From Rose Matafeo and Craig Ferguson to Gingzilla's cabaret parties, book in these acts from Gilded Balloon, Assembly, Underbelly and Pleasance before they're gone
Now that the Fringe's gargantuan programme has been officially released, it's come time to organise our August calendars – no mean feat, especially considering the sheer wealth of comedy, theatre, dance, cabaret and more that'll be descending on our doorstep in a matter of weeks.
To help you with the curatorial process, we've combed through the line-ups of the 'Big Four' venues and made some predictions as to what acts will sell out quickly. Some are familiar Fringe favourites, and others are newcomers riding in on a wave of early buzz. Either way, be sure to snap up tickets to these great acts before they're gone for good – or until next summer, that is.
Balletboyz: Them/Us / credit: Hugo Glendinning
Balletboyz: Them/Us The acclaimed all-male dance company makes their Edinburgh debut with their electrifying double bill, which explores the individual spirit as well as our connection to others. With scores composed by Charlotte Harding and indie singer-songwriter Keaton Henson, Them/Us has already riveted audiences across the UK. Balletboyz: Them/Us, Underbelly: Bristo Square – McEwan Hall, Wed 31 Jul–Thu 15 Aug (not 7), 1pm.
Basil Brush: Unleashed Showbiz icon, children's entertainer and fox puppet Basil Brush will be taking to the stage in this adults-only show, wherein he provides his usual brand of anarchic commentary on hot button topics. This foxy fella will be joined by a different guest every night. Basil Brush: Unleashed, Underbelly: Bristo Square – Cowbarn, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug, 6.45pm.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live at the Fringe Members of the original cast unite for this live performance of the iconic improv show, which quickly sold out when they first came to the Fringe two years ago. The roster for this year will be filled out by the likes of Greg Proops, Mike McShane, Stephen Frost, Richard Vranch and Phill Jupitus, with more to be announced. Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live at the Fringe, Underbelly: Bristo Square – McEwan Hall, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug (not 12), 7pm.
Fishbowl Winner of the prestigious Molière Award for Best Comedy Play, Fishbowl follows the everyday lives of three wacky, lovable characters who live cheek-by-jowl in adjoining rooftop bedsits. A remarkable work of physical comedy and set design, Fishbowl has just come off of a sold-out European tour, so we wouldn't expect anything less for their UK debut. Fishbowl, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug (not 14), 1pm.
The Guilty Feminist: Live Podcast Podcast phenomenon The Guilty Feminist returns to the Fringe for a live recording, featuring more funny, scintillating discussions about modern feminism and our personal pitfalls that undermine these ideals. Hosted by the inimitable Deborah Frances-White alongside a revolving line-up of guests, The Guilty Feminist has racked up 60 million downloads since its launch in 2016. The Guilty Feminist: Live Podcast, Pleasance Courtyard, Fri 2–Sun 4 Aug, 4pm.
Catherine Bohart: Lemon
Catherine Bohart: Lemon Last year, Catherine Bohart's debut hour about OCD and coming out to her father, a Catholic deacon, left us in stitches and in awe of her natural talent. Thus we anticipate great things in her next offering, which promises to 'mash stereotypes around sex, sexuality and relationships'. Catherine Bohart: Lemon, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug (not 13), 6pm.
Sara Barron: Enemies Closer The 'queen of New York's storytelling scene' also made her first Fringe outing last year to great aplomb, nabbing a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and going on to sell-out two runs at London's Soho Theatre. This year she'll be serving up more acerbic observations on love and friendship in what promises to be a very funny hour indeed. Sara Barron: Enemies Closer, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Sun 25 Aug (not 13), 8.30pm.
Bible John Definitely one for fans of true crime, Bible John explores the murder of three women in Glasgow's Barrowlands Ballroom in 1969 by an Old Testament-quoting serial killer. A harrowing, furious yet joyful look into violence and gender, the play also follows four women in the present day who try to catch the killer, once and for all. Bible John, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug Not 13), 3.50pm
Rose Matafeo: Horndog The New Zealand comic's musings on horniness was awarded Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards last year, and she now returns for a victory lap of just five dates this time around. So if you missed her acclaimed run last Fringe, don't make the same mistake again and book her in quickly. Rose Matafeo: Horndog, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 20–24 Aug, 9.30pm
Nick Offerman: All Rise
Rose McGowan: Planet 9 The author, actor and activist Rose McGowan, best known for her role in the Weinstein scandal and resultant #MeToo movement, comes to the Fringe for the first time with a performance that fuses memoir, music, storytelling and projections that promises to transport audiences to a new planet, and explore what a fairer society would mean for all. Rose McGowan: Planet 9, Assembly Hall, Thu 15–Sun 18 Aug, 1pm.
Nick Offerman: All Rise The burly comedic actor, of Parks and Rec and Fargo fame, hosts a single evening of stand-up and 'light dance' that entreaties its audience to bring out the best in others, amidst a darkening socio-political climate. Nick Offerman: All Rise, Assembly Hall, Sat 14 Aug, 6pm
Nish Kumar: It's In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves Nish Kumar brought this work-in-progress to the Fringe last year, and has since been touring it across the country to great aplomb. Catch the double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee performing its final, more polished version this summer. Nish Kumar: It's In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves, Assembly George Square, Mon 19–Sun 25 Aug, 9pm
Rob Auton: The Time Show Rob Auton follows on from his previous shows about the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair and talking with some poetical and philosophical comedy about the nature of time. Rob Auton: The Time Show, Assembly George Square, Wed 31 Jul–Mon 26 Aug (not 13), 2.50pm
Gingzilla's Late Night Lip Service / credit: Nicholas Robertson
Craig Ferguson: Hobo Fabulous For one night only, the award-winning former Late Late Show host returns to the UK for his first stand-up performance in over 25 years. Expect plenty of off-the-cuff gags from this 'ageing, unhinged vagrant' at the Edinburgh Playhouse for the European premiere of his new show. Craig Ferguson: Hobo Fabulous, Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Playhouse, Sun 11 Aug, 8pm
Black is the Colour of My Voice Apphia Campbell's Woke took the Fringe by storm in 2017 and 2018, and her new solo show, inspired by the life of legendary American vocalist Nina Simone, has come to Edinburgh direct from a sold-out run on the West End. Black is the Colour of My Voice, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 Aug, 4pm
Gingzilla's Late Night Lip Service The 'bearded belle' that is Gingzilla returns to host this debaucherous late night party, which will feature live performances and lip-sync battles from a revolving line-up of some of the Fringe's biggest stars throughout the month of August. Gingzilla's Late Night Lip Service, Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, Fri 2 & Sat 3, Thu 8–Sat 10, Thu 15–Sun 18, Thu 22–Sat 24 Aug, 11.30pm
Luisa Omielan: Politics for Bitches (Extended Cut) After selling out in 2018, Luisa Omielan returns with an extended cut of her acclaimed third solo show for three nights only, which sees the comic (often accompanied by her incredible Bernese Mountain dog, Bernie) take to the stage to rail against the treatment her mother received when she was diagnosed with cancer, and the shocking state of politics today. Luisa Omielan: Politics for Bitches (Extended Cut), Gilded Balloon Teviot, Fri 23–25 Aug, 9pm
Best-selling author, actress and activist Rose McGowan makes her debut at the Fringe. Through memoir, music, storytelling, projections and performance Rose creates a new world of possibilities: Planet 9. She invites the audience on a healing journey of discovery to this new planet. The antidote to all…
Gilded Balloon presents…
Global sensation Gingzilla – the award-winning, bearded belle of the Fringe’s most debaucherous ball – and the utterly iconic Late Night Lip Service are back! Featuring heart-stopping live performances, the Fringe’s wildest stars, lip-sync battles, midnight madness and much, much more from the…
Kilimanjaro Live in association with UTA
Join the star of Parks and Recreation and Fargo for an evening of deliberative talking and light dance that will compel you to chuckle whilst enjoining you to brandish a better side of humanity than the one to which we have grown accustomed. Genuflection optional: in my church…
Phil McIntyre Entertainments Ltd present
The Guilty Feminist podcast has become a comedy phenomenon with over 60 million downloads since it launched in early 2016. Deborah Frances-White and her special guests record her hit comedy podcast at the prestigious Pleasance Grand. Expect discussions about the noble goals of…
Winner of France’s Molière Award for Best Comedy Play 2017, Fishbowl now makes its UK premiere, bringing its farcical antics and physical comedy extravaganza to Pleasance Grand. In perfectly choreographed pandemonium, it follows the hilarious misadventures of three eccentric and lovable anti-heroes as they spectacularly…
Apphia Campbell presented by James Seabright and Play The Spotlight
Apphia Campbell's solo show inspired by the life of Nina Simone. Direct from sold-out West End season. 'Goes beyond impersonation' ★★★★ (Times). 'Nothing short of sensational' ★★★★★ (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Compelling… heartbreaking' ★★★…
Three nights only! After a sell-out run in 2018 and a BBC One series of the same name, BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and star of Live at the Apollo, Luisa returns with her third smash-hit solo show for a special extended cut. This time, it’s the unedited, uncut and uncensored version. Tackling promiscuity to…
Berk's Nest in association with Avalon Management
The Edinburgh Comedy Award 2018 Best Show winner returns for one week only. Rose Matafeo has kissed nearly 10 men in her life aka she's a total horn dog. But what is horniness? Is it that intangible essence of excitement and opportunity? A fire that flickers in the…
Show And Tell in association with Dawn Sedgwick Management
2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee, Sara returns to the Fringe following her five-star debut hour and two sell-out runs at London's Soho Theatre. Her stunning new show examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, current husbands…
Brett Vincent for Get Comedy
Following a total sell-out run in Edinburgh two years ago (including extra shows), as well as sell-out runs at the London Palladium and The Royal Albert Hall, Clive Anderson once again takes the reins as many of the original cast members reunite in this now legendary live version of the…
Phil McIntyre Entertainments Ltd present
Double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Nish Kumar is back at the Fringe. The title is a quote from Terminator 2. There will be jokes about politics, mankind's capacity for self-destruction and whether it will lead to the end of days. Good fun stuff. He's the host of The Mash…