Top 10 best reviewed comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

This article is from 2017

The best of Edinburgh Fringe comedy: a post-mortem

Hannah Gadsby – Nanette

The critics' favourites are revealed as we examine the top rated comedy shows from this year's Fringe

Every year during the Festival and Fringe, The List's Top Rated page automatically collates our own reviews together with reviews from a broad range of other websites including British Theatre Guide, Broadway Baby, Chortle, Edinburgh Festivals Magazine, EdinburghGuide, Fest, FringeGuru, The Guardian, One4Review, The Scotsman, The Skinny, The Telegraph, ThreeWeeks, The Wee Review and WhatsOnStage. Scores are aggregated to rank all the shows across the festival's many genres and we've filtered this list to reveal the best reviewed comedy shows by the critics. It's an imperfect system but it provides a useful guide to the consensus hits of the festival.

Now that the 2017 Fringe is all but a distant memory (well, it was almost a week ago) and the scores have settled, let's have a look at the critics' unofficial top 10.

1. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette
Fittingly, the top rated show (comedy or otherwise) was Hannah Gadsby's joint Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner, Nanette. Gadsby's been on the comedy circuit for a little over a decade and she describes Nanette as her swansong as she's decided to retire from the scene. In our review, Brian Donaldson says the show 'will be prove to be a hugely memorable epitaph for Gadsby's stand-up life.' Curiously, the other joint award-winner, John Robins: The Darkness of John Robins, only made 46th place.

2. The Boy with Tape on his Face is TAPE FACE
Sam Willis, the Kiwi performer who was last year a finalist on America's Got Talent, presented what he described as his final Edinburgh Fringe show. If that's the case then this was a fitting way to bow out.

3. Paul Sinha: Shout Out to My Ex
A former junior doctor and regular quiz opponent on TV's The Chase, Sinha has many strings to his bow, not least his long-established comedy career.

4. Foil, Arms and Hog: Oink
The only sketch show in this list (and one of the very few, sadly, in this year's Fringe), Irish group Foil, Arms and Hog have been touring for over eight years and present a brand new sketch every week on their YouTube channel.

5. Jay Lafferty: Besom
The highest-placed Scot (one of only two if we count Phil Nichol's dual Canadian/Scottish nationality), Lafferty gently poked fun at herself and others in this warm debut show. One to watch out for.

6. Phil Nichol: Your Wrong
Formerly one of the Fringe's most hard-working performers, Phil Nichol presented a typically rambunctious show following on from an argument on social media.

7. Tom Ballard: Problematic
The arguments over political correctness show no signs of resolution, and Australian Ballard defended its cause during Problematic. Other comedians to tackle the subject this year include Fin Taylor (from a contrary viewpoint), and Brendon Burns and Craig Quartermaine (somewhere in the middle).

8. Lauren Pattison: Lady Muck
This stunning debut (and Best Newcomer nominee to boot) earned the year's first coveted five-star award from The List. In our review, Rowena McIntosh proclaimed that 'with this hilarious and empowering debut hour, Lauren Pattison is going places.'

9. Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen
Although she's been performing at the Fringe since 2003, Sarah Kendall long ago ditched traditional stand-up for long-form storytelling. This year, One-Seventeen earned her big plaudits, although we were slightly cooler on the show. In our review, Kirstyn Smith noted that her 'ability to pull the audience into her memories is remarkable, but One-Seventeen is a storytelling show that just happens to be funny.'

10. Rose Matafeo: Sassy Best Friend
In another show that was better-reviewed by other websites than ourself, New Zealand-born Rose Matafeo returned to the Fringe with this energetic political show. In our review, Brian Donaldson pondered 'it will be intriguing to see if she comes up with something a little more considered and a lot less frenzied in the coming Augusts.'