My Fringe Recommendations: Part 2
Here's the next 25, from Gareth Morinan all the way up to Madame Magenta:
Gareth Morinan's Play: Time
PBH @ The Banshee Labyrinth, 20:30. Free
God knows what this will actually be. I'm supposed to be in it and I'm not totally clear on it. It's basically a sort of semi-improvised piece of multimedia theatre, but that's all I know. Gareth's one of the funniest people I know though, so it'll probably end up being as good as it is vague. Gareth is also performing The Michael Gove Expose, in which he reveals the darkest secrets of my worst celebrity lookalike.
The Grandees Present: BaBoom!
Underbelly Cowgate, 16:00. £10/£9
The Grandees (Marny Godden, Tom Turner and Andrew Mudie) have deservedly built up a cult following over the last few years with their unique brand of absurd characters and surreal mini-plays. This year's show, which tells the story of a lonely sound collector, some teachers who set off to alter reality, and a young girl who's abducted by an owl that looks like Elton John, is sure to build on that and be an even bigger hit.
Harriet Kemsley: The Irrational Fears Of Rillettes
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 19:00. Free
Harriet Kemsley has consistently been one of the most engaging and exciting new comics over the last couple of years, and just continues getting better, like a fine wine (though I don't actually like wine). A recent highlight involved her passionate routine about how much she hates ET at Laugh Out London's Disney night, because she'd misunderstood the premise.
Henry Von Stifle: Working Class Hero (With A Valet)
Freestival @ St. John's, 14:30. Free
Paul Dance's shambolic character creation, drunken lecturer Henry Von Stifle, finally comes to the Fringe with his own show, now accompanied by long-suffering valet Spencer Mulgrew (Chris Gau). Together, they'll be delivering a show full of daft edutainment, physical nonsense and brooding poetry. There's a great bit where they try to go through an imaginary door.
His & Hers Wild Vaudeville
Just The Tonic @ The Tron, 17:00. £5
Irrepressible diva Sharnema Nougar and deadpan fool Leo Conville team up for a two-hander of clowning, songs and silliness. I was a guest in Sharney's Are You Serious? A Whimsical Stupid Circus last year and can't wait to see her doing a more extended show for adults, while Leo's always been hilarious and absolutely engaging every time I've seen him.
Hooray For Ben Target
PBH @ The Banshee Labyrinth, 14:00. Free
Since his award-nominated debut show Discover Ben Target in 2012, Ben's continued to experiment with ideas and cement his reputation as one of the most imaginative, inventive and exciting comics around. I tried to help him with one of his ideas a while ago, but wasn't able to because I was supposed to use a lollipop for it and lost control of myself and ate it before I went onstage. So my input to this show is sadly nil.
Ian Smith: Flappable
Pleasance Courtyard, 18:00. £10/£9
I missed Ian Smith's acclaimed debut show, Anything, last year, but have seen a lot of Flappable and it's great. Ian's naturally funny because he's got such a nice soft northern accent that makes things sound hilarious (but I've got into trouble for patronising northerners before, so I'll stop). But on top of that, he's also a really sharp writer with some brilliant routines. The ones on trains and Skittles are my favourites.
In Cahoots: Some Like It Hoots
Freestival @ St. John's, 18:15. Free
Paul "Not The Porn King Of Soho" Raymond and Luke "Plays All The Girl Parts" Manning have been blazing a trail through the sketch circuit with their slick, ingenious and very funny vignettes. My favourite from last year involved a caveman explaining to his parents that he was a gatherer rather than a hunter, while the adventures of downtrodden superhero Northern Man is a new highlight from this year's show.
It Might Get Ugly
Pleasance Courtyard, 23:00. £10
Apparently the buzzword in comedy this year is "honesty." Karl Schultz has become particularly proactive in his pursuit of daringly cathartic comedy with his new night which challenges comedians to be honest to the point of regret and to take emotional risks. Harry Hill, Sara Pascoe, Liam Williams, Trevor Lock and John Kearns have all performed at IMGU, with many other great special guests throughout the Fringe run.
Jack Gardner & Liberty Hodes On Ice
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 16:30. Free
Liberty Hodes is the lead vocalist and dramaturg of the Dickheads, the cult post-punk/funk/freak folk band that includes myself and Adam Larter. I've actually never seen her comedy act, but she tells me it's good. Jack Gardner and I used to be good friends until I wrote that article about northerners, which he said was patronising and ill-informed, which it was. But I think this show will be great despite the bad blood.
James Acaster: Recognise
Pleasance Courtyard, 20:00. £12/£10
James Acaster's last two shows were both nominated for Best Show, so he doesn't really need a recommendation from me, but I'm giving him one anyway. Mainly because I saw a few early mini-previews of Recognise back before Christmas and there's a really wonderful, gloriously silly idea at the heart of it that James riffs on brilliantly. I won't spoil the surprise, but think The Departed.
Jody Kamali: One Man Variety Show
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 15:45. Free
Jody Kamali is a clown and character comic whose daftness and silliness is only matched by his total commitment to absurd ideas - I've seen him take an act about a Mafia Don with a passion for ballroom dancing so far that he ended up smashing another act's iPhone. He also has posters up above some Edinburgh urinals, so his advertising campaign is one of the most intimate of the year.
John Kearns: Shtick
PBH @ The Voodoo Rooms, 17:05. Free
Last year, when recommending John's debut show Sight Gags For Perverts, I praised him for his originality and for all the support and inspiration he'd given me over the years. In the wake of the huge success of that award-winning show, saying any of that again will make me look a bit self-consciously trendy, so I'm just going to say that this will be very, very good.
John-Luke Roberts: Stnad-Up
PBH @ The Voodoo Rooms, 18:05. Free
One of the co-founders of the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, John-Luke Roberts has a proven ability to take audiences on a journey though totally new and unpredictable ideas. I recently saw him in women's underwear holding a puppet next to his crotch and making it mime along to "My Vag" by Awkwafina. That was a lunch break to remember! LOL!
Jonny & The Baptists: The Satiric Verses
Pleasance Dome, 21:40. £11/£9.50
Jonny & The Baptists caused a nationwide stir earlier this year with their Stop UKIP tour, which saw several UKIP representatives raising public complaints that ultimately served to shift far more tickets. This new show follows off the back of their brush with political scandal and will no doubt be another big hit for the award-nominated musical duo.
Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa
Pleasance Dome, 17:20. £10.50/£9.50
Character comic Joseph Morpurgo had a great year last year, both as part of hit improv troupe Austentatious and with his own acclaimed debut solo show Truthmouth. He's back with more brilliance this year, in a show that weaves together a sort of 1980s police procedural narrative via a series of characters drawn from some archive footage of a 1980s ad break.
Joz Norris: Awkward Prophet
Underbelly Bristo Square, 16:20. £10/£9
Whoops, how the hell did this get here? Oh well, better leave it in, looks bloody brilliant.
Katia Kvinge Presents Karacters
PBH @ Globe Bar, 20:00. Free
If you're a fan of international comedy then Katia ticks lots of boxes as she's part-American and part-Norwegian with a Scottish accent. She also ticks lots of comedy boxes, being an equally adept comic actress, clown and all-round funny person. Her show includes a rollerskating diner waitress, the manager of a year-round Christmas shop and a great French Lego racer.
Kristian D Kirklan: Big Society
Freestival @ Phones 4 U, 16:15. Free
Kristian has been representing acts like Adam Larter and funny fishmonger Darren Maskell for a while now, and was all set to step out of the shadows for the first time in this solo show. However, things have gone a bit wrong - I accidentally got Darren dropped and Kristian has publically disowned Adam as his director and legally changed his name to Phil Marketing. Lord knows what the future of his proposed show will be.
Laurence Owen: Lullabies Of Pervland
Freestival @ Fingers Piano Bar, 18:30. Free
Laurence Owen's debut solo show is an hour of musical comedy characterised by its sleaziness and cynicism, but for music of such a nihilistic bent, it's helluva catchy. The high-point is an awe-inspiringly good, fully orchestrated Disney piss-take exposing the studio's more chauvinistic tropes, but there's plenty more great stuff here besides.
Underbelly Cowgate, 22:50. £10.50/£9.50
A year ago, a bunch of the best clowns and idiots on the circuit, including Donal Coonan, Eva Casotto, Leo Conville, Stuart Bowden and Cheekykita, teamed up for a no-holds-barred extravaganza called Le Flop. Since then, the show has gone from strength to strength, whipping up a storm at various Fringes, and this year arrives in full force in Edinburgh for an hour of stupid clown comedy.
The Live Scriber: Doodle-a-thon-edy!
Heroes @ Bob & Miss Behave's Bookshop, 13:20. PWYW
Pete Morey, a.k.a. The Live Scriber, has been doodling various comedy nights for the last few months (I've got a Morey original in my hallway of my Leicester preview), and finally there's a show that puts his artwork centre-stage - it'll feature a mixed bill of guests who will analyse Pete's visual renditions of their routines, and audience members will also get the chance to doodle what they hear.
Lou Sanders In Another Great Show Again
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 22:30. Free
Lou Sanders's show title is very arrogant, but she gets away with it by virtue of being very silly. She's got one of the most unique brains in comedy, and the previews I've seen so far have been full of amazing ideas. A while ago she was asking for a less irritant sugar substitute to pour all over her head though, so I hope that's not a sign she's going to be too sensible in her new show.
Luke McQueen: Now That's What I Luke McQueen
Pleasance Courtyard, 20:00. £10/£9
Seriously, Luke McQueen will do anything in pursuit of fame. He's gone round knocking on doors asking if people recognise him. He's entered a rap battle and smashed up a Playstation on telly. Pathetic, really. Embarrassing. Also, I don't get the title of his new show. Nah, seriously, though, all joking aside 'n' that, this'll be class.
Madame Magenta: Libros Mystica
PBH @ The Voodoo Rooms, 14:40
White wytch and psychic Madame Magenta is the alter-ego of character comic Lindsay Sharman. Equally adept at belting out 80s hair metal numbers about wishing on a star as at communing with the vague spirits of audience members' ancestors, she'll take you on a journey into the unknown while also trying to sell copies of her new book.