Always Be Comedy’s James Gill selects the shows you can’t miss during the Festival Fringe.
Sara Pascoe: Sara Pascoe Vs History
Pascoe has been on her way to greatness for some time, and may have arrived with this show on relationships, new love and an interesting take on Page 3. Expect this to be among the nominations. All aboard the Pascoe bandwagon: I’m driving.
Nick Helm: Two Night Stand At The Grand
One reason Helm is so beloved is because no two performances are the same. Heck, how many other acts can offer the possibility of an on-stage nervous breakdown? Backed by his band The Helmettes, this is two hours of solid gold hits. Expect blood, sweat and tears. Lots of tears.
Sarah Kendall: Touchdown
After taking time out to raise a family, the affable Australian makes a triumphant return with a twisting tale of teenage friendship. Touchdown goes off at unexpected tangents, with Jaws: The Revenge and Police Academy getting both barrels along the way, before a touching denouement.
Rachel Parris: Live In Las Vegas
Parris (also in Austentious, another must-see) is a revelation, taking on the persona of deluded Vegas diva Felice to room-rockingly funny effect. As big a monster as Felice is, you’ll be singing the songs for weeks. Altogether now: “I’m amazing…” And yes, that’s her from Thronecast! (Rachel, not Felice. Obviously).
Seann Walsh: 28
A lot of Edinburgh shows have a narrative arc, with the star taking you on an emotional journey before a tear-jerkingfinale. Not on Walsh’s watch. Simply strap in and belly laugh for an hour in the company of one of Britain's funniest comedians. You’ll be quoting the Wi-Fi bit on the way out.
David Trent: Live at the Pleasance Courtyard
Using his trusty projector as a sniper’s rifle, Trent takes aim at the BNP, Robin Thicke, the Oscars and a whole heap more in this solid hour of Trentertainment™. If Charlie Brooker ever calls time on Screenwipe, Trent suggests he’d make a canny successor.
Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day
Romesh doesn’t think he’s a particularly nice person, but is working at getting better, as showcased in an hour of rock-solid observational comedy. The former teacher has only been going for five years, so Ranganathan’s rise to stardom is as impressive as it is deserved. After Edinburgh, there’s a UK tour.
Russell Kane: Smallness
Kane takes his successful Smallness tour to Edinburgh, and you simply have to see him live. The bard of Essex has that winning blend of delivery, material and sheer energy to make for a spellbinding hour. A modern master at the peak of his powers, also see his dark one-man play The Closure Of Craig Solly.
Now boasting seven members, this super-talented bunch improvise Jane Austen novels based on audience suggestions. Consistently hilarious, you’ll invariably leave wondering how on earth they pull it off. Members Joseph Morpurgo, Cariad Lloyd and Rachel Parris also have shows this Festival.
Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton
Remember I mentioned some shows have a narrative arc and a tear-jerking finale? This is one of them! Sometimes the best stand-up comes from bearing your soul, and here Caton serves up a touching account of his formative years and his relationship with his beloved mum. And yes, this show contains turtles.