Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

National Dance Company Wales / credit: Kirsten McTernan

All hail to the Edinburgh Fringe as it flings its doors wide again to welcome a swathe of top shows

After last year's non-event, it warms the heart to know that the Edinburgh festival is back with a vengeance. While the Fringe is certainly slimmed down from what we've known before, there's still lots to choose from. Here's a selection of 20 top shows and acts to see over the coming month.

COMEDY

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Nina Conti / credit: Idil Sukan/Draw HQ

Christopher Macarthur-Boyd
The rising star of Scotland's stand-up scene hones in on a new show with this work-in-progress titled Oh No. We're promised gags about sex, drugs and pasta, and surely there's nothing we need more right now.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Friday 13–Sunday 29 August, 8.30pm, £10–£11.

Nina Conti
Arguably the most apropos comedy show at the Fringe, as the talented ventriloquist gives us two slabs of In Your Face, in which she pops a mask on audience members and voices their thoughts and actions.
Assembly George Square Gardens, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 August, 5pm, £14–£15 (£13–£14).

Nish Kumar
Ahead of his 2022 tour Control, the man who had a bread roll thrown at him during a corporate gig has the last laugh, and probably takes the biscuit, with a warm-up show about the ills of this land.
Monkey Barrel, Monday 16–Sunday 22 August, 7.15pm; Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 August, 3.15pm, £6–£24.

Joe Thomas
The ex-Inbetweener makes his stand-up debut with Trying Not To Panic, a set about fame, childhood and OCD, all tackled by a man who is looking down the barrel of mid-seniority (he's 37, hardly pensionable age)
Pleasance Courtyard, Friday 13–Tuesday 17 August, 7pm; Saturday 14 August, 9.15pm, Sunday 15 August, 4.45pm, £14.

Fern Brady
She may have one of the most intriguing show titles of the festival (Autistic Bikini Queen) but thankfully the Bathgate-born stand-up has the quality to back it up. Brady has been dubbed 'fearless' and 'acerbic'. She's both of those things, but a whole lot more.
Monkey Barrel, until Tuesday 17 August (not Tuesday 10), 6.45pm, £8–£40.

Daniel Sloss
With much Hubris, and a large pile of talent, the Viking Fifer storms two separate stages this month to cement his reputation as one of the leading comedy lights of his generation.
Corn Exchange, Wednesday 11–Saturday 14 August, various times, £16.50–£21.50; Festival Theatre, Saturday 21 Aug, 7pm, £23.50.

DANCE

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Mele Broomes

Mele Broomes
The co-director and co-founder of Project X Dance brings us two pieces online, with Wrapped Up In This honouring previous generations while Grin explores hyper-sexualised notions of African and Caribbean dance.
Wrapped Up In This, Summerhall Online, available now, £7 (£4); Grin, Summerhall Online, available from Friday 13 August, £7 (£4).

National Dance Company Wales
Digital affair here from NDCWales with two short outdoor pieces filmed in their home nation earlier this month. 'Why Are People Clapping!?' is set to a Steve Reich soundtrack and 'Moving is everywhere, forever' is an ode to the very act of dancing.
ZOOTV, available Wednesday 18–Sunday 29 August, £5.

Circolombia
Devised during lockdown, Vest-igios is an intimate circus performance from the acclaimed Circolombia about brotherhoods and a dystopian wasteland, all laid on with jaw-dropping physical fervour.
Assembly Roxy, Tuesday 24–Sunday 29 August, 4.30pm, £14–£16 (£13–£15).

KIDS

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Magic Gareth

The Big Birthday Show With Magic Gareth
In previous times, Magic Gareth has entertained those aged five and above with shows about Halloween and Christmas, and here he's drawing attention to birthdays: did you have one spoilt rotten by Covid? Gareth will help make up for that with balloons, games and general fun times.
Pleasance Courtyard, until Sunday 22 August (not Monday 16), 12.30pm, £7–£28 (£5–£20).

Is This A Dagger?
Andy Cannon is back with his acclaimed show about Shakespeare's 'Scottish play', taking audiences on a thousand-year journey from fact to fiction and all the way back round again.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, until Tuesday 17 (not Wednesday 11), Saturday 21 & Sunday 22, Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 August, 1pm, £12 (£10).

MUSIC

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Sacred Paws / credit: Katherine Rose

Chrissie Hynde
Recorded in lockdown but now taking to the stage, Hynde's Standing In The Doorway paid tribute to the songs of Bob Dylan. Special guests for these shows are The Rails, comprised of Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne and Kami Thompson, daughter of folk icons Richard and Linda.
Queen's Hall, Sunday 22–Wednesday 25 August, 7.30pm, £34.50.

Sinatra: Raw
For several nights, Richard Shelton is Frank Sinatra in a show that recalls the moment in 1971 when Ole Blue Eyes was contemplating retirement. This stirring show is all about his defiant return to centre stage.
Pleasance at EICC, until Sunday 15 August, 8pm, £15.

Sacred Paws
Guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers light up the Secret Courtyard for this special Nothing Ever Happens Here gig. Bone up ahead of time on their SAY Award winner Strike A Match and its follow-up Run Around The Sun for the most fun homework ever.
Summerhall, Friday 13 August, 7pm, £16.50.

Out Of The Blue
Thirteen chaps currently make up Out Of The Blue, the ever-evolving Oxford University a cappella collective that reached the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent in 2011 and have delighted audiences in the West End and on Broadway.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until Sunday 29 August (not Thursday 12 & Friday 13, Monday 23), 5pm, £14–£16 (£13–£15); Friday 13, 20, 27 & Saturday 14, 21, 28 August, 7.45pm, £15.

THEATRE

Best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

Margaret Thatcher: Queen Of Soho / credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Margaret Thatcher: Queen Of Soho
You wonder what the real Thatcher would have made of this drag cabaret extravaganza but we could all hazard a guess. Max Tedford becomes the Iron Lady who has got lost in Soho only to become a superstar there.
Underbelly George Square, Thursday 12–Saturday 15 August, 8.30pm, £17 (£15.50–£16).

Woke
Apphia Campbell reprises her award-winning solo piece created in 2017 which merges fury and rebellion to produce the story of two women struggling in the America of today and the 1970s.
Pleasance at EICC, Friday 13, Saturday 15 August, 6pm, £15–£30 (£13–£26).

My Car Plays Tapes
From John Osborne, the man who gave us the Fringe smash hit John Peel's Shed, comes a new storytelling show about getting older, the big decisions and cars that don't work very well. Oh, and it's likely to touch on music too.
Summerhall Online, until Sunday 29 August, £8; in-person Wednesday 11 August, 3pm, £8.

Bacon
Fringe veteran Pip Utton has played everyone from Hitler to Churchill and now he's taking on the role of Francis Bacon, the influential and anarchic painter who lived what's perhaps best described as a 'full life'.
Pleasance Courtyard, until Friday 13 August, 4.45pm, Tuesday 10 August, 8.45pm, £10–£36 (£8–£30).

Doppler
Grid Iron's latest site-responsive theatre piece has adapted Erlend Loe's novel about a man who deals with grief by moving out of his urban home and into a tent in the forest.
Newhailes House, until Monday 23 August (not Tuesday 17, Thursday 19), various times, £15 (£8).

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen

Incisive comedy from one of Scotland's best up-and-coming stand-ups.

The Stand, Edinburgh

Wed 16 Mar 2022

£17.60 (£15.40) / 0131 558 7272

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Daniel Sloss: Hubris

New hour from the Scottish comedian.

Nish Kumar: Control

It has been a period of upheaval and uncertainty with COVID and the political situation. You will be amazed by my capacity to somehow take all these things personally. “Comedian Nish Kumar was booed off stage after making Brexit jokes at a charity event on Monday night.” BBC News Report - 3rd December 2019 TAKE… “You can…

Chrissie Hynde, The Rails

  • 4 stars

Stripped back sets featuring songs from Chrissie’s recent Bob Dylan covers album, Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan and more. Covid safety measures, Strong language/swearing Age category: 14+

Circolombia

Fresh from Bogotá, one of the world's leading circus companies brings you extraordinary feats and seamless acts, all performed with breathtaking skill. This stunning show will transport you to the streets of Colombia's capital city in a succession of snapshots of actions and reactions, dreams and wills, courage and risks.

NEHH Presents… Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws Sacred Paws don't take things too seriously. You can hear it all the way through a conversation with its two members, guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers, punctuated by rolls of giggles and thoughtful pauses, and you can hear it in the light touch they bring to their music. The Glasgow-based band…

My Car Plays Tapes

John Osborne My Car Plays Tapes is the new storytelling show by John Osborne, about getting older, jobs, cars that don't really work and how to make big decisions with your life. From the creator of John Peel's Shed ★★★★★ (Scotsman). None Age category: 14+

Woke

Apphia Campbell presented by James Seabright Award-winning solo returns for four shows only. Against stunning gospel and blues sung live, two women 42 years apart join the struggle for American civil rights. Both are faced with the same choice: fight or flee? Woke won the coveted Scotsman Fringe First award and was highly…

Sinatra: Raw

Richard Shelton presented by James Seabright by arrangement with MLA Richard Shelton's masterful show revealing the man behind the music returns following sold-out London, Los Angeles and Australian seasons. Palm Springs, California, 1971; Frank Sinatra faces retirement. Things take an unexpected turn when he drinks One…

Is This a Dagger?

Andy Cannon with Red Bridge Arts By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes. Andy Cannon returns to the Netherbow stage to tell Shakespeare’s classic, taking audiences on a thousand-year journey from fact to fiction and back again. 'A tale of sound and fury, signifying first-class theatre for everyone…

The Big Birthday Show With Magic Gareth

  • 4 stars

Magic Gareth Did you have a birthday in the last year that was spoilt by COVID? Or an anniversary? Or a Christmas…? Then this fun, colourful, interactive magic show is for you! Magic Gareth is here to celebrate your big days with this family magic show full of tricks, balloons, games and nonsense. You're never to old to…

Joe Thomas: Trying Not To Panic (WIP)

  • 3 stars

Joe Thomas is a 37 year old, weary, cheeky young anxious, old upstart who once played Simon in inbetweeners and then played Simon in some other shows and now plays no-one. This is his debut stand-up show called Trying Not To Panic. Joe talks about subjects including childhood, fame and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Bacon

Pip Utton Theatre Co. Francis Bacon could spend his mornings painting, his afternoons and evenings drinking champagne, and his nights roaming Soho in fishnet stockings and a leather coat looking for "rough trade". His lifestyle full of alcohol, gambling and homosexual promiscuity has created an iconic enigma. Pip is one…

Margaret Thatcher Queen Of Soho

James Seabright by arrangement with Áine Flanagan Productions Following five sell-out Fringe runs, the Iron Lady returns in her 80s drag cabaret extravaganza! On the eve of a crucial vote, Maggie gets lost in Soho and accidentally becomes a cabaret superstar. Will she change her mind about the homophobic bill in time…? A…

Doppler

Grid Iron 'I am a man of my time. A failed man of my time. Or just a man of a failed time. Depending on how you look at it.' Doppler had everything. He thought. Wife, two kids, 23-hour working week and time to ride his bicycle. Until the accident. Now he lives in the forest with an elk. Come into the woods with…

Best of the Fest

Assembly Festival The best mixed-bill comedy night in Edinburgh, featuring your favourite comedians from around the Fringe. A perfect way to experience the festival! Previous guests include Nina Conti, Adam Hills, Jason Byrne, Desiree Burch, Josh Widdicombe, Phil Wang, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Milton Jones, Vir Das, Joe…

Open Air Performances: National Dance Company Wales

  • 3 stars

Join National Dance Company Wales outside to rediscover the joy of live dance from a powerhouse of Wales based artists. 45 minutes Choreography: Ed Myhill & Faye Tan Music: Steve Reich & Larch ‘Why Are People Clapping!?’ by Ed Myhill is uplifting, funny and ridiculously clever. It’s set to composer Steve Reich’s…

Wrapped Up In This

  • 4 stars

Mele Broomes A womxn is called upon for service, following in the footsteps of her past generation and members of the Old World. A time of growth, understanding and inner battle, to fulfil the will of those who came before her, with the knowledge that one day, she too will join them in guiding a new generation of black…

Out of the Blue

One of the Fringe's most renowned and best-selling shows is back for their 17th run at the festival! Expect vocal acrobatics, eclectic repertoires and ludicrous choreography! Whether you know them from making the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent or from their legendary viral videos, Out of the Blue are sure to put a…

Christopher Macarthur-Boyd: Oh No (Work in Progress)

Off The Kerb Productions A new hour of stand-up from the biggest wee fanny in Scottish comedy. Guaranteed to include jokes about sex, drugs and pasta. As seen on BBC Scotland's Up For It and The Comedy Underground. 'Endlessly enjoyable… the personal and political housed seamlessly' ★★★★ (Skinny). 'Intelligent, articulate…