Edinburgh Fringe 2019

might be over for a few days at the start of the month. 5 years since my last visit, probably don’t have the enthusiasm to fit in AS MANY SHOWS AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE like back then but will probably see Michael Legge and a couple of other people

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Kieran Hodgson is resurrecting all four of his previous shows. Go and see as many as you can as he’s ace.

We might pop down for a day this year.

Ah, good, there’s already a thread.

I’m going for the first time this year and I’m absolutely clueless about what to do. I know I’d like to see some comedy and theatre but finding new, well recommended comedians is hard and the theatre side seems impossible to me - the only plays I’ve ever seen are stuff people on here have recommended!

There’s a handful of people I’d like to see but obviously I’d like to find the exciting, new things that this festival is for but without wasting loads of time and money and ending up trapped in a room for an hour watching something terrible because it’s too awkward to leave.

If I wait until the reviews come in are the good shows going to just sell out instantly? I’m going on the 14th for a couple of nights so I’m hoping by then there’ll be some well reviewed stuff I can get tickets for? Or are there certain well-curated venues that are worth going to regardless of who’s on?

For comedy the Pleasance is generally a great spot to hang around, based around a beer/food courtyard with multiple venues around the complex – generally all good stuff and a chance of getting lastminute tickets to the more popular things too.

I’d get yourself a hard copy programme as soon as you arrive, root through it. Don’t just go for well-reviewed stuff – just take a punt on whatever you think looks interesting. Cross reference with google, particularly with theatre companies and dance, just to make sure the company is up your street.

In my opinion it’s actually a bit pointless going to the Fringe to see comedians who are on panel shows and TV anyway – they’ll be touring their Edinburgh show for the next 12 months so you could see them in any town in the UK with the exact same set. You should use it as an opportunity to take a look at lesser-known people.


So, some basics

  • Well reviewed or hyped/big name ticketed shows may sell out their entire run but it’s fairly rare, so don’t panic too much over needing to plan really far in advance, you can take it day by day.

  • there are also loads of “free” shows, at these the performer just usually stands at the door at the end with a bucket for donations. Don’t feel obliged but remember the fringe is hella expensive for performers.

  • the Half Price Hut, usually on Princes Street, sells half price tickets to loads and loads of shows. What’s on there can change day to day, and sales are in-person only, so no online. The Fringe app usually tells you what they have each day, although be aware queues can be long and sometimes allocations run out - but it’s possible to get a lot of mid-priced stuff v cheap there.

  • generally, i’d just advise you take a punt on stuff that looks or sounds interesting. Like I know nothing about theatre but I’ve seen some good stuff just from looking at the day’s listings on the app and finding something I like the sound of. The bigger venues / companies generally have pretty good quality control.

  • saying that, probably best to avoid anything where the poster is a white guy wearing a suit/no tie and either pointing or with one hand behind his head and a confused look on his face. This may sound VERY specific but once you get here and see the posters you’ll know what I mean.

  • is the Blunderbus is around, go to something on the Blunderbus.

  • you may also wish to look up the Book Festival, which is on when you are around I think, and also has good stuff.



spot on


Such good and reassuring advice, thanks both of you! I know what you mean about the headshots and I think that’s why I was despairing a bit, trying to figure out if I’d find someone funny based on their picture is impossible, particularly when most pictures look exactly as you’ve described.

Good to know I can basically chill out and find stuff when I get there, I thought everything worth seeing would be hopelessly oversubscribed. Side effect of having lived in London for six years I expect.

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When you’re a few shows/pints deep and get the munchies, go to the Mosque Kitchen.


Traverse tends to have some really good theatre wanker stuff on tho can be pricey. Summerhall also great venue - slightly further out of the centre (15 min walk) and bit cheaper

If it’s first time then would recommend trying a few mixed fringe bills (usually a few of these around) Cowgate/Underbelly, Gilded Balloon and Pleasance-dome.

Loads of good places to eat - I like Mums on Forrest Rd

Have a good un

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Summerhall is also about the only regular venue that still has a live music programme during the Fringe.

(Although I don’t think it’s that great this year)

Think Tron Kirk had lots of bands and music on a couple of years ago, though was v hit and miss (remember fleeing the crush outside and sitting through half an hour of Pink Floyd covers)

Some recs from Skinny writers here

The Hoosiers are doing a show?!?!


for me the fringe is all about comedy so these are a very one-note list of recommendations I’m afraid.

The Pretend Men/Police Cops. Their show this year is called “Badass Be Thy Name” and if it’s even half as good as their debut in 2016 then it will be one of the funniest, and physically impressive, performances you’ll ever see.

Stevie Martin - never seen her solo stuff but her sketch trio, Massive Dad, were really funny and so is she so this should be good. Bonus tidbit: her sister, Gina Martin, is the woman who got parliament to pass that upskirting bill last year. Good family.

Austentatious - The only all-the-way-through funny improv I’ve ever seen. An improvised Jane Austen play based on a title provided by the audience. Not sure if they’re doing the Edinburgh run this year but when I saw them both Cariad Lloyd and Rachel Parris were in the cast

Jamie Loftus - I’m going to see this purely on the basis that Jamie has been the host, co-host or guest on pretty much every one of my favourite podcasts over the last couple of years and is always really funny.

Garrett Millerick - This is a cheat as he’s a mate. His style in the past has been ‘shouty angry standup man’ but he’s been through a lot in the last few years and by all accounts this show is his best yet.

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oh my god this is so accurate it’s painful

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Tim Key is doing a run of “work in progress” shows in a very small room (100 seater). Bearing in mind his show last year was in the Pleasance Grand (750 seater), it will be nice to see him in a more (for want of a less wanky word) ‘intimate’ setting:

Headed there today for five days, with about 30 shows booked. Will report back with recommendations!

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Same but only 8 shows booked! What ya seeing? I need inspiration.

Booked for

Tales from the Garden
Alison Spittle: Mother of God
Jonny Donahoe: Forgiveness
Sex Education

If you like physical comedy, mime (but not awful), anything at all adjacent to that … go see Only Bones! Laughed my socks off, very impressive and creative and fun and just a blast.

My brother in law is in a play called My Mate Dave Died. He’s very good you should go and see him :slight_smile: