Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival might be the greatest arts festival in the world but with the fringe programme resembling a telephone directory, it can be very confusing to know what is worth taking a punt on.
With so much choice, I offer my top ten tips for shows that offer great value for money and give you bite-size versions of some things that just might make you want to go and book for the whole show.
1. The Underbelly Radio Shows – Presented by FUBAR Radio and Underbelly, the UK’s biggest uncensored comedy radio network, FUBAR Radio broadcasts life each weekday. Join presenters and special guests for a radio show like no other. The Med Quad at Underbelly @ 12:30 weekdays – £5.
2. Best of the Fest Daytime – In the beautiful Spiegeltent Colombino, this is a real crowd pleaser with the very best in comedy, music and circus from across the festival. I got to see the physical dance act the Richochet Project, comedians Joe Lycett and Andrea Hubert, cabaret star Michael Griffiths – Sweet Dreams, with compere Martin Mor. Assembly George Square Gardens @ 14:00 with ticket prices – £[email protected]
3. Best of the Fest & Late n’Live– If you can hack a late night, Best of the Fest at Assembly Hall or Late’n’ Live at the Gilded Balloon maintain their after hours status as the key places to be from midnight and later. The biggest and best comedy line-ups in Edinburgh take their place on the stage and cause unadulterated comedy mayhem. Assembly Hall at 00:00 (1h15) – £10-£12.50/Gilded Balloon @01:00 (4h) – £12.
4. So You Think You’re Funny (16-18 Aug)? – In its 29th year of the biggest and best comedy newcomers competition, experience up and coming comedians taking to the stage. Past winners have included Dylan Moran, Lee Mack and Peter Kay. The Grand Final is on Thurs 27 Aug. Gilded Balloon, until 18 Aug at 22:45 – £10 (Grand Final @ 19:30 – £15)
5. Best of So You Think You’re Funny – See the very best of previous contestants and winners from the biggest and best comedy newcomers competitions. You might be surprised at the talent of the guest line-up. Gilded Balloon, 28-30 Aug @ 22:45 – £10.
6. Best of the Edinburgh Showcase Show – This is a great value lunchtime show with a new line-up every day, once again giving you a bite sized flavour of the festival. Pleasance Courtyard @ 13.10 – £8-£11.
7. Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe – Ninety minutes of top talent make up this legendary showcase of comedy, theatre, music and cabaret, all carefully researched by Merv’s dedicated team. Assembly George Square Studios @ 13:00 – £11-£12.
8. The Janice Forsyth Show, Radio Scotland – Be part of the audience for a live recording of Janice Forsyth’s BBC Radio Scotland show on weekdays, which includes a showcase of the best music, performance and conversation from across the Fringe, International and Book Festivals. Tickets are still available for some recordings. Check for availability at 14:00 weekdays. Free.
9. BBC Tent on Potterrow – there’s lots of great things including live shows and broadcasts happening in the blue and pink tent. And even if shows say ‘sold out’, there may be limited tickets available from 11 a.m. each day at the BBC info point at the entrance to the site.
10. Benefit fundraisers – There’s a number of big fundraising gala events in aid of various charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and the Mental Health Foundation. With a raft of comedians and acts, these are a great way of seeing a number of acts, whilst knowing some of your ticket price is going to a good cause. Venues, dates, times and prices vary.