Fringesider #3: Best free comedy to see at the Fringe
- Craig Angus
- 11 August 2017
We explore the best shows to see on a budget, cast an eye over our latest reviews and look at what's still to come
Welcome back to Fringesider. In this third instalment we take a look at the best free comedy you can see at this year's Fringe, from Edinburgh Comedy Award winners and nominees to fresh-faced newcomers. We'll also cast our eye over some of the latest reviews from The List's writers, draw your attention to some special events worth checking out, and scour the Twittersphere for tips and amusing nuggets of Fringe-related content.
Best free comedy to see at the Fringe
It can be an expensive business, running between shows and buying multiple tickets for countless days and evenings out. The rise and rise of the Free Fringe gives you more options on a budget than ever before. The likes of Bob Slayer's Heroes and Just The Tonic – with their model that allows you to buy a cheap ticket to guarantee entry, or take a chance on the door – have added some big names to their respective programmes this year, with established acts and award winners taking a punt on the new model.
Candy Gigi Presents: Becky Rimmer's Bat Mitzvah!
A ★★★★★, absolute riot of a show that pushes interactive clowning to its extremes.
Heroes @ The Hive, until 27 Aug (not 13 & 14, 22), 1.15pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.
Jen Wakefield: Girl in Da Corner
Slick set brings character comedy and slam poetry together in a show that explores the complexities of racial identity.
Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey, until 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 1.15pm, free.
Ahir Shah: Control
A show about freedom in a world in an age of global political turmoil.
Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, until 27 Aug, 2pm (2pm and 5.45pm on Wednesdays), free.
Carmen Lynch: Lynched
Debut UK hour from this favourite of Amy Schumer is a twisted and dark joy.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 27 Aug (not 15), 4pm, free.
John Kearns: Don't Worry They're Here
Back to back Edinburgh Comedy Award winner (Best Newcomer in 2013, Best Comedy Show in 2014) returns with another hour of wistful weirdness.
Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, until 27 Aug (not 16), 5pm, £7 or Pay What You Want.
Stuart Goldsmith: Like I Mean It
Gifted stand-up reflects on marriage and fatherhood in a fluid, relatable performance
Liquid Room Annexe, until 27 Aug, 5.45pm, free
Johnny White Really-Really: Pigeons
Vice filmmaker grabbles with the big questions in philosophically tinted hour of laughs.
Just The Tonic @ The Mash House, until 27 Aug (not 14), 6.40pm, £6 or Pay What You Want
Mae Martin: Dope
Canadian explores obsession, fandom and addiction in an age of instant gratification
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, until 27 Aug (not 14), 8pm, free.
Mat Ewins Presents Adventureman 7: The Return of Adventureman
More mischievous multimedia madness for the Fringe's unsung master of silly nonsense.
Heroes @ The Hive, until 27 Aug, 8.45pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.
Zoltan Kaszas: American Immigrant
Self-confessed 'dumb' American offers hilarious insight into European culture and attitudes.
Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 27 Aug (not 14), 9.40pm, £7–£8 (£6–£7) or Pay What You Want.
Fin Taylor: Lefty Tighty Righty Loosey
The talk of last year's festival, Fin Taylor calls out the hypocrisy of the left to thrilling effect.
Just The Tonic @ The Tron, until 27 Aug (not 14), 10.20pm, £6.50 or Pay What You Want.
Festival City Podcast
In the fourth episode of The Festival City Podcast, Gareth K Vile chats with composer Matthew Whiteside about his Fringe experience so far. The two chit-chat about Assembly Rooms' VR Experience, Sonica installation Nearer Future by Heather Lander, Rhinoceros and Scottish Opera's Greek. Gareth is also joined by Daniella Isaacs of Hear Me Raw, a show about our obsession with healthy eating, and the ingenious performance artist Mamoru Iriguchi, who talks about his show Eaten.
This time out, we've got five star reviews for some powerful theatre, plus write ups for an improv master, a sporting adaptation, and an up and coming sketch act.
We were blown away by this moving realisation of Adam Kashmiry's trans experience at the Traverse. Adam tells of a journey from his native Egypt – where being himself threatens his existence – to Glasgow, where he experiences an epiphany. A remarkable true story. Read the full review of Adam.
Traverse, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), times vary, £21.50 (£16.50).
Wild Bore ★★★★★
Revolutionary dramaturgy from Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott, who use the 'visceral, hilariously bad' writing of self-obsessed critics to spin a meta theatrical masterpiece that's vitally provocative. Read the full review of Wild Bore.
Traverse, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), times vary, £21.50 (£9.50–£16.50).
Steen Raskopoulos – The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess ★★★★☆
Steen Raskopoulos returns to Edinburgh with another storming show after the success of last year's You Know The Drill. Raskopoulos blends improv and audience participation into his sketch hour, taking 'an often-disliked form of comedy' and giving it universal appeal. Read the full review of The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug (not 14), 8pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50).
The Damned United ★★★★☆
First a bestselling novel then an acclaimed film, the story of one of sport's most complex and compelling personalities is given new life on the stage. Brian Clough was one of football's greatest managers, but a vulnerable man with alcohol-induced problems. This adaptation gets that balance spot on. Read the full review of The Damned United.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 14, 22), 5pm, £9.50–£12.50 (£8.50–£11.50).
The Cat Man Curse ★★★★☆
Pelican's The Cat Man Curse is both ferociously intelligent and pleasingly silly, pitched somewhere between the innocence of Scooby Doo and the surrealism of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. A sketch show of very impressive range, and highly recommended for fans of that particular comedy format. Read the full review of The Cat Man Curse.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug (not 16, 23), 8pm, £8 (£6)
Off the beaten programme
The politically charged comedy legend Mark Thomas, who's back this year with A Show That Gambles on the Future, has put together a fantastic bill for one night only to raise money for victims of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire. The all star bill includes Stephen K Amos, Milton Jones and Josie Long, with proceeds from the gig going to two legal charities (INQUEST and North Kensington Law Centre) that are working with Grenfell residents, survivors and families of the victims. The two-hour show takes place at New Town Theatre on Tue 15 Aug, tickets cost £20 and are available now.
Over at the Pleasance Dome, Audible has curated an excellent series of free shows, that are being recorded for a new stand-up series. Over the next few weekends at 5.20pm the likes of Jason Byrne, Fern Brady, Reginald D Hunter, Adam Riches and Sophie Hagen will take to the stage, with more names to be announced. Keep an eye on the Pleasance box office for more details and announcements.
Finally, the most electrifying event in the Fringe calendar returns for one night only next Tue 15 Aug – The Wrestling. Max and Ivan's phenomenal showcase of blood, sweat and jokes returns to the Pleasance Grand after a fallow year. Two years ago Aisling Bea, Mike Wozniak and James Acaster were part of the battle, with Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White bringing the house down with their half time show. Tickets are sold out already. we hope those lucky enough to be there have a rowdy ol' time.
The word on the street, through the medium of tweet
Charlie Baker's been enjoying the best in street theatre
Phil Wang is an impressive and trustworthy restaurant critic
... and finally, the artist formerly known as 'The Boy With The Tape on his Face' meets the artist currently known as 'The Boy With Tape On His Face'