Comedy / Feature

Here’s everything from Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018

The celebrations of arts once again takes over the Scottish capital.

2018 marks the 71st outing for the world renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The event sees some of the best performance artists, new and emerging, take to the Scottish capital for a celebratory display of their craft. The city welcomes talent across music, theatre, spoken word and art, with the Fringe perhaps most famous for its deluge of comedy talent.

As in previous years, the latest  Edinburgh Festival Fringe outing welcomes some of the biggest names in comedy, giving their new material a trial run. The heavy hitters sit next to festival favourites, as well as a plethora of new talent making their long-awaited Edinburgh debuts. Each take to one (or more) of hundreds of venues across the city, transporting audiences into a truly unique world.

Last year saw 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues. It even ranks third in the world for ticketed events, behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Over 70 years since it started, in 2017 it saw performers spanning 62 countries.

With so much to see and do, Ticketmaster are once again on hand to find some of the best and brightest. Over the next week, we’ll be updating you here on what’s hot, as well as some quick chats with comedy stars and fans across the city.

Remember to check back regularly for our discoveries and hot tips.

To get us started, here are some of our favourites offering their tips to surviving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Stephen K Amos
When: 16:00 (various dates)
Where: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Nightclub

With two shows at Edinburgh Fringe, it’s Stephen K Amos’ Talk Show that sees him invite friends onto stage for a special live conversation. Bringing together big names from the world of comedy, the show delves into the inner workings of the art, from the rise of the talent to their many hilarious and poignant anecdotes. Amos holds it together well, bringing out their endearing tales. It’s unpredictable, on our visit ranging from the serious to the hilarious, but ultimately looks behind the curtain at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. [BT]

Angela Barnes
When: 19:15 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Beside

Here we have a stand up from Maidstone, sharing observational comedy with a touch of political satire. She’s charming without being saccharin, with a brilliantly relatable tone in which she describes life in the 80s, being a normal woman (compared to what expectations are). Further, she has a refreshing take on some of the biggest topics of the fringe – Brexit, #metoo, and the general chaos the world seems to have moved into. [CA]

Best Of The Fest
When: 00:00 (various dates)
Where: Assembly Hall, The Mound

A showcase event with top names to match the headline venue that hosts it. You’ll get different acts every night but here’s a rundown of some of the comedians we saw.

Phil Nicol – You’ll enjoy very physical, high energy comedy from the Canadian. He’ll wake you up with a start as he darts around the stage enacting this latest thoughts – his energy is what makes him stand out from the comedy crowd – this isn’t just a stand up show it has a full jazz dance routine too.

Brett Goldstein – Hotly tipped up and coming comedian Brett is very British in the way that he is charming, self-deprecating and borderline awkward. He has an endearing style of comedy when comparing US-UK confidence, new-ish relationships and more.

David O’Doherty – One Irish man. One mini keyboard. One hugely successful comedy career. It doesn’t make sense on paper but in the theatre he’s a total joy and definitely someone to see live at some point in your life. [CA]

Frankie Boyle
When: 16:15 (13 August only)
Where: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House – The Ballroom

A master of his class, Frankie Boyle walks out at the Edinburgh Playhouse primed with profanities and offensive opinions perfected to shock. But in his home country of Scotland his slurs are received with nothing but hysteria. Despite touching on subjects that could be considered obvious at this years Fringe, including Brexit, Trump and the #MeToo movement, we’re treated to an hour of expertly delivered rantings.[TC]

Gyles Brandreth
When: 16:30 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance One

Watch our chat with Gyles to find out more about his Break A Leg show.

Jason Byrne
When: 21:00 and 22:30 (various dates)
Where: Assembly Hall

Jason Byrne is angry. Having reached his mid-40s, he’s let go of his cares and social anxieties, and is ready to say things as he sees it. In this instance it’s his anger of helicopter parenting, which he delivers by comparing his upbringing to that of youngsters now. His frustrations are brilliantly delivered, with the whole show unfolding seemingly at random. His effortless style builds towards a furious crescendo, followed by some light comic relief and a dramatic change in tone. All will find something to related to here in his angry, honest, and brilliantly funny portrayal of changing times. [BT]

Sam Campbell
When: 00:15
Where: Monkey Barrel 2

Sam Campbell’s name is on everyone’s lips at Edinburgh Fringe, having been celebrated in his native Australia for his atypical comedy style. Random, physical and massively unpredictable, there are few shows that match the unashamed craziness of Campbell’s The Trough. It really does have to be seen to be believed. [BT]

Alex Edelman
When: 20:00
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar

The winner of Best Newcomer of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014, Alex makes his Edinburgh return after a two year break where he has been busy working as a writer for the TV Series The Great Indoors with comedic actors such as Stephen Fry. He covers his experiences of working with British screen royalty in America, tackling the BAFTAs, and run ins with friends and family whilst skilfully crafting them around a covert escapade which Alex undertook last year; turning up to a White Nationalists meeting as an ‘undercover Jew’ after being invited on social media. The show is craftily conceived and delivered by Eldelman, and you are bound to be shocked and amazed. [AC]

Famous First Words
When: 22:45
Where: Just The Tonic at The Caves – Just The Big Room

Think you know karaoke? Think again. Famous First Words spins the format on its head, inviting willing audience members onto the stage to sing the opening lines of iconic songs. There are no lyrics on the screen; no prompt on when to start. Just three judges checking in on the words, timing and conviction. The result is captivating, making it difficult not to shoot that hand in the air when a favourite track blares through the speakers. Take part or spectate, either way it’s one enjoyable evening to be had by all. [BT]

Pete Firman
When: 20:00 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Beyond

Find out more about Pete Firman’s show in our interview below.

When: Various times, various dates
Where: The Terrace, Symmerhall

Flight pushes the boundaries of immersive theatre – an impressive feat given it’s short 25-minute running time. Taking you on an intense, hyper-real sensory experience aboard a plane, Flight pushes you to change you perspective on life and death, reality and fiction. The latest production from Darkfield (who previously brought us Séance), Flight is a philosophical piece of theatre that’s at times unsettling but always thought-provoking. It’s definitely a flight you should book yourself on before leaving Edinburgh (unless you’re really anxious about flying).

Matt Ford
When: 21:00 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Fourth

Matt’s focus throughout his set is politics. He’s informed, quick and great at highlighting the absurdities in the political landscape that you’re yet to consider. He is scarily accurate at his impressions of the characters we battle with in government, and doesn’t take any prisoners. There’s a Clash joke in there too, so listen out for it. [CA]

Stuart Goldsmith
When: 14:50 (various dates)
Where: Liquid Room Annex – Warehouse

The great thing about the Fringe is that sometimes you can catch seasoned comedy with a slick set totally for free (or pay what you want), and Stuart Goldsmith offers just that. Instantly likeable, he packs in a lot of topics around a loose theme of letting go of things (end of). The show tackles theories including how to manage your parents when they’re old (be warned), being a dad, whilst also discovering some self-truths (for example his relationship to pastries) that the audience can instantly relate too. Go check it out. [CA]

Brett Goldstein
When: 19:00
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Beneath

Find out more about Brett’s What Is Love, Baby Don’t Hurt Me show below.

Ivo Graham
When:18:40 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar

A man seemingly stuck in a responsibility limbo, Ivo Graham reflects on the safety of his childhood and privileged upbringing of Eton education as he tries to accept his adulthood. As a 27 year old man Graham mocks his own insecurities and belated sexual experiences, perfectly contrasted by his current circumstances of being engaged to marry and primed for possible fatherhood with his older fiancée. Immaturely celebrating the severance of the tie to his mother, by breaking the tradition of only replenishing his sock drawer once a year at Christmas, with his own purchase of foot warmers, Graham portrays the modern “man/boy” that’s increasingly common within today’s society. [TC]

Nish Kumar
When: 16:30 (various dates)
Where: Monkey Barrel 1

Considering this is a work in progress, Kumar’s show is very polished. So much so that he regularly and confidently verges off script to interact with and bounce off the audience – a skill that he has well and truly down, providing a personal touch to the show. Filled with political commentary as one would expect from Kumar, he shares his take on the hottest of current affairs with brilliant wit and expert delivery. [TC]

Paul Merton’s Impro Chums
When: 16:00
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – The Grand

A seasoned performer and one of the best in the craft, Paul Merton returns with his Impro Chums after missing last year’s Fringe for the first time since his debut. The ease, familiarity, and natural chemistry between the group is really brought to life on stage, fuelled by the audience for an hour of laughs. Every performance is totally unique meaning one viewing is sometimes not enough, with the variety of Badminton playing zebras to Slovenia yachters. The group attempt to keep the comedy lighthearted and witty, avoiding most current affairs and bringing a welcome break from some other politically heavy shows. Don’t miss this taster ahead of the 2019 UK tour as you’re sure to want seconds. [JD]

Lazy Susan
When: 16:20 (various dates)
Where: Assembly George Square Theatre – The Box

Word spreads fast here in Edinburgh, especially for atypical sketch comedy duo Lazy Susan whose shows have been consistently selling out. Think surrealism at its best, delivered with an unparalleled charm by two clearly emerging stars of comedy. The hour jumps between the whimsical and the macabre at a moments’ notice, held together by a deliberately loose thread of a plot that allows the pair to have a serious amount of fun. It’s a break from the traditional, and one hell of a wild ride. [BT]

Christopher Macarthur-Boyd
When: 22:15
Where: Gilded Balloon Teviot – The Turrett

At just five foot three, a point made very clear, Macarthur-Boyd commands the stage with sheer confidence alone. He tells tales of his early life in Glasgow, his Australian girlfriend, and his love of wrestling. It’s all delivered with abundant charm, and a quick-fire wit that is set to propel Macarthur-Boyd to the top echelons of comedy. He’s destined to be a mainstay at Edinburgh Festival Fringe for years to come. [BT]

Chris McCausland
When: 18:35 (various dates)
Where: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Buttercup

Chris McCausland offers an endearing insight into his life as a blind man. His show heavily focuses on his experience of being a husband and father with his love for his family shining throughout, giving a new meaning to the term ‘dad jokes’. But don’t let this fool you, it’s not all lovey and cute: McCausland’s hour is filled with cutting and crude remarks and thought provoking humour. [TC]

My Left / Right Foot
When: 18:10 (various dates)
Where: Assembly Roxy – Central

The National Theatre of Scotland team up with Birds of Paradise (Scotland’s leading accessible arts company) to produce what is being touted as one of the best shows at this year’s Fringe. My Left / Right Foot tackles equality within a local am-dram society with satire and wit, straddling the lines of offense and poignancy. It challenges the portrayal of disabled people within popular culture whilst humorously conveying this to the audience, all the while integrating Audio Description, BSL and Captions into each performance, making in the most inclusive show at this year’s fringe. Do not miss this outstanding new musical!

Brennan Reece
When: 18:00 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs

Renowned for his storytelling prowess, Reece returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for another dose of introspective comedy, this time evaluating his relationship with the unnamed girl with pockets on her dress. Telling the story of a rapidly blossoming whirlwind romance, Reece mixes his humour with brilliantly engaging delivery, a pinch of the crude, and a serious amount of heart. [BT]

Jess Robinson
When: 20:30 (various dates)
Where: Assembly George Square Gardens – Palais Du Variete

Find out more about Jess’ show in our interview

Daniel Sloss
When: 19:00 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance at EICC

Sloss opens his show with a warning that things are about to get, well, offensive. For the most part, he sticks to his promise, finding humour in the female mystique, bro culture, and the troubles of being a male who simply enjoys the company of kids. His jokes may be close to the bone, but Daniel Sloss holds it together with his casual, occasionally nonchalant, delivery. Put simply, it’s hilarious. By the time Sloss lets go of the comedy for his characteristic serious closing, this time tackling his recent encounter with sexual assault, the audience are hanging on his every word, and rightly so. [BT]

Soweto Gospel Choir
When: 14:30 (various dates)
Where: Assembly Main Hall, The Mound

Like a shot in the arm of pure energy, this show gets you in the mood for maximum fun at the Fringe. This year, the two-time Grammy Award-winning choir are celebrating Nelson Mandela’s centenary by showcasing songs full of uplifting messages and life-affirming sentiments. The high-energy performance includes choreography that’s guarantee to get you moving (even in the middle of the afternoon) and features songs of worships (including an epic rendition of international classic Amazing Grace). In short, this is real gospel music, in all it’s uplifting and inspirational glory.

Thinking Drinkers
When: 20:35 (various dates)
Where: Underbelly, Bistro Square – Ermintrude

Find out more about Pub Crawl in our interview.

Chris Washington
When: 20:30 (various dates)
Where: Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs

Last year saw Washington nominated for the Best Newcomer Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and 12 months later he’s using his experience of breaking into comedy for the hilarious You Beauty!. Packing in his job as a postman to pursue comedy full time, Washington finds consistent laughs in his (self-admittedly embellished) year. From spearheading a strike mere months before leaving his job, to inviting his best friends to the Comedy Awards, the show easily cements Washington as far more than a one-hit wonder. His delivery is remarkably casual, inviting a genuinely friendly atmosphere into the Upstairs venue. The message is to follow your dreams, and Washington is certainly living his at Fringe. [BT]

As more of our favourites are added to this page, check out our Comedy Guide for much more.

Words by Ben Tipple, Camille Ainsworth, Tom Cummins, Annie Callaghan and James Dickson.

Share post