couldn’t explain the sheer invention of this terrific show... 

Wild Allegations

Wild Allegations

Written, directed and performed by Edinburgh University students, Wild Allegations centres on Matthew John Curtis, adored actor to his fans, liar, cheat and fraud to his brother and girlfriend...