Stand-up shows at Ed Fringe 2018: Five of our favourites
If you enjoy laughing, then chances are you also enjoy stand-up comedy. And if that’s the case, you really need be at the Edinburgh Fringe. Throughout August each year, among over 3,000 individual shows covering the entire spectrum of theatrical arts, you’ll find anyone who is – or aspires to be – anyone in comedy, aiming to tickle your funny bone as hard and often as an hour-long set in one of the city’s hundreds of venues allows. From household names selling out enormous theatres to newcomers honing their craft at a substantial financial loss in the sweaty basement of a pub, with a deep technicolour ocean of styles, forms and standards in between, Edinburgh is the home of stand-up.
But any visit to this shining epicentre of mirth will inevitably be tinged with disappointment. With such a bewildering number of acts on show, you’ve no hope of seeing it all. Similarly, we can hardly claim to recommend a “Best of the Fringe”, after having witnessed approximately 0.02% of what’s on offer. We can, however, give you the lowdown on some of our favourites.
Jordan Brookes: Bleed
In a similar sense to how Ross Noble seems to craft sets on the fly as audience interactions open new surrealist avenues, so each Jordan Brookes show appears to come by way of internal conflict. While the material in Bleed – ostensibly focussed on the end of a romantic relationship – has been crafted with practice into a series of perfect bleeding edges, the surrounding performance depends heavily on the fears, joys and anxieties that strike Brookes in that specific moment. Together with the sheer frantic energy that a much-vaunted comic physicality lends his work, this unpredictability makes for an utterly compelling stand-up experience. Add in some clever use of technology and you have one of the funniest and hardest-hitting shows to be found anywhere.
Bleed is at Pleasance Courtyard from 21st August until 26th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Simon Munnery: The Wreath
In the unlikely event that Jimmy Carr or Jason Manford are ever discovered to be working the early shift as a cleaner at factory farm to help put food on the table, the red-tops will fall over themselves in a mawkish clamour to cover their fall from grace. That bona fide alternative comedy legend Simon Munnery has quietly crafted the latest of his charmingly meandering sets around his experiences “egg-side” speaks to the downright injustice of fame as well as to the true meaning of grace. Bringing myriad expressions of his art – including single-sentence zingers, oil painting and minor corporate espionage – to the stage with a deftness bestowed by more than 30 years on the circuit, Munnery is a comedic force to be reckoned with. You should do your very best to try and catch The Wreath.
The Wreath is at The Stand Comedy Club from 21st August until 26th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Lou Sanders: Shame Pig
As if to underline the difference between toxic shame and mere fleeting embarrassment, when Lou Sanders accidentally spills her non-alcoholic lager all over the stage she commands, she remains focused to the point that her audience hardly notices. Disarmingly honest and at times deceptively dark, Shame Pig has been forged with the clearly stated aims of liberating us from our shame and disenfranchising those who seek to shame us in the first place. With a laser-sharp post-Weinstein hindsight, Sanders nails targets such as gender disparity in shame quotas, the trouble with unreliable father figures and the notion that talking about lady-parts can be described as “unladylike”. Vibrant, energetic, and chock-full of laughs, this is a show that it would be a real shame to miss.
Shame Pig is at Monkey Barrel from 21st August until 26th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Tony Law: A Lost Show
We have The Who to thank for the Anglophilia that brought the frantically whirling dervish of comedic talent that is Tony Law to our shores from a Canadian teenage wasteland. Coming six years after the show that won the most acclaim, and three years since its creator embraced sobriety, A Lost Show finds the performer relaxed, sure of himself and completely in his prime. Looking like a cross between Rolling Thunder Review-era Bob Dylan and an explosion in a trouser factory, Law delivers his material at breakneck speed in a bewildering variety of voices and styles, which ensures – regardless of individual audience member’s sensibilities – the next gale of laughter from the whole group is never more than a few seconds away. This absurdist theatrical tour de force features a bear from space, an argument between two lamps and a triumphant cameo from a nine-year-old boy. Miss it at your peril.
A Lost Show is at Monkey Barrel from 21st August until 26th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Rob Oldham: Worm’s Lament
Rob Oldham left university on the day that the Brexit referendum result was returned, so you’ll forgive him if he already appears world-weary at the tender age of 23. Armed with the bookish analytical sensibilities of a recent graduate of English and the social anxieties of a recent graduate of anything, Oldham explores the millennial landscape – from freshers’ week to gun control – from a unique and insightful perspective. Though the confidence and command to forcefully drive gags home are occasionally lacking at present, Oldham’s talent is in no doubt, and his atmospheric “tonal prose poems” add uniquely artful flourishes to an enjoyable hour spent in the company of this thoughtful and funny young man. One to watch.
Worm’s Lament is at Pleasance Courtyard from 21st August until 27th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.