In Depth

Edinburgh Fringe – seven shows you won't want to miss

From stand-up silliness to serious angst, these Fringe shows will make you laugh 'til you cry

Originally established as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, The Fringe is now the world's biggest arts festival. Running over three weeks, parallel to the main festival, it showcases hundreds of acts from big names in comedy, physical theatre and cabaret, to newcomers hoping to get noticed. 

Here are six acts to watch out for. Catch them while you can.

Minor Delays, Gilded Balloon

This sketch comedy show features a trio (two young men and a woman), exploring a range of ideas in a series of short, rapid-fire sketches, ranging from bourgeois guilt and class angst to vegetarianism, therapy and debit-card rejection. "This is a relentlessly funny hour, delivering hypersonic comedic perfection," says The Skinny, adding: "All three are clearly set for greatness – see them while it's cheap!"

Sportsmans, until the 25 August.

Raz, by Jim Cartright

This one-man play by celebrated Lancashire writer Jim Cartwright (Road, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) explores the lives of young people living for the weekend. Shane - young, low paid and living at home - reports on his weekend full of booze, drugs, mates and encounters with the local ladies. The Guardian says: "Cartwright is one of a small group of Northern dramatists who can write plays that are loved by people who don't necessarily like theatre... this clever, funny riff has the feel of another crossover work."

Assembly George Square Studios, until 31 August.

Fake it Til You Make It, Traverse Theatre

Performance artist Bryony Kimmings and her real-life boyfriend, Tim Grayburn, explore the taboo of male depression and how it has affected their personal histories with monologues, comedy, dance and movement. The Daily Telegraph says, it is "profoundly moving, often ridiculous and sometimes hilarious" and "might be one of the most important shows at the Fringe this year".

Traverse Theatre, until 30 August.

Bridget Christie

This new comedy show is also a book launch for multi-award-winning Bridget Christie's literary debut A Book for Her (and for him, if he can read). It features 50 minutes of new comedy on everything from the Labour leadership contest to the tampon tax, followed by a ten-minute book signing. "There's more matter in 45 minutes of Christie than an hour of almost anyone else", says The Guardian, which adds: "It's another cracking show from the current queen of crusading UK comedy."

The Stand, until 31 August

Ten Seconds with The Pin

They've recorded a Radio 4 series, had a sell-out show at the Soho Theatre and appear on Comedy Central, BBC3, and Dave. Now The Pin, Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen, are previewing their new show featuring their unique of brand of meta-comedy, dismantling and making fun of comedy itself. The Daily Telegraph says "the whole thing is an ingenious interweaving of smartness and silliness, an impressively fresh and funny reinvention of one of comedy's oldest tropes".

Pleasance Queen Dome, until 31 August.

Fills Monkey: Incredible Drum Show

Eccentric duo Yann Coste and Sébastien Rambaud bring their one-of-a-kind music show to the Fringe. Combining deft humour with virtuoso rhythms, the Incredible Drum Show lives up to its name, complete with crazy beats, tricks and drum battles.Coste and Rambaud are rocking up in Edinburgh fresh from a tour of France, Switzerland and Belgium, where they went down a storm. Time Out Paris applauded the duo for "a talent showcase that riffs on an immense amount of musical knowledge ", which ensures the show is definitely not just one for drum enthusiasts, but a bright, brilliant musical treat for all comers.

Pleasance Court, until 31 August

Man to Man

Tilda Swinton performed this poetic monologue, about a woman in Nazi Germany who assumes her husband's identity, at the Fringe festival back in 1987. This time around the moving one-woman show is in the hands of Margaret Ann Bain. Despite there being the only performer, it's far from a sedate affair. Through a combination of Bain's physicality and clever stage tricks, the set appears crowded, says The Guardian. The paper reserves special praise for Bain, who "sculpts her voice and body to become a cast of dozens".

Underbelly Potterow, until 31 August

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