Preview: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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The largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs this year from 7th to 31st August, boasting over 3,000 shows to choose from across the city. The choice can be overwhelming if you’ve no idea where to start – and seeing around eight shows a day at an average of £9 a pop soon adds up, so there’s no room for bad decisions (especially expensive ones!) Here’s some recommendations to kick-start your plans.

Sh*t-faced Shakespeare | Magnificent Bastard Productions
Underbelly, George Square | 5th – 31st August | 9.35pm

Magnificent Bastard bring their notoriously funny take on the Bard back to the purple depths of the Underbelly this year. Playing to some of the largest audiences at the Fringe, the team from MB put on a traditional Shakespeare play each night, but with a twist – one of their cast members is blind drunk. The beauty of this is that anything can happen… but usually it ends in the drunk actor embarrassing themselves, giving away the plot too early and generally de-railing the play.

Blind Mirth | Blind Mirth Improv Comedy
Paradise in the Vault | 8th – 15th & 17th – 22nd August | 9pm

St. Andrews’ improv troupe might be lesser-known than names like the Cambridge Footlights, but they’re just as funny – I went back twice last year. Through some wildly original improvisational games, Blind Mirth prove that they are a well-oiled joke machine. Never missing the mark, the troupe will undoubtedly soon be one of the biggest student names at the Fringe.

Mafia?/Western? | Sleeping Trees
Pleasance Courtyard | 5th – 22nd August | 5pm

Mafia_ JVB Double ImageHaving previously torn apart The Odyssey and Treasure Island, the impossibly funny Sleeping Trees return to the Fringe this year with their take on gangster and cowboy films. Joined for the first time by the Physics House Band, this year’s show guarantees to be just as ridiculous as their previous efforts. Don’t miss the Sleeping Trees and their face-contorting, multi-roling, storytelling genius.

Strawberries in January / Dogfight / The Craft of the Cooper | Gone Rogue Productions
C Nova / C Too / C Cubed | 16th – 31st August | 7.20pm / 7.30pm / 4.55pm

Our own Theatre Group and Showstoppers are returning to the Fringe with more shows than ever before. Catch Strawberries in January, a quirky Canadian rom-com; Dogfight, a folk-rock musical that tells the story of a band of 1960s marines, and The Craft of the Cooper, an original musical set in the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968 at C Venues – three shows with all with something different to offer, showcasing some of our best home-grown talent.

Uncanned Laughter / Guns Ablaze | Comedy Society
Sportsters Bar | 8th – 17th & 20th – 29th / 10th – 27th (times vary) 

Southampton Comedy Society are setting their Jesters and Outtakes loose on the Fringe this year with a duo of shows that promise two things: they’re funny, and they’re free. Both hand-selected teams, the Jesters’ sketch debut went down a storm in the Annex Theatre, while the Outtakes’ improv show will bring fresh laughs to the Fringe every evening.

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What do you do with a BA in English? Well, not a lot, which is why Caitlin also works as Deputy Editor here as well as being Head of Events and Marketing for SUSU Performing Arts, on top of blogging and communications for SUSU. After spending an unhealthy amount of her adolescence on the stage, she's taken to slagging other people off for their efforts. Aspiring theatre critic and all-round sassy queen.

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