If you want to see a diverse range of comedy acts, street entertainers, live music and theatre, there’s one place to go this month: the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Running from 4–28 August, the Fringe is one of the most significant arts and cultural celebrations on the planet.
With a few thousand turn-up or ticketed shows to see, which ones should you choose? There are several shows we’ve seen teasers for that are well worth a look. Here are our picks below.
2 Guys, 3 Drams: The Ultimate Live Blues and Whisky Experience
Get ready for some stomping, raucous blues with a side of Scotch whiskey in this show from The Rhythm and Booze Project, a musical duo that fuses live music and whiskey tasting. This was a sell-out show at the 2022 Fringe Festival, so you should book this one early to avoid disappointment. Here’s a preview of what to expect.
When and where: theSpace, Venue45, 20:25 and 22:00, 10–26 Aug.
Mark Simmons: New Jokes
You might recognise Mark Simmons as one of the stand-ups on Mock the Week. As a master of perfectly-timed one-liners, he won ‘Best Comic’ at the Comics’ Comic Awards in 2022, plus a place in Dave’s top 10 jokes at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. See Mark Simmons in action.
When and where: PBH’s Free Fringe, Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse, 13:45, 5–27 Aug.
Afghanistan Is Not Funny (Henry Naylor)
Henry Naylor is an award-winning playwright and actor, having won the Fringe First three times. His play ‘Afghanistan Is Not Funny’ has already received 29 four and five-star critic reviews in 2022. It tells the tale of a trip he made to the Afghan warzone some 20 years ago with photographer Sam Maynard, where the two found themselves in peril on several occasions, including being almost blown to pieces by the Taliban. Read this synopsis in The Scotsman.
When and where: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Wine Bar, 19:15, 11–18 Aug.
The Black Blues Brothers
Billed as the Best Circus Show of 2022 by TheatreWeekly.com, this is a comedy / acrobatic tribute to The Blues Brothers movie. Expect somersaults galore, human pyramids, breathtaking elevated handstands and close calls with fire… it promises to be an exciting show that will leave you thoroughly entertained. Get a sneak peek.
When and where: Assembly Rooms – Music Hall, 15:05, 3–27 Aug.
Chloe Petts: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice
Chloe Petts is a well-known face on the comedy circuit – she’s been shortlisted for a BBC comedy award and has been on TV shows like Celebrity Pointless, Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club and House of Games. Petts’ style of comedy is sharp, genial and relatable – she promises a routine involving Greta Thunberg, the Queen and other thorny topics during Edinburgh Fringe. Here’s a snippet from one of her previous shows.
When and where: Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Above, times vary, 2–13 Aug and 15–27 Aug.
2020 The Musical
2020 The Musical is a refreshing and nostalgic take on the events that occurred during the pandemic. Heart-warming, emotional, uplifting and fun, the show celebrates human resilience in the most challenging of times. You’ll hear the true stories of everyday heroes and discover a new kind of toe-tapping therapy you didn’t know you needed. View the show trailer.
When and where: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Cowbarn, 15:55, 14–27 Aug.
These shows merely scratch the surface of what you can see and do at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023. View the entire programme and plan your visit here. If this is your first time at the Fringe, be sure to download the official EdFringe app, which has many helpful features, such as alerts for nearby shows that are starting soon.