A few people have asked me for tips of what shows to see at the Fringe. It’s tricky because I know so many wonderful people that are doing shows, and I could easily recommend 100+ brilliant shows for you to see.
But, for what it is worth, with a gun to my head, these are the 15 fringe shows (in no particular order) I would pick if it was all I was allowed, and the special prizes for which I have nominated them, You will be unsurprised to hear that they are pretty much all comedy. If you want theatre recs,dance, music ask someone cultured, I am not your woman.
1. Michael Fabbri: Buffering
Winner of the Barnes Award for: MOST TALENTED COMIC WHO SHOULD BE FAMOUS BUT ISN’T, and, MOST TOLERANT COMIC IN THE WORLD (for being able to consistently work with me without killing me)
Seriously, I have seen this show at various stages in its development, it is BRILLIANT. Michael’s imagination never fails to astound me, and his imagery and ideas are near perfect
20:00 City Cafe (Free)
2. Sara Pascoe Vs The Truth
Winner of the Barnes Award for: PERFORMER I’D MOST LIKE TO BE
I saw a very early preview of this show and it is captivating. I could watch Sara forever, she has such a wonderful and unique style and, most of all, is bloody hilarious
20:00 Assembly, George Square
3. James Acaster, Lawnmower
Winner of the Barnes Award for:COMIC I FEEL MOST PROUD OF DESPITE HAVING NOTHING REMOTELY TO DO WITH HIS SUCCESS
The bits of this show that I have seen are as near to perfect stand up as you can get. Watching James grow into the performer he is today has been one of my biggest pleasures in comedy. I promise you will not regret buying this ticket, James is glorious and different to anything else you’ll see.
19:00, Pleasance Courtyard
4. Wil Hodgson – Leave The Landing Light ON
Winner of the Barnes Award for: MOST CAPTIVATING STORYTELLER
I love watching Wil, his style is very much his own and he brings you so effortlessly into his world, no matter who you are. I love the premise of this show, which talks about the fear of being an 80s kid bombarded with public information films and cold war paranoia. Am VERY excited about seeing this.
5. Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth
Winner of the Barnes Award for: PURE UNADULTERATED JOY
I have never watched Nick Helm and not enjoyed every second. And I have watched him many times. It will have songs, poems, sequins, sweat, props, too much flesh, a beard, and a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And it will be utterly joyous.
16:00 Pleasance Courtyard
6. Sean McLoughlin: Backbone
Winner of the Barnes Award for: COMIC MOST LIKELY TO CRY IF YOU DON’T SEE HIS SHOW
You may not have heard of Sean McLoughlin, and, if that is the case, I suggest you rectify that immediately. Sean is bordering genius, so much so, that I worry for his mental health constantly. I have worked with Sean a lot, and he is one of those comics that makes me think “Dammit, I wish I’d thought of that” more than any other.
18:15, Pravda, Espionage (FREE)
7. Mark Thomas: 100 Acts of Minor Dissent
Winner of the Barnes Award for: SHOW MOST LIKELY TO FEATURE MY NAME IN IT
Having taken part in one of Mark’s Acts of Minor Dissent, I can vouch for how hilarious and wonderful this show will be, with a hefty dose of silliness and serious point making. But, above all, it will be funny as.
8. Bridget Christie – A Bic For Her
Winner of the Barnes Award for: BEING MY FEMINIST HERO
If, like me, you really enjoyed Bridget’s Radio 4 series recently, then this show is definitely for you. In fact, it is for everyone. I saw an early preview of it, and, if I could make every schoolchild and adult watch it, I would. A completely unpatronising and unpreachy look at gender inequality in the modern world. And, above all, it is done in a beautifully original way, a MUST SEE. Well worth getting up early for, trust me.
11.10am, The Stand
9. Peacock and Gamble: Heart-throbs
Winner of the Barnes Award for: SHOW I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH
Peacock and Gamble have been my Fringe highlights for the last 2 years. They are my absolute favourite comedy double act, and you’d have to be a right miserable fucker not to enjoy their show. It’s very silly, but underneath the knockabout silliness, there is a beautifully crafted show. I think they may have killed off Naughty Keith, which is a shame… They also made me say very rude things in their podcast last year. Dirty fucking sexy bastards.
21.45 – Pleasance Courtyard
10. Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Com
Winner of the Barnes Award for: COMIC MOST LIKELY TO TELL YOU HIS SHOW IS SHIT AFTER IT’S WON LOADS OF AWARDS
Romesh’s glass isn’t just half empty, he has broken the glass and cut himself with it. But this overwhelming pessimist is a ridiculously funny fucker, and is destined for huge things. He is also one of my favourite people in comedy. Go along, and shower him with your love and praise. He hates that
18.50, Underbelly, Bristo Square
11. Tig Notaro: Boyish-Girl Interrupted
Winner of the Barnes Award for:COMIC YOU SHOULD SEE WHILE SHE’S IN THE UK OR REGRET IT
Tig Notaro is brilliant, a real inspiration to so many comics. It is so exciting that she will be in Edinburgh, book your tickets NOW so you can say you were there. Trust me on this one.
18.45, Gilded Balloon, Teviot
12. Sarah Millican: Home Bird
Winner of the Barnes Award for: BEING MY MENTOR WHETHER SHE LIKES IT OR NOT
There is not much I can say about why you should see Sarah. She is brilliant. I have seen earlier versions of the show, and it is utterly delightful, as always. Sarah is playing The Stand, so don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the best comics in the country in one of the best comedy venues in the country. It will be sublime, I promise
13. David Sedaris – An Evening With David Sedaris
Winner of the Barnes Award for: BEING MY RADIO HERO
The brilliant essayist, humourist and satirist is in Edinburgh. This is good news. See him.
14. Josh Widdicombe, Incidentally
Winner of the Barnes Award for: WISHING I COULD BE HALF AS GOOD AS HE IS
Josh is, in my humble opinion, the best observational comic out there. He is likeable, his material is relatable, and he is as funny as a human can be. I adore what he does, and he is one of the reasons I started doing stand up myself. There, I said it. SEE HIM.
21.00, Assembly, George Square
15. Hot Dub Time Machine: Best. Party. Ever.
Winner of the Barnes Award for: BEST PLACE TO SEE COMEDIANS DANCING
HDTM was the highlight of Edinburgh 2012. A night of dancing to tunes from 1950-present day in order. It is a brilliant way to let your hair down and boogie the night away. And you will be guaranteed to see drunk famous comedians dancing like loons as it is their after show hangout of choice. Keep an eye out for Romesh Ranganathan, he loses his shit when they play Fresh Prince of Bel Air, you have been warned. Oh, and if you learn the German words to 99 Luftballons before you go, you will be a LEGEND on the night, and you will be carried out on peoples’ shoulders…
00.15, Underbelly, Bristo Square
BARNESY’S SPECIAL MENTIONS
It was so so hard picking just a few shows to see. I would like to give special mentions to the following too, I just ran out of time to plug them as much as those above, but they are AS brilliant:
Have a great Fringe everyone.