Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 Show Recommendations

This is my completely biased list of recommended shows for Edinburgh Fringe 2014. I’m heavily biased towards improv, because that’s what I do. If I’ve missed something please let me know and I might add it on.

Most of the shows below are listed in detail at www.edfringe.com or are in the Fringe programme, available across Edinburgh. So if you want the show details please have a look at edfringe.com.

Our Top Five Recommendations

These are shows that are new to Edinburgh that I think could potentially be a breakthrough hit. Previous Hoopla Top Recommendations included Austentatious, Luisa Omielan’s What Would Beyonce Do, Lady Cariad’s Characters, Humphrey Ker, Josh Widdicombe and The Play That Goes Wrong, who were indeed all breakthrough hits that year. These don’t include already well known shows, they have to be relatively new. I haven’t actually seen them yet, because they are new, but I have a good feeling about them.

1. The Human Loire at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. This is what Edinburgh needs dammit! This is what the whole comedy industry needs! Completely bonkers and ridiculous, in fact the result of a great man’s (Michael Brunström) mind focussed on the ridiculous and absolute joy of improv. Like nothing you’ve seen before. Very silly.

2. Dave Waller: Where My Folk To
at Laughing Horse The Wee Pub. This sounds like a great mix of records, Cornish hip hop, videos, stories and comedy that is really professional without loosing the lovely friendly audience banter of Dave Waller. Dave’s deliberately booked it into a small venue so it should feel like hanging out in his living room while experiencing a really funny, touching and interesting show, a treat.

3. Max Dickins: My Groupon Adventure at Pleasance Courtyard. Max got great reviews and audiences at last year’s Edinburgh and he’s back this year with an awesome show idea – he’s been saying yes to whatever he gets offered on Groupon for a year and it’s sent him on a massive adventure. He’s had colonic irrigations, pregnancy scans, his own face printed on a duvet and even got auctioned off for a date. His blog is hilarious and has been keeping us amused all year.

4. Oh Boy! The Quantum Leap Show, The Maydays at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. Amazing idea for an improv show. An improvised episode of Quantum Leap. From one of the UK’s leading improv companies, and the first people I learnt improv from. And it’s free! Oh my gosh this is going to be massive.

5. In Cahoots at St John’s,
9 Victoria Street. This is a sketch duo made up of two very fine improvisers from Shoot from the Hip. They’ve got some neat videos on YouTube too, very professional and funny, very talented pair of writers and performers.

Our Top Five Safe Bets

These are acts that come to Edinburgh each year and are always really good. If you’re the enthusiastic Edinburgh organiser but have a cynical friend with you then take them to see these shows because they will love them and be won over.

1. Showstoppers at Gilded Balloon. The classic Edinburgh show, an improvised musical with great stories and songs made up on the spot.

2. Austentatious at Pleasance Dome. This is one of the best improv shows out there, an entire Jane Austen novel made up on the spot. You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to appreciate it, it tells a great story with fun characters and is incredibly funny.

3. Baby Wants Candy at Assembly Roxy. Big kicks ass improvised musical.

4. Lights! Camera! Improvise! The Mischief At Pleasance Courtyard. This is one of my favourite improv shows and a long-term Edinburgh classic. An improvised movie made up on the spot with great story, lots of laughs. The cast are really professional and give improv a slick edge that makes it great for all audiences.

5. Who Ya Gonna Call at Laughing Horse at The Counting House. A comedy musical based on The Ghostbusters. People were queuing around the block last year on its debut, and it’s back this year.

And a bonus number 6:

6. The Beta Males at The Pleasance Courtyard. The Beta Males bring a different sketch show every year and it’s always excellent. I have no idea how they do it, good on them.

Our Top Three Shows Not in the Programme

Some venues were a bit slow at confirming show slots this year, so many groups missed the deadline for the paper venue, here’s some good ones:

1. Peablossom Cabaret. They started performing in London recently and I had about three people phone me up afterwards saying I should book them afterwards, which is always a good sign. A musical comedy cabaret act, making up songs on the spot. www.peablossomcabaret.com

2. All Made Up. They’re not in the Edinburgh paper programme but are online at edfringe.com. Exciting group of experience actresses taking their first improv show to the fringe.

3. Joystick. These guys make a really fun improvised movie, with a mix of improv and big physical clowning. I’ll put a link here when I found it.

Our Top Improv Recommendatons (In alphabetical order)

Aaaand Now for Something Completely Improvised, Racing Minds at The Pleasance Courtyard. We keep hearing great things about this group, and are desperate to book them for our club. They also have Tom Skelton in the cast, who I think is one of the funniest and intense improvisers I’ve ever seen.

Cariad & Paul at Pleasance Dome. These are two of the best improvisers in the country and the chemistry between them is fantastic. If you’re an improviser you need to see this show. If you’re not an improviser go watch this show. Funny and beautiful at the same time.

The Improvised Improv Show at Laughing Horse Jekyll & Hyde. This is a great one for all improvisers. Run by a lovely chap called Luc Valvona, anyone who turns up can come and take part in a massive improv jam. A great place for improvisers to meet each other and perform.

John Robertson: The Dark Room at Underbelly, Cowgate. I’ve had so many people recommend this to me but haven’t seen it yet.

Lights! Camera! Improvise! The Mischief At Pleasance Courtyard. This is one of my favourite improv shows and a long-term Edinburgh classic. An improvised movie made up on the spot with great story, lots of laughs. The cast are really professional and give improv a slick edge that makes it great for all audiences.

Mysteries of the Unknown, Bristol Improv at Sweet Grassmarket. There’s some amazing improv coming out of Bristol, and there are loads of Bristol groups coming to Edinburgh this summer. Bristol has really got it’s scene together, with groups working together to put on new improv.

Oh Boy! The Quantum Leap Show, The Maydays at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. Amazing idea for an improv show. An improvised episode of Quantum Leap. From one of the UK’s leading improv companies, and the first people I learnt improv from. And it’s free! Oh my gosh this is going to be massive.

Shhh – An Improvised Silent Movie at Gryphon@WestEnd. I haven’t seen this or heard anything about it but I think it’s a cool idea so I’m going to check it out.

Stuck, The RH Experience at C Nova. The RH Experience are hugely popular on YouTube and also one of our main acts at our comedy club with a massive London fan base. Three guys, all hilariously funny, amazing at characters and one of the few improv groups that have a style uniquely theirs. I’d like to bottle them up but I can’t catch them they are too quick. It’s about time they were on TV.

Whose Live Show Is It Anyway? At Underbelly, Bristo Square. This is a reunion of the old Whose Line cast. For me Whose Line means cycling back from scouts quickly to catch the show, and then raiding my parent’s drink cabinet before my Mum and Dad got back from the pub, rock and roll!

Our Top Five Free (Donation Only) Shows (In alphabetical order)

There are some amazing free shows at Edinburgh. Recently many of the award winning acts have come out of the various free fringe. Free doesn’t mean rubbish anymore, it more often means amazing show by a independent performer who didn’t want to be restricted by the financial demands of the larger venues. Please remember to give a donation on the way out though.

The Human Loire at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. This is what Edinburgh needs dammit! This is what the whole comedy industry needs! Completely bonkers and ridiculous, in fact the result of a great man’s (Michael Brunström) mind focussed on the ridiculous and absolute joy of improv. Like nothing you’ve seen before. Very silly.

I Have an Idea for a Film, Katy Schutte at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House. I haven’t seen this yet but Katy is one of the best improvisers in the whole of the UK, behind some amazing shows (like improvised Quantum Leap and Who Ya Gonna Call, also on this year), and I’ve got a really good feeling about this. Again, I can’t believe there is so much great stuff for free.

The Improvised Improv Show at Laughing Horse Jekyll & Hyde. This is a great one for all improvisers. Run by a lovely chap called Luc Valvona, anyone who turns up can come and take part in a massive improv jam. A great place for improvisers to meet each other and perform.

In Cahoots at St John’s, 9 Victoria Street. This is a sketch duo made up of two very fine improvisers from Shoot from the Hip. They’ve got some neat videos on YouTube too, very professional and funny, very talented pair of writers and performers.

Katia Kvinge present Karacters, Globe Bar in Niddry Street. I’m going to see this because I met Katia in a Mick Barnfather clown workshop and thought she was one of the funniest people ever.

Liz Peters: Toybox at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. Liz from The Maydays going solo. I haven’t seen this yet but Liz is one of the most fun and playful performers I know, and has an incredible singing voice, so I think this will be excellent.

Oh Boy! The Quantum Leap Show, The Maydays at Cowgatehead, 65 Cowgate. Amazing idea for an improv show. An improvised episode of Quantum Leap. From one of the UK’s leading improv companies, and the first people I learnt improv from. And it’s free! Oh my gosh this is going to be massive.

Pippa Evans at Bannermans. Pippa is one of the best comedians and improvisers in the country, usually known for characters and improvising in Showstoppers. This is her as her. I can’t believe this is free, this is going to be hugely popular so get there early.

Who Ya Gonna Call at Laughing Horse at The Counting House. A comedy musical based on The Ghostbusters. People were queuing around the block last year on its debut, and it’s back this year.

Other Recommendations

Bec Hill
The Grandees
Dan Lees Brainchild
Beardyman
Absolute Improv
Improverts
Abandoman

If I’ve missed something please let me know and I might add it on.

Have a great Edinburgh everyone!

Steve

Hoopla
www.HooplaImpro.com

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