Ahead of their fantastic Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, the Pleasance Theatre Trust present a comedy preview season full of huge comedic names, noteworthy newcomers and international talent at their London home. For audiences that can’t make it up to Edinburgh, or for comedy fans who can’t get enough of their favourites, The Pleasance is the place to be for new and exciting comedy from the UK and beyond.
For the first time The Pleasance is kicking off the preview season with a free showcase show on Tuesday 30th May, hosted by Mark Watson and live streamed on NextUp. Showcasing short sets from some of the newcomers in the season and those heading to Edinburgh, this is a first taste of the incredible Edinburgh line up on offer this August.
Established favourites of the comedy scene return to delight London audiences this summer. Crizards (22nd June) are back with a wonky war epic, This Means War, directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Jordan Brookes. Following her acclaimed, sell-out debut hour, Celya AB (30th June) returns: expect tales of romance, a hologram, and a near-death experience in Thorpe Park in Second Rodeo. EGG: Absolutely Fine (8th July) is the fresh new show from Anna Leong Brophy (Shadow & Bone; This Is Going to Hurt) and Emily Lloyd-Saini (Code 404; Catastrophe).
Best Newcomer nominee in 2019, Huge Davies (11th July) is back and he’s doing a Whodunnit. Chloe Petts (17th July) also returns with If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, fresh from her smash hit 2022 Fringe and Soho Theatre sell-out debut. Crying in TK Maxx is a brutally honest but fair appraisal of the men in her life from Tamsyn Kelly (19th July). Chortle Award 2023 finalists Flat & the Curves (22nd July) bring their self-penned songs celebrating sex and sisterhood in Divadom. Rosie Holt (28th July) returns to tight-rope the thin line between politics and entertainment with THAT’S POLITAINMENT!.
There’s also the opportunity for audiences to catch side-splitting newcomers ahead of their Edinburgh debuts. From Portugal’s biggest young comedy star, What If? is André de Freitas’s (2nd June) show about pursuing your dreams with an unwavering spirit of optimism. Directed by Adam Brace, join John Tothill (3rd June) for The Last Living Libertine, an evening of exaggeration, emancipation and dense theoretical speculation. Much-discussed rising star Mamoun Elagab (5th June) shares his unfiltered, idiosyncratic and unorthodox world view in Why I Love White People. Comedian and failed child actor Lulu Popplewell (6th June) explores the links between Love Actually, smoking crack, the Daily Mail and sunburn in Actually, Actually. Money Princess is the hotly anticipated debut show from the blunt and disturbed perspective of Mary O’Connell (7thJune/27th July).
Inspired by YouTube relaxation playlists, William Stone (9th June) asks you to put your feet up in Lofi Jokes to Study/Relax to. Funny Women Finalist Bronwyn Sweeney (21st June/26th July) teaches audiences how to build their own personal brand in Off-Brand. Join Freya Parker (20th June/27th June) as she navigates the struggles of trying to remain cheeky when it’s raining trauma in It Ain’t Easy Being Cheeky. William Thompson (23rd June) grew up disabled on a Northern Irish council estate, where people aren’t known to be sympathetic; here he talks about The Hand You’re Dealt. Fresh from SIX the Musical, join Annabel Marlow (23rd June) as she presents Is This Okay??.
NHS psychiatrist, award-winning comedian and Penguin-published author Benji Waterstones (24th June/22nd July) presents You Don’t Have to Be Mad to Work Here. Breakthrough Comedian of the Year Dan Jones (26th June) attempts to prove that love exists. Darran Griffiths (28th June), the BBC New Comedy shortlisted and two-time British Comedian of the Year semi-finalist brings his debut hour, Inconceivable, tackling infertility and IVF.
Kirsty Mann (1stJuly) reveals her ridiculous true story of subterfuge in Skeletons. Join Adrian Bliss (3rd – 5thJuly) on a wild ride through history in Inside Everyone, and his variety show Adrian Bliss & Friends (31st May/1st June). Nothing in life is black and white and Alexandra Haddow (3rd July) says the grey part is a lot more fun in Not My Finest Hour. Welsh, Brown, Gay, Gen-Z comedian Leila Navabi (4th July) presents Composition, an audacious punk musical comedy show. Leicester Square New Comedian and Musical Comedy Awards finalist Matty Hutson (10th July) bares his sensitive soul in Don’t Hold Back.
Viral sensation Horatio Gould (12th July) brings his hotly anticipated debut hour to Pleasance, as he explores if it’s no longer okay to be okay. Join Northern powerhouse Paddy Young (18th July), one of comedy’s fastest rising stars, for Hungry, Horny, Scared. As seen on BBC1 and Comedy Central, Tadiwa Mahlunge (20th July) brings his exciting debut hour, Inhibition/Exhibition. Skin Pigeon is an hour of characters, comedy, content and costumes from Chortle’s Best Newcomer 2023 Lorna Rose Treen (25th July).
International acclaimed acts also feature, with two female powerhouses from across the pond. Quick-witted New Yorker Janine Harouni (2nd June/29th June/24th July) is back with Man’oushe exploring her Arab roots, pregnancy, and what happens when your mail-order DNA test does not go to plan. In her debut Pleasance show, California native Liz Guterbock (28th July) explores belonging and whether it’s possible to stay in love with life as we grow old(er).
A little bit of magic rounds out this fantastic season. Sharp and charmingly surreal, Huge is a hilarious modern magic show from Pete Heat (8thJune). Join magician and mind reader Tom Brace (19thJune) for a journey into the past that you simply won’t forget in A Trick Down Memory Lane.
It’s a season not to be missed this summer at The Pleasance – get those tickets whilst you can! Tickets are available at www.pleasance.co.uk, with a fantastic offer of three £6 shows for £15, meaning audiences can see even more comedy for less.