Best shows to see at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

  • The List
  • 4 August 2016

This article is from 2016

Best Shows to see at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

Glasgow Girls / credit: Robert Day

Including Circa, Ahir Shah, Spencer Jones, Whiteout and O is for Hoolet

There are helpless dogs, a Balkan brass band, intimate acrobats, a male comedienne, eggy bagel and a request for gentle corpses: the Fringe just got even more Fringey. We've already rounded-up the best comedy, circus, dance, kids shows, cabaret, magic and theatre at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. Here we take a look at the highlights of the programme across the genres.

Nish Kumar
If you thought last year's show title was long, cop a load of Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud. Guaranteed funny, though, which is the main thing, right?
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 6–28 Aug, 8pm, £9–£12 (£8–£10.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £6

The latest work from choreographer Natasha Gilmore and her company, Barrowland Ballet, fuses contemporary dance and visual imagery in order to explore bi-racial relationships.
ZOO Southside, Nicolson Street, 9–27 Aug (not 15, 22), 5pm, £12.50 (£11) Previews 5–7 Aug, £10

Richard Gadd
One of the breakthrough comedy acts of last year's Fringe, the occasionally terrifying Scottish innovator is all Monkey See Monkey Do this time around. Do yourselves a favour and find out what the fuss is about.
Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street, 6–28 Aug, 9.45pm, free

Glasgow Girls
Ahead of an autumn UK tour, Cora Bissett's music-filled drama about seven teenagers fighting for refugee rights makes a very timely return, offering vivid proof of the power of teenagers and a community with a cause.
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 6–28 Aug (not 10, 15, 22), 2.20pm, £16–£17.50 (£13–£14). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £12

Head in the Clouds
From Ipdip Theatre comes this charming interactive story in which Cirrus the dog needs all your help in getting his sheep back. There are three productions a day here so you have no excuse for not getting your very tiny ones along.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Arboretum Place, 8–27 Aug (not 10, 17, 24), 11am, 1.30pm & 3pm, £5

The Californian space rockers were split for six years before coming back together again in 2012. So, because you never know when you might lose a good thing, why not try to nab a last-ditch ticket for this Nothing Ever Happens Here gig.
Summerhall, 22 Aug, 8pm, £23

Fern Brady
After a swinging Fringe debut last year, Brady is back with the cheekily titled Male Comedienne. Gender, class and religion gets it in the neck this time around.
The Stand 2, North St Andrew Street, 5–28 Aug (not 15), 12.10pm, £9 (£8). Preview 4 Aug, £8 (£7)

In Fidelity
Following up his acclaimed Bullet Catch and Quiz Show, Rob Drummond has written a piece which combines a live onstage first date with evolutionary theory and scientific research. All in the name of love.
Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 5–28 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), various times, £18.50 (£8.50–£13.50). Preview 4 Aug, 4.45pm, £12.50 (£8.50)

James Acaster
OK, so you've opted to vote for someone else four years running in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. This time, you can probably go ahead and give it to the act who is heads and shoulders above pretty much everyone of his stand-up generation.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 6–28 Aug, 7.30pm, £11–£14 (£10–£13). Previews 3–5 Aug, £8

A jaw-dropping and heart-pounding experience for all is on the cards here as five Circa performers reveal up-close acrobatics in an elegant and intimate encounter.
Underbelly, George Square, 6–29 Aug (not 10, 16, 23), 6.55pm, £17.50–£18.50 (£16.50–£17.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £11.50

Hot Dub Time Machine
One of the most popular party nights on the Fringe, this year's HDTM extravaganza is deemed to be the biggest rave in the festival's history. And they're probably bang on.
Corn Exchange, Newmarket Street, 12 & 13, 18 & 19 Aug, 9pm, £18.50

Casting Call Woe
You might think (or rather want to believe) that the material in this show is from a spoof website. But no, the tales of outlandish casting calls are bona fide and genuine e.g. 'a beautiful and gentle corpse. Females aged 20 to 30, New South Wales, Australia'.
Gilded Balloon at the Museum, Lothian Street, 15–28 Aug, 4.30pm, £8–£10 (£7.50–£8)

Ahir Shah
A comic who should be waaay bigger than he is at the moment, Shah switches on Machines, a philosophically opinionated rant about democracy, technology, terrorism, history and (there had to be something less serious coming) lizards.
Cabaret Voltaire, Blair Street, 4–28 Aug, 1.30pm, free

The Snail and the Whale
Julia Donaldson experts Tall Stories bring another of her stories vividly onto the stage as we meet a tiny snail on her trip round the world by hitching a lift on the tail of a humpback whale.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 4–21 Aug (not 6, 17), 11.50am, £9.50–£11.50 (£8.50–£10.50). Preview 3 Aug, £7

Spencer Jones
Watching someone clown around might never have been this much fun. Jones is back with his 2015 hit The Herbert in Proper Job at Underbelly, while new one, The Herbert in Eggy Bagel, gets The Hive treatment.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 5.20pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6; The Hive, Niddry Street, 4–28 Aug (not 15), 8.50pm, £6 in advance or Pay What You Want

The Cuban Gypsy
From Havana Ballet comes an effervescent show which mixes traditional Gypsy dance styles (tap, flamenco, belly dancing), and Gypsy-inspired pop tunes. All of which is given an inevitably infectious Cuban twist.
Assembly Roxy, Roxburgh Place, 6–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 10pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14). Previews 3–5 Aug, £10

Christine Bovill's Paris
A little slice of the French capital descends upon Edinburgh as the award-winning chanteuse channels the likes of Piaf, Brel and Aznavour for seven evenings of pure indulgence.
Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, 12 & 13, 15, 18–21 Aug, 7.45pm, £15 (£12)

Tommy Tiernan
The Irish comedy firebrand returns after that improv experiment of '15 for his first full run in absolute yonks. Back on script and Out of the Whirlwind, expect a masterclass in the art of stand-up.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 6–28 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15). Preview 5 Aug, £9

Hackney Colliery Band
A rock, afro-beat, jazz, hip hop and Balkan blitzkrieg awaits as the band who helped play out the London Olympics deliver three explosive nights of brass band mayhem. Check out their upbeat ska version of 'Heroes', released in Bowie's honour soon after his death. Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 19–21 Aug, 7pm, £14.50 (£11)

O is for Hoolet
The way in which the Scottish language is perceived, taught and even owned is at the heart of this interactive theatre piece by Ishbel McFarlane as she portrays several historic Scottish figures and linguistic experts from Liz Lochhead to Robert Burns.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, High Street, 12 29 Aug (not 15, 22), 7pm, £10 (£8)