The Best Word-Of-Mouth Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Trashy Times have been at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the past fortnight seeking out the best word-of-mouth shows. Most newspapers only publish lists of shows which have paid for their place via PR, so they don’t accurately reflect the best and most loved shows. To get these, we spoke to punters to see who they thought was worth watching. Here’s the top ten list as decided by the public:
1. Luisa Omielan – Am I Right Ladies?
Luisa’s debut, “What Would Beyonce Do?” was a bona-fide breakthrough smash hit show. Despite being nestled away from the hub of the Fringe, upstairs in a tiny bar near the Meadows, her deeply personal (and deeply hilarious and uplifting) show struck a chord with people and word of mouth propelled her to stardom. Her follow up “Am I Right Ladies?” was even better, a bold, beautifully structured, honest and hilarious show that took us on a revealing personal journey through her formative years, sex life and struggles with depression.
Both shows are coming to the EICC for one night only. It might be your last chance to see them, so book tickets now!
2. Hate ‘n’ Live
This improvised show has the audience write down suggestions which are pulled out of a bucket, then a revolving lineup of comedians have to say why they hate that subject – no matter what it is. Despite the show starting after midnight in the cavernous Maggie’s Chamber at the Three Sisters, it has a loyal following and packs in the punters, even mid-week. Hate ‘n’ Live veers between Radio 4 panel show fun and antagonistic, boundary pushing anarchy, with the audience on the edge of their seats as they wait to see what comes out of the bucket next.
3. Pun Man 2 – Girls Just Wanna Hear Puns
An hour of puns can be draining, as anyone who’s seen any pun based act do an hour will testify. Pun-Man, aka UK Pun Champion Leo Kearse, keeps the energy high by improvising puns based on audience interaction and segueing off into longer form pieces on Pun-Man’s difficulties working in a coal mine, buying a train ticket, or maintaining an erection. Part of the fun is seeing him struggle or improvise insanely convoluted or tenuous puns, but then he’ll fire off a dizzying sequence of puns to applause. This show isn’t for everyone but has some fans returning to see the show over and over, and yelling out his catchphrase, “Party time!” and “Any subject at all!”. Get there early to guarantee a seat as word of mouth has seen this show grow every day.
4. Trevor Lock – Ordiance Survey
One of the country’s finest improvising comedians, Trevor has a loyal following in Edinburgh. It’s a highly interactive show about nothing as Trevor corrals the audience and takes a register of names. If that sounds unfunny, please don’t be put off – it is one of the funnest and funniest shows Trashy Times has seen, with moments of pure joy that left us crying with laughter. Best to arrive early as there was a large queue on the day we saw it.
5. Darius Davies – Road to Wrestlemania
Ever had a dream – even though it was most the most deluded dream possible? Darius Davies did – despite weighing 10 stone and lacking any physical prowess, Darius dreamed of becoming the next Hulk Hogan and headlining WrestleMania. This is the story of that journey from beginning to end detailing his love for pro wrestling and the ins and outs of the game, including steroids, cutting, broken bones and a renaissance through comedy.
6. Russell Hicks – Deadliner
Another phenomenal improviser, American Russell Hicks previously worked with anarchic Perrier award winner Phil Kay, and you can see why they were drawn to each other. Russel’s show is a freewheeling animal, with audience interaction providing the catalyst for threads of comedy. It feels like he’s MCing the room, but as he rolls on, he weaves the strands of interaction together and disappears on hilarious tangents. Unlike any other show you’ll see at the Fringe.
7. Will Franken
American satirist and character comedian Will Franken is no stranger to controversy and boundary pushing, having lived for a while as a woman and launched the “Defining The Norm” awards which shine a much needed spotlight on an increasingly bland and corporate Edinburgh Fringe. An industry outsider, Franken is one of the few comedians unafraid to satirise comedy’s liberal holy cows as he takes on political correctness, militant feminism, fundamentalist Islam and the comedy industry itself. A deserved underground hit from a comedian’s comedian.
8. Nico Yearwood – The Irreverent
A stalwart of the London comedy club scene where he regularly MC’s for Top Secret Comedy Club, Nico Yearwood’s smooth Bajan charm belies his biting routines around race, society, colonialism, gentrification and relationships. His charisma and warmth keeps the love in the room though.
9. Rob Mulholland – Champion of Comedy
Champion of Comedy is a triumphant tale of heartbreak from one of England’s fastest rising new comics. An honest, unflinching, hilarious show about love, loss and bodily fluids. It’s a work in progress for his debut hour next year.
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