In Depth

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: seven comedy acts not to be missed

Critics' favourites at the Edinburgh Fringe, from 'the creepy-faced ginger man' to Mark Watson's Comedywealth Games

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival kicks off in less than a fortnight with nearly 60,000 performances expected to take place. There is bound to be something for everybody, with plenty of stand-up, sketch comedy and improv being performed from 1 to 25 August in everything from big theatres and pubs to a double decker bus and a garden shed. With so many acts to choose from, here are some of the critics' top recommendations for comedy at the Fringe:

What Does the Title Matter Anyway?

Fans of the radio and television show Whose Line is it Anyway? are bound to enjoy this stage revival, hosted by Clive Anderson. Original cast members Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops and Richard Vranch are also expected to take part in the popular improv games, such as Stand up, Sit down and Lie down, Hoe-down and Props. 

  • Underbelly, Bristo Square, 6–19 Aug , 9pm
Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

The Guardian's Lyn Gardner is looking forward to Bridget Christie's follow-up to her 2013 show A Bic for Her. She's back with "more feminism" this year, says comedy website Chortle, including a section on female genital mutilation. "She succeeded in getting laughs last year without making light of the issues," it says, "so all eyes will be on her again in 2014."

  • The Stand Comedy Club, 2-25 August (not 11 Aug), 11.10am
Luisa Omielan: Am I right Ladies?!

Another comedian on Gardner's list of acts to see is Luisa Omielan. Gardner describes Omielan and Christie as two of the "biggest stand-up hits of the decade". Am I right Ladies?! is the follow up to Omielan's hugely successful debut stand-up show What Would Beyoncé Do?!, which also had a run at Soho Theatre in London.

  • Laughing Horse at The Counting House, 1–24 August (not 10 and 17 Aug), 10.15pm
Mark Watson: Flaws and Comedywealth Games

Alex Hardy in The Times describes Mark Watson as a "prolific force on the comedy circuit" with ambitious topics and 24-hour shows. This year, Watson is doing a stand-up solo show called Flaws, as well as hosting the Comedywealth Games, in which top international comedians compete in non-Olympic events such as fruit-throwing and admin pentathlon.

  • Flaws: Pleasance Courtyard, 30 Jul–24 Aug, 9pm
  • Comedywealth Games: Pleasance Courtyard, 7–16 Aug, 11pm
Josie Long: Cara Josephine

With three Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations, several critics suspect that this might finally be Josie Long's year. The "queen of whimsy" is back in Edinburgh with a new show about "love and being outdoorsy as a bear". Time Out describes her reimagining of Ed Miliband as a mobster boss at a previous Edinburgh Fringe as "a particularly hysterical highlight in a superbly funny show".

  • The Stand Comedy Club, 1–24 Aug (not 11 and 15 Aug), 8.40pm
James Acaster: Recognise

The "gangly" 29-year-old stand-up from Northampton gave a "masterful performance" at this year's Latitude Festival, says Pete Naughton in the Daily Telegraph. And now he is coming to Edinburgh. "With a Fosters Edinburgh nomination under his belt and the panel shows starting to take note, he's set for bigger things," says Naughton.

  • Pleasance Courtyard, 30 July–24 Aug, 8pm
Andrew Lawrence: Reasons to Kill Yourself

Described as "stand-up comedy's foremost creepy-faced ginger man", Andrew Lawrence's latest show is said to be "some amusing thoughts he's cobbled together about how awful the world is". Liam Rudden in the [6]Edinburgh Evening News says Lawrence provides "dark comedy at its best".

  • The Assembly Rooms, 31 July–24 Aug (not 11 and 18 Aug), 8.45pm


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