The Leicester Comedy Festival kicked off this week, running to February 26 yet another host of established acts and newcomers putting on finely hone, completed shows and works-in-progress shows at venues across the city.
As usual, it’s a packed programme, so to save you a lot of time here are our tips for who to see…
Best of the Edinburgh Festival
Leicester is a great place to catch the highlights from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe this February. The two big winners of the 2016 Fringe are putting on shows: Scott Gibson‘s (Fri 17 Feb, 6:15pm) show about his brain haemorrhage scooped Best Newcomer, while Richard Gadd’s eye opening and ambitious show ‘Monkey see, Monkey Do’ (Wed 22 Feb, 9:30pm), which scooped the main prize, remains one of the finest shows we have ever seen.
Best newcomer nominee Jayde Adams (Thurs 9 Feb, 9:30pm) has more talent than you can shake a stick at, all put to good use in her debut hour. Abandoman’s Life + Rhymes (Fri 10 Feb, 7:30pm) is a brilliantly upbeat way to kick off a weekend (it’s hard be beat improvised hip-hop really).
The always fun and effervescent Tony Law (Sat 11 Feb, 9:30pm) is a perennial festival favourite regardless of the city, while TV regular James Acaster (Sat 18 Feb 7:00pm) presents his latest hour plus his two previous show as part the Trelogy tour.
The up and coming Kiri Pritchard McLean (Tues 21 Feb 8:45pm), of Gein’s Family Giftshop fame, performs her debut show Hysterical Woman, while Fern Brady (Thurs 23 Feb, 8pm) gathered a load of critical praise for her superbly biting show.
With the world of politics as it is at the moment we need the uplifting positivity of Josie Long (Thurs 23 Feb, 8pm) more than ever. Other highlights include Kieran Hodgson’s award nominated show, which explores his love of classical music, (Sun 26 Feb 8pm) as well as one of our favourites, the joyously bleak Jordan Brookes (Sun 26 Feb 8pm).
Works in progress
There’s a chance to see new shows starting to take shape for Edinburgh (yes it’s terrifying how close it is already). The brilliant New Zealander Rose Matafeo (Sun 19 Feb, 5:30pm), who recently popped up on Have I Got News for You, is in the midlands to prepare new material, and there has barely been a new act competition recently that hasn’t featured Yuriko Kotani (Wed 22 Feb, 9pm) in its final.
More established names include Joe Lycett (Thurs 16 Feb, 8pm), who is back to testing new material following a massive tour, and John Robins (Tues 21 Feb, 8:30pm) whose Radio X show and podcast has no doubt brought him a new loyal following.
Having seen some of his new stuff we are incredibly excited to see what David Trent (Fri 17 Feb, 8:15pm) has in store. His bullshit radar mas be going off on a daily basis. Rhys James (Wed 15 Feb, 6:30pm) has three impressively slick shows under his belt already, so expect similar here. And Angela Barnes (Fri 24 Feb, 8:30pm) is another act starting to prepare a new show who is increasingly popping up on the telly and radio.
Thanks mostly to the tremendous Bob Slayer (who performs his show his career as a jockey on Sat 11 Feb, 9:30pm) Leicester offers up a great chance to see some of the more experimental acts around.
Regular Laugh Out London MC Andy Barr (Fri 24 Feb,10:45pm) is preparing his debut hour, based around the HR Administrator of the Year 2011 becoming shipwrecked. Watching him puts us in mind of Sam Simmons or Tim Key.
Michael Brunström (Sat 25 Feb, 3:30pm) is one of the few true surrealists on the circuit. Last year he took inspiration from John Constable, this year he’s been rooting around a herb garden for ‘Parsley’.
Gabby Best (Sun 26 Feb, 2:20pm) is a mighty fine character comedian, with a Vic & Bob type quality to her creations. Equally odd is Pat Cahill (Sat 18 Feb, 9pm) who is doing his latest show, inspired by Morris dancing of all things, which includes some of the catchiest songs you will ever hear (c is for coconuts…).
Harriet Kemsley (Sat 25 Feb, 7:30pm) is a wonderfully daft yet eloquent stand up destined for big things. The boundary pushing Luke McQueen (Sat 25 Feb, 9pm) is always an exciting watch, this year he promises he has “something for everyone”.
Matthew Highton (Thurs 23 Feb, 7pm) is a delightfully weird and dorky stage presence who loves to spin an abstract yarn. Regular collaborator Joz Norris’ (Sat 25 Feb, 8:15pm) last show was superb bag of of silly which constantly keep the audience on their toes, we are really excited about the next one.
Finally, we would be remiss not to recommend Adam Larter (Sat 25 Feb, 9:30pm) whose recent projects have included Supergrass the musical, an avant-grade version of Only Fools and Horses and a play about pugs. One of the most creative minds around (plus his picture for the show is Andy Barr in a sleeping bag).