For regular Fringegoers who aim to tick all the most talked-about and cultest shows off your list, I’m going to make a prediction: you’ve seen Spank! before. I’m right, right? Well, whether you’re a Spank! virgin or if it’s an annual pilgrimage for you, I have one word of advice as it enters its twentieth and final year - avoid.

If you want to relive supposed past glories, preserve the memory and take a punt elsewhere

Year after year, word has reached my ears of this wild debauchery-filled night of outrageous comedy and guaranteed nudity, and after eight years, I have finally Spanked. To say it did not live up to its reputation would be an understatement.

The hosts Alexis Dubus and Sikisa are clearly able performers but did little to generate an atmosphere in the packed out room, or give the show any kind of unique feel you couldn’t find in any old generic mixed bill comedy night. The lineup consisted of a variety of forms of comedy – mostly stand-up, with a dose of sketch and musical comedy thrown in.

On the first Saturday of the Fringe, you’d expect a cult hit with a reputation for being a raucous affair to pull in some star talent. There were seven acts and the first five would each have warranted one or two stars (Stokes and Summers, Alex Kealy, Caitlin Cook, Sharlin Jahan and Erika Euler). The penultimate act was mostly-one-liner comic Ryan Cullen, whose show is the only one any reasonably discerning comedy fan might want to see after a 10-minute taster. The headliner was an off-form – but still decent – John Hastings, incapable of bombing but not able to rescue a failing night.

Whoever is in charge of booking Spank! either has an agenda that supersedes prioritising the audience’s optimal enjoyment, or simply knows very little about comedy. The ‘legendary’ 60-second opportunity for an audience member (today, three members) to share their members while promoting their show is the only thing separating Spank! from your bog-standard open mic night.

If you’ve seen Spank! before and want to relive supposed past glories, preserve the memory and take a punt elsewhere. If you’ve not, and you want to try it while you can, same advice. Of course, as with all rotating lineups, there’s a chance I just got unlucky and a night of headlining legends awaits you. But I doubt it.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Victor Black

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Spank! returns for an incredible 20th and final year with hilarious hosts, awesome comedians and gratuitous nudity. Showcasing the most exciting comedy and cabaret on the Fringe, don't miss the 'best wild night out' (Scotland on Sunday) at the festival! 'Comedy and legendary party night... if you haven't experienced this night, get down there right away!' (Time Out). 'It's raunchy, raucous and ridiculous. Utterly and absolutely hilarious' ***** ( 'Everything you could hope for in a late-night comedy showcase... absolutely must-see' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Atmosphere is electric... you just don't quite know what is going to happen... superb' ***** (

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