There’s a magic to the Edinburgh Fringe that makes every year different. The vast array of choice can sometimes leave you with a case of FOMO or cast adrift in an ocean of entertainment without a clue where to start.
To save you some trouble, I’ve done some research to find out what acts are taking something innovative, thought-provoking, fun or new to the Fringe that will enhance your festival experience.
Whether you’re looking for comedy, theatre, burlesque or more, add this to your list of must-see acts with these top picks from my personal favourites to help curate your unique Edinburgh experience.
Succubus Fringe Edition- Just The Tonic at The Tron
Razor-sharp women’s satirical magazine, Succubus, hosted by editor Kat Sadler, brings you a mixed-bill hour of comedy championing new female comedy writers and stand-ups. Featuring some of the best and brightest comedy writers in the UK who, between them, have credits on The Now Show, Dead Ringers, The Daily Mash, The Mash Report, The News Quiz and more.
Queens of Sheba – Nouveau Riché – Underbelly, Cowgate
Queens of Sheba tells the stories of four black women who have been turned away from a night club for ‘being too black’ (based on the Dstrkt night spot incident of 2015). The drama focuses on the rise of Misogynoir (misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias). It is the story of strong passionate women who fight to overcome the terrors of oppression in a racist and sexist society.
Heidi Regan – Heidi vs Sharks – Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Below
Winner of BBC New Comedy Award 2017 and So You Think You’re Funny 2016, Heidi Regan brings her debut show to the Edinburgh Fringe. In Heidi vs Sharks, the aforementioned Heidi explores our relationship with an increasingly confusing world via the medium of bad shark films (starring the aforementioned sharks). Topics covered include religion, the NHS and what makes Shark Attack III the Godfather III of bad shark films.
Daliso Chaponda – What the African Said – Gilded Balloon at the Museum
Britain’s Got Talent and Amanda Holden’s Golden Buzzer act, the Malawian-born comedian stars in his debut stand-up tour after capturing the nation’s hearts on television and garnering over eight million Facebook views and nine million on Youtube.
Bryony Twydle – Flamingo – Underbelly, Bristo Square
Character comedian Bryony Twydle (BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama, E!’s The Royals) presents her debut Edinburgh show. Join Bryony as she presents her chaotic collection of interconnected characters. Like Sylvanian families, but less furry.
Kate Rigg and Slanty Eyed Mama – Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show – theSpace on the Mile
East meets West in this wild mash-up of comedy, electric violin, characters, spoken word and songs from legendary AmerAsian duo Slanty Eyed Mama. It’s all about race and represent-Asian: identity politics, bowl cuts, nail salons, Hello Kitty hats, gay Pokémon, math nerds, those gold cats with waving arms.
Koko Brown – WHITE – Pleasance Courtyard Beside
A solo show about identity, being a mixed-race black woman and always feeling like an outsider. Blending live vocal looping and spoken word, WHITE carefully considers the concept of mixed-race privilege, tries to connect clashing cultures and explores what it means to grow up mixed race in contemporary Britain.
Lolly Jones – Fifty Shades of May – Assembly Roxy
Lolly (BBC Three/Comedy Central) lampoons political figures in this character comedy/burlesque hybrid show. As Theresa May, she will taunt and tease in Brussels and in fields of wheat. Featuring footage of Liam Hourican as Jacob Rees-Mogg (Murder in Successville/Tracey Ullman’s Show).
Siblings – Acting Out – Underbelly – George Square
After a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, part-time character comedians and full-time sisters Maddy and Marina Bye are coming back for another bite of the cherry, this time with Gaulier-trained clowning (no pie), intensely serious acting (some pie) and a whole lot of deep-rooted familial issues (pie).
Mele Brooms – Void – Summerhall
Based on JG Ballard’s cult novel Concrete Island, VOID meshes experimental dance and abstract glitch-video landscapes. Taking in typically Ballardian themes of dystopian worlds, liminal spaces and urban paranoia, Mele Broomes performs risk-taking choreography to the backdrop of an industrial soundscape.
Jeremy Nicholas – After Dinner Stories from My Disastrous Broadcasting Career – Gilded Balloon Teviot
Sony Award-winning broadcaster Jeremy Nicholas brings his hilarious debut hour. Based on true-life stories from 27 years of trying not to get fired on TV and radio with the BBC. There was the time he reported on the face of Elvis in the blue veins of a cheese or his catastrophic mistake to a global TV audience during London 2012. You’ll also get the inside track on the ‘dreadful celebrities’ he’s interviewed.
It’s True, It’s True, It’s True – Underbelly, Cowgate
Fringe First and Total Theatre Award-winning Breach (Tank, The Beanfield) restage the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Based on surviving court transcripts, this new play dramatises the seven-month trial that gripped Renaissance Rome, and asks how much has changed in the last four centuries.
Eggbox Comedy – The Man Presents: Women – Assembly George Square Studios Four
What happens to the women that men can’t write? In this showcase of strong female characters, a group of Cambridge’s finest lady and non-binary comics will endeavour to find out. Fresh from every screen and stage ever, the cast-offs, the sidekicks, the nonspecific love interests and the straight-up plot devices come together to stick it to the man. Specifically, one man in particular – the writer.