6 of the Best Shows to take a Date to at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Image © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
Written for eHarmony by Ben Clover
Each August Edinburgh is home to the world’s largest arts festival, showcasing everything from the highest of high culture to the lowest of the low-brow.
Flyerers, street-performers and giant advertising hoardings will all make suggestions for how you could spend your time and there’s a lot to be said for taking a punt on something at random. Nowhere else on the planet allows you to spend an idle hour with either a Mongolian throat-singing choir, an all-female production of Hamlet or a comedy-caberet show about philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.
So after a stroll down the Royal Mile (assuming you’re both ok with crowds and student theatre) allow me to suggest some shows that will guarantee you something to talk about for the rest of the date.
1) Hilarious Japanese punk mime duo Gamarjobat are back at the festival this year, and come recommended by no less a comedy luminary Stewart Lee. They’re great fun and I am confident you could put this high-energy act in front of an audience of any age, anywhere in the world and at any point in human history and they would triumph.
2) For a more traditional but no less brilliant hour of comedy Tim Renkow comes highly recommended. The 24-year-old American is immensely funny, warm and spiky and has won a brace of awards over the past three months. Tim’s show is part of the upstart free fringe movement so you can either book in advance or pay what you want at the end.
3) For another kind of comedy again, and one that might be familiar from TV in the nineties, you could join Clive Anderson, who has reunited many of the regulars from the improv show Whose Line is it Anyway?
What Does the Title Matter Anyway? promises pretty much exactly the same kind of off-the-cuff fun as Whose Line Is It Anyway? but can’t call itself Whose Line Is It Anyway? for copyright reasons. Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence and Colin Mochrie are all confirmed to appear and other famous faces may well drop in.
4) From comedy aired in the nineties to comedians only just born in that decade – if you fancy an hour with one of the most exciting shows on the free fringe look no further than Born in the 90s. This show is the second from up-and-coming acts Jamali Maddix, Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue and is in the Cowgate, the cheerily seamy sister street to the posher Royal Mile.
5) Up the hill is the Pleasance Courtyard, arguably the capital city of the Fringe and filled with established acts. There’s a lot to see here but I enjoyed Lizzie Bates’ show Reprobates. The talented actress and Bafta Rocliffe winner spins a cheerily unhinged hour from her stable of characters. The audience is very much part of the show here so be prepared to be bossed about in an air-raid shelter or taught the finer points of embassy dinner etiquette.
6) For an even more interactive comedy experience check out Choose Your Own Comedy Adventure. From the fevered brows of award-winning stand-ups Barry Ferns and Alasdair Beckett-King this free show takes the premise of the adventure books that allow you to guide the fate of the central characters, usually as they go on some kind of quest. Featuring animations from Beckett-King, Britain’s leading Pre-Raphaelite Viking comic, this delightful show will certainly give you something to talk about afterwards.
Ben Clover is an award-winning comedian and, if you were so inclined, you could see his daily shows at 8.45pm at The Wee Pub, Grassmarket, 10.30pm on the Top Deck of the Comedy Bus in the Free Sisters Courtyard, Cowgate, or at 23.15 in The Gothic Room, also in the Free Sisters, Cowgate (although not on Fridays or Saturdays).
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