I went to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time – it was great, and I saw 42 shows, but I hadn’t really understood how much transfers (or previews) in London. Which is good for Londoners, and also lets me mop up some shows I couldn’t fit in – my favourites list on the fringe website had over 100 shows I didn’t see.
So here’s my list of things to see in the next few months –
Soho Theatre took 17 shows up to Edinburgh, so naturally they’re programmed in for the next couple of months back in Soho. For comedy, Rose Matafeo won the Comedy Award this year, so is naturally sold out (but rumours of extra shows), Lou Sanders, Sam Campbell, Jordan Brookes, Lucy Pearman and Jessie Cave are all excellent. Things I still want to see: Nate, Felicity Ward, Alfie Brown, The Pin, Tony Law, Ray Bradshaw, Ahir Shah, Lauren Pattison.
Theatre-wise: Underground Railroad Game was the big talking point.
Pleasance is one of the 4 main festival promoters in the Fringe. They also run a theatre in London where some productions are transferring.
Lights Over Tesco Car Park is a fun hour created by a young theatre group.
Freeman is an amazing physical theatre piece exploring racism, slavery, prisons and mental health.
I didn’t see it, but The Archive of Educated Hearts was shown in the tiniest shed round the back of the Pleasance, and got rave reviews. And everyone crying.
Objectively Funny festival
This festival, from September 20-30, is the closest to being at the Fringe (even having some Pay What You Want options). Loads of great shows – Rosie Jones, Heidi Regan, Elf Lyons, Micky Overman, Ed Night etc. etc. John-Luke Roberts was the show that nearly had me crying with laughter in Edinburgh, if you like silly (now rebranded “absurdist”) comedy.
There’s also Hamilton (Lewis) at King’s Head Theatre, Garry Starr Performs Everything at Rosemary Branch and the London Podcast Festival at King’s Place – I know nothing about podcasts but there is Night Vale.
Many of the acts and theatre productions are also touring, so you don’t have to be in London.
The one show I can’t find any transfer for was the best thing I saw – Electrolyte by Wildcard Theatre. I assume it’ll tour (and was developed with Oval House in London so I expect it’ll appear) – worth watching out for.
If you don’t want to move from the sofa, Netflix has the Live From The BBC series, with many comedians doing last year’s Edinburgh show. Comedy Central has some recordings from Soho Theatre, as well as lots of shows from The Comedy Store (check catch up). Soho Theatre On Demand has some of last year’s shows, for a fee.
If I do go to the Fringe again, I’ll probably concentrate more on the international acts, fringe first timers and things that won’t appear immediately in London – for example the Taiwanese dance shows Bon 4 bon and Varhung at Dance Base were a highlight this year. But I do now, weirdly, feel more plugged in to what’s happening in London comedy and theatre, and have more venues to keep an eye on.