The Fringe is far more than lads in t-shirts with haircuts chatting about things. There’s a myriad exciting special events and one-offs featuring the more adventurous side of comedy.
Here’s our pick of those shows with a difference.
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Puns, puns and nothing but puns (and maybe some wordplay depending on your definition of things)! Bec Hill’s consistently sold out London gig is making a return to Edinburgh, bringing top comics from the circuit pun-slinging it out. Previous gigs have included Sara Pascoe, Max & Ivan, Thom Tuck, Ben Target and many more.
Aug 7 and 14, 6.05pm
We caught this last year as a free show, with John Robertson trapping his audience in a fiendish game to get out of a ‘Dark Room’. Set up like an old-style text adventure, The Dark Room is an addictive experience of dented hopes and blasted frustration as you try to work your way through Roberton’s complex system of commands and brick walls. Just don’t pick ‘Joseph Stalin’
Aug 1 – 25, 8.40pm
£8 – £10
The much-deserved winner of last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, Dr Brown is back with a one-off all-day event where he will put on eight improvised hour-long shows, each influenced by the previous until a completed (presumably brilliant) show is complete. You can even see the whole thing for £40 if that’s what you’re into.
Aug 13, hourly shows Noon to 7pm
£7 per show or £40 for the whole day
A list of permitted heckles, partial nudity, mess, jokes in French, Phill Jupitius doing sudoku dressed as a viking and a man recognising car sirens by sound alone. What do they have in common? They are all part of the ACMS experience. Hosted by Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts this club is a heaven for anyone who likes their comedy weird and experimental. We will be there. Guests already lined-up include Tony Law, Robin Ince and Ed Aczel.
Aug 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 11.30pm
The Stand Comedy Club
The Fringe event of 2011 is back, with top sketch act Max and Ivan leading a cast of comedians in a battle against proper real wrestlers. The last event starred the likes of Russell Kane, Colin Hoult and Adam Riches, complete with leotards and sweat, taking on “The Vigilante” Johnny Moss and pals in a night of complete, absurd mayhem. Confirmed captains are Tim Vine and Ardal O’Hanlon. Expect brilliance.
Aug 13, 11pm
The mysterious Canadian comic is little-known in this county, but his association with Stewart Lee has found him a burgeoning audience of hardcore comedy fans who know an overseas legend when they see one. Why Baconface? Well, he wears a Mexican wrestler mask covered in bacon. It’s simple really.
Aug 3 – 25, 1.20pm
The Stand II
The most wonderful show I have ever seen at the Fringe is probably the aptly self-described Absolutely Amazing Adventures of the Singing Acupuncturist – a tour de force one-woman musical contemplating the futility of artistic aspiration and redefining cultural expectations. Unfortunately, some reviewers didn’t agree with me, with this show the worst-reviewed effort at the Fringe in 2011 according to The List, including such unflattering comments as “abysmal and close to unwatchable”; the “visceral desperation of a woman extolling the virtues of following your dreams to an empty room” and “a device to regurgitate self-help nonsense and shoe horn a list of songs with the word ‘dream’ in the title that come off more like bad karaoke”. Basically, I want more singing acupuncturists, and this is probably a good place to try find one.
Aug 3 – 24, 12.30pm
Bristo Bar and Kitchen
Talking of terrible shows, why not see the greatest bad film ever made at midnight? For Tommy Wiseau’s magnum opus is really the pinnacle of utterly compelling unwatchability, ticking all the boxes of dead-eyed acting, dead-brained scripting and lots of nipples Watch out for the spoons.
Aug 4, 11, 18, 25, 23.59pm
Assembly George Square
Soon to be an annual Fringe favourite, this is the cabaret experience to test the improvisational skills of any comedian. Each act is given a brand new set list just as they head on to stage, before spending the next 10 minutes using their honed comic minds to create a whole new set based on what’s written down. Chaos and unexpected brilliance ensue.
Aug 1 – 24, 11pm
£11.50 – £14
It’s that kids show, but live! Each day, two comedians will go up against an audience member in a dungeon filled with fantastical threats. Who will survive and escape the doom of being transformed into pixels? Head along and find out.
July 31 – Aug 25, 5.30pm
Gilded Balloon Teviot
£9.50 – £11.50
Other Edinburgh Festival Fringe recommendations
- Best stand-up comedy shows at the Fringe
- Best sketch and character comedy at the Fringe
- Best North American comedians at the Fringe
- Best free comedy shows at the Fringe
- Best musical comedy acts at the Fringe
- Special shows and one-offs at the Fringe