Continuing with our Edinburgh Fringe Festival guide, where there is literally something for everyone, how can you narrow it down? Here are a few highlights in several categories to help you choose… Links to parts 1- 5 below.
After two and a half years of no travelling at all, some of New Zealand’s biggest comedians are descending on Edinburgh for the festival season.
New Zealand pop icons Two Hearts are bringing their explosive style of musical comedy to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year with their show: We’re Pregnant and the Baby is Music. An electric hour of incredibly catchy pop numbers, and some killer dance moves to match.
Two Hearts: We’re Pregnant and the Baby is Music, Assembly George Square (The Blue Room), 8:50pm, 3-28 August (not 17th), www.assemblyfestival.com
New Zealand actor, writer (co-writer of Starstruck on BBC Three/HBO Max) and comedian Nic Sampson is set to perform his incredible one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. A comedy storytelling extravaganza about the insane real-life story of the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Marathon. 32 athletes entered– with only 14 finishing. Nic Sampson brings to life the unbelievable yet true story of one of the dumbest sporting events of all time.
Nic Sampson: Marathon, 1904, Pleasance Courtyard (The Cellar) 4:40pm, 3-29 August (not 15th), www.pleasance.co.uk
Billy T Award nominee and the ‘Little Alex Horne’ of NZ Taskmaster, Paul Williams is ready to take the stage again in his latest variety show In the Moonlight. Join Paul for a magical multi-faceted one-man variety hour, showcasing his dry humour, infectious music, and idiosyncratic view of the world. At its core, In the Moonlight tells the story of Paul falling in love with a girl at the Natural History Museum in London, told through his trademark understated approach to comedy and remarkably poignant, charming musical numbers.
Paul Williams: In The Moonlight, Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 4:30pm, 3-28 August (not 17th), www.assemblyfestival.com
Cheeky, topical, and relentlessly silly, Snort sees New Zealand’s finest and funniest comedians build an intricate hour of far-fetched, high-stakes comedy, entirely made up on the spot. They take one word from the audience, which turns into a monologue, then to a series of scenes, growing increasingly wild and hilarious. With a rotating cast every night there’s absolutely no chance of seeing the same show twice! Edinburgh’s cast includes Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo, Nic Sampson, Eli Mathewson, Laura Daniel, Paul Williams, Brynley Stent, James Roque, and Joseph Moore.
Snort, Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs), 11:00pm, 4-28 August (not 17th), www.pleasance.co.uk
Thunder From Down Under
Another amazing selection of acts who’ve travelled halfway across the world to perform at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Struth!
Fresh from a Melbourne Comedy Festival Most Outstanding Show nomination, award-winning comedian Danielle Walker will be debuting at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with her hilarious yet touching, critically acclaimed show, Nostalgia. Growing up in rural Australia, Danielle presents a scrapbook of memories about family and all the wonderful mishaps and experiences we share with the people closest to our hearts..
Danielle Walker: Nostalgia, Assembly George Square Studios (Studio Four), 3:35pm, 3-28 August (not 15th), www.assemblyfestival.com
Armed with his emblematic charm, Emo Majok tells the fascinating story of his life in his new comedy hour: African Aussie. Beginning in an Ethiopian refugee camp, to settling in Perth, Emo has burst onto the Australian comedy scene. He touches on these formative childhood experiences in his show, approaching them with his captivating charismatic attitude and witty comedy stylings.
Emo Majok: African Aussie, Underbelly, 8:30pm, 3-29 August (not 15th), www.underbelly.co.uk
All of these spectacular comedians have a background in, you guessed it, clowning! After years of training at a professional level, it’s an influence that can be seen in their respective shows.
A comedian, actor, classically trained clown, and high school drama teacher – Elf Lyons can do it all! Join Elf in a eccentric and extraordinary delve into the macabre. Her new show Raven is a heady mix of comedy and horror, bound to have you laughing one minute, and screaming the next!
Elf Lyons: Raven, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Dining Room), 8:30pm, 3-29 August (not 15th), www.gildedballoon.co.uk
Choosh is a touching yet eccentric homage to migration, and perfomer Julia Masli’s Eastern European roots. It tells the story of a hungry Estonian clown travelling to America in search of her holy grail – a humble hot dog. A melting pot of gags, clowning, and hilarity, Julia explores belonging and displacement while making you cry with laughter!
Julia Masli: Choosh, Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 9:55pm, 3–28 August (not 17th), www.assemblyfestival.com
Packed with absurdity and creative physical comedy, Luke Rollason’s Bowerbird is a psychedelic domestic breakdown that will have the audience questioning and totally rethinking the mundanity of everyday life. It’s a show about hoarding, nesting, and choosing between people and things – which for a prop comedian, is a significantly harder thing to do. It’s a perfect example of Luke’s trademark absurdity in all its glory. This time he’s wearing his hearth on his sleeve.
Luke Rollason: Bowerbird, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Hive 2), 12:30pm, 3-28 August, www.monkeybarrelcomedy.com
For these two acts, performing is in the family – they’re brother and sister! Let’s hope there’s no sibling rivalry…
In a society that demands we strive for perfection, why not choose to celebrate mediocrity instead? We are not born flawless, so why not accept who you are, warts and all? Actress and rising star Eme Essien discusses this and more in her new one-woman show: Flat shoes in the Club?. Follow Eme as she gets ready for a night out, discussing the beauty of inadequacy and how to accept (maybe even love!) the messy parts of yourself.
Eme Essien: Flat Shoes in the Club?, Underbelly (Bristo Square), 3:45pm, 2-28 August (not 16th), www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk
As seen on Britain’s Got Talent, the spectacular Magical Bones will be in Edinburgh with his show: Soulful Magic. Bones will bring a series of powerful illusions intertwined with captivating stories, beautiful music, lots of laughter and – of course – some unbelievable break-dance moves.
Physical theatre has the power to take your breath away. Whether it’s stunning dance routines, unbelievable acrobatics, or mind-melting object manipulation, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be forgetting these acts anytime soon!
Award-winning contemporary dance company Phluxus2 Dance Collective are known for breaking the mold – angel-monster is no different. angel-monster is a contemporary dance installation that walks the line between angelic beauty and monstrous seduction. Derived from deep personal narratives, it features commentary on gender equality, and the growing public stand against predators through mesmerising dance and physical theatre.
Phluxus2: angel-monster, Assembly Checkpoint, 3:10pm, 3-28 August, www.assemblyfestival.com
A Robot, an Alien, and a Human - what could go wrong? Melon The Human’s show Assume People Like You represents the struggles of making a connection in this modern age, serving as a dry, exaggerated outlook on the difficulties Thomas has navigated whilst trying to connect with his fellow humans. It’s a fascinating portrayal of the three different personalities he adopts in order to assimilate; the person he tries to be, the person he wants to be, and the person he becomes due to clearly overthinking the connection process (as we all do). When it’s easier to spin a giant steel cube than work on your dating profile, perhaps it’s easier to swipe right and just Assume People Like You.
Melon The Human: Assume People Like You, Assembly Roxy (Upstairs), 2:30pm, 3-28 August, www.assemblyfestival.com
Australia’s most diverse circus company have created COLLISON – a thrilling corporeal performance filled with ground breaking acrobatics and moving physical poetry. The show features six young athletes who move seamlessly in a range of styles of dance including hip-hop, break dancing and pop. Teamed together with two of Brisbane’s most dynamic circus houses, Casus Creations and Mad Dance House, this cross-pollination of circus and dance combines energy and rhythm with captivating scenes of fluidity, elegance, and grace. It’s enough to spellbind any audience!
Casus Creations & Cluster Arts: COLLISION, Assembly George Square Gardens (Piccolo), 2:55pm, 3-28 August, www.assemblyfestival.com
Why not kick off your Edinburgh Festival Fringe experience with these three hilarious acts? All keen fans of the beautiful game, you’re sure to find something to cheer about!
Joseph Parsons is a football fanatic, comedian, and an advocate for LGBTQI+ issues in the sporting world. In his new show Equaliser, he asks: what role do sports biggest organisations play in equality? With UEFA banning the illumination of the rainbow flag on a German stadium, whilst simultaneously championing equality in Wembley; how are sport’s biggest organisations scoring so many own goals? Joseph mixes personal, intimate storytelling with spot-on observations delivered with a high energy friendliness – you won’t know what’s hit you.
Joseph Parsons: Equaliser, The Mash House Bottle Room (Just The Tonic), 3:30pm, 4-28 August, www.edinburgh.justthetonic.com
Comedian and Stevenage F.C devotee Jake Farrell is debuting this August with his comedy hour, Sky. It tells the fateful story of his relocation back to Stevenage (his hometown) with his girlfriend during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to retreat from the worldwide catastrophe that was unfolding, he instead found himself in a very different kind of hell: suburbia. Farrell deftly depicts the incidents that turned his prodigal return into a series of unfortunate events: rat infestations, mad neighbours, a diagnosis of endometriosis and a dog who never shuts up (to name a few). Sky is a cautiously hopeful look at how, sometimes, it’s only when something bad happens that you learn to truly appreciate the good.
Jake Farrell: Sky, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), 8:40pm, 3-28 August (not 17th), www.pleasance.co.uk
During the worst of the global pandemic, while comedian Ali Woods was trying to survive lockdowns with a close friend, he was shocked to discover something unexpected about himself – that he is, in fact, a terrible friend. This is the hilarious and heart-felt biographical story about Ali’s attempts to become more helpful and less… himself. He started posting comedy sketches online during the pandemic to help with his mental health, and since then has gained millions of views and likes (culminating in over 60,000 followers on Instagram and over 50,000 on TikTok), even being featured on LadBible, Buzzfeed and ASOS.
Ali Woods: Best Friend Ever, Underbelly (The Clover Room), 5:25pm, 3-28 August (not 15th), www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk
No stranger to the stage, these performers have found great success in the world of theatre. Like the ancient Greeks, they combine comedy and tragedy in their shows – unlike the Greeks, they don’t wear togas.
Actor, writer, and comedian Richard Hardisty will debut in Edinburgh this August with his captivating show Silly Boy. In Silly Boy, Rich touches on some of the more challenging parts of his life, discussing his experiences with an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, BPD, and heroin abuse. Rich aims to tackle these heavy subjects with a light touch – Silly Boy is about celebrating the beauty and silliness of it all, rather than the darkness.
Richard Hardisty: Silly Boy, Pleasance Courtyard (Below), 4:30pm, 3-29 August (not 15th), www.pleasance.co.uk
Following a sensational run of her previous show Ellipsis (for which she received 8 four-star reviews), British-Lebanese writer and comedian Isabelle Farah is back with a new, more comedic show: Irresponsabelle. Irresponsabelle is about the trials and tribulations of growing up – and how to have a sense of humour about it. Touching on relatable topics such as life stages, getting older, and embarrassingly bad decision making. Hilarious and high-spirited, she brings humour into her life’s ups and downs, discussing all the choices that have toed the balance between chaos and order, and ultimately how to navigate the path to being a responsabelle adult.
Isabelle Farah: Irresponsabelle, Assembly (The Box), 3:45pm, 3-29 August, www.assemblyfestival.com
Being a parent is a never-ending job. From changing nappies to raising a teenager, there’s always something to do, and always something to say about it!
When she was 11, comedian Harriet Kemsley designed a dream holiday destination called ‘Honeysuckle Island’. It had waterfalls and ziplines, wild animals and everything a preteen could ever wish for. And on rediscovering her design last year Harriet spotted that she’d also included a cellulite machine. Since having a baby daughter at the end of 2021, Harriet is reassessing societal pressures on women, bringing a funny, light, and important message of self-acceptance, embracing one’s uniqueness and Harriet’s unusual solutions to current beauty trends.
Harriet Kemsley: Honeysuckle Island, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Carnivore 2), 9:10pm, 2-25 August (not 15th), www.monkeybarrelcomedy.com
Actress, writer, and comedian Lucy Porter has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe many times to critical acclaim, returning this year with Wake Up Call, a show about bin collection schedules, cats, school fair booze tombolas, and the unwanted wake up calls we all receive in life. This is utter silliness, with a dollop of wisdom on top. To put it best, this is comedy for middle aged women and anyone who loves them! If you’ve ever wanted to find out what your mum, your wife or your eccentric aunties are really thinking, this is the show for you.
Lucy Porter: Wake Up Call, Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Forth), 5:20pm, 3-20 August (not 15th), www.assemblyfestival.com
In his brand-new show A Father and The Sun, actor and comedian Chris Gethard presents a hilarious contemplation on becoming a parent – from the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany new parenthood, to the inevitable re-examining of one’s own childhood. In becoming a father himself, Chris is coming to understand the seemingly inexplicable choices his own father once made – or trying to.
Chris Gethard: A Father and the Sun, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Billiard Room), 6:00pm, 3-28 August (not 16th), www.gildedballoon.co.uk