British Comedy Guide

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011: Shows With Best Reviews

British Comedy Guide's listings for the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival link to over 2,600+ external reviews. We recorded the ratings from 40+ publications during August as we think it important that comedy fans seek out multiple sources before forming an opinion on a show. Just look at The Two Wrongies for an example of why you should never just read one reviewer's opinion alone - some publications hated that show, but some loved it. A good demonstration of why it's worth checking multiple publications we think.

Anyway, this huge bulk of data we've collected (which incidentally averages out at 3 stars - suggesting that, overall, there is still balance across critics) highlights certain comedians did receive more glowing reviews than others. So now the Fringe is over and all the reviews filed, here is the top 25 best reviewed shows, in alphabetical order. Look out for these shows on tour!

Shows With Best Reviews (in Alphabetical Order)



Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches. Adam Riches.

Adam Riches


Total sell-out 2008, 2009, 2010! Chortle Award nominated character comic Adam Riches returns with a brand new show that's 'All a bit much, in a wonderful way' (Times). See All Reviews

Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On. Andrew Maxwell.

Andrew Maxwell


Star of the Edinburgh Fringe and comedy award nominee Andrew Maxwell returns with a brand new hour of mischievous charm and boundary-nudging wit. See All Reviews

Cariad Lloyd: Lady Cariad's Characters. Cariad Lloyd.

Cariad Lloyd


Join Cariad with her hilarious and affectionately drawn cast of characters: Jacque the parkour expert, Andrew the 7-year-old stand-up, Judith the happiest cult member, Cariad the actress and her audition monologues and Cockney Sam's tales of woe in a debut show from this acclaimed character comic. See All Reviews

Doctor Brown: Becaves. Phil Burgers.

Dr Brown


Visual and surreal comedy absurdist Doctor Brown returns to Edinburgh after sold-out runs in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Prague, Dubai and London. See All Reviews

The Horne Section.

Horne Section


Jazz based, vein popping, late night variety show The Horne Section is back. Mixing the best comedy with the finest music in the Spiegeltent's mighty cauldron. 'Fresh, original, blissfully funny; a whole lot of fun. See All Reviews

Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!. Humphrey Ker.

Humphrey Ker


In 1943 Dymock Watson was parachuted into Romania on a secret mission. In 2011 his grandson Humphrey Ker gives his story hilarious life. A true(ish) adventure comedy from the star of Radio 4's The Penny Dreadfuls. See All Reviews

Idiots of Ants. Image shows from L to R: Benjamin Wilson, James Wrighton, Andrew Spiers, Elliott Tiney.

Idiots of Ants


Following appearances on BBC1 and Radio 4, the Ants (2010 Chortle Award Winners and 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominees) return to Edinburgh with their fourth show. 'The smartest sketch-show in town' (Telegraph). See All Reviews

Jason Cook - The Search for Happiness. Jason Cook.

Jason Cook


After smash hits, awards and five star reviews for the last four years, Jason embarks on an adventure for the ultimate prize: true happiness. See All Reviews

Josie Long: The Future Is Another Place.

Josie Long


Josie Long is back again with her fifth Fringe show. Come along! This is a show about feeling newly tormented by the world around you and about optimism and despair. But that sounds more serious than it is. It'll be a silly, manic round up of all kinds of things. See All Reviews

Luke Wright's Cynical Ballads. Luke Wright.

Luke Wright


'The best young performance poet around' (Observer) presents eight caustic tales from Broken Britain. Let him lead you through Blighty's run-down shopping precincts, provincial high streets and airless television studios to introduce a cast of tone-deaf pop wannabes, terrorized single mums and... See All Reviews

Marcel Lucont Etc: A Chat Show. Alexis Dubus.

Marcel Lucont


France's award-winning raconteur interviews different guests every night in his own unique style. Expect top festival names, good wine and bawdy chat, fresh from a highly successful season at Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. See All Reviews

Mark Thomas: Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall). Mark Thomas. Image credit: Idil Sukan.

Mark Thomas


Following his sell-out nationwide show The Manifesto, the award-winning comedian and activist returns with his brand new show. Never one to take the easy option, Mark decided to go rambling in the Middle East, walking the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier. See All Reviews

Max and Ivan Are Holmes and Watson. Image shows from L to R: Max Olesker, Ivan Gonzalez.

Max & Ivan


The world's greatest detective tackles Chicago's murky underworld in his final thrilling escapade, recently discovered by award-winning comedy duo Max and Ivan (Time Out Critics Choice). See All Reviews

Morgan & West: Crime Solving Magicians. Image shows from L to R: Rhys Morgan, Robert West.

Morgan & West


Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West return with an all-new show and their toughest challenge yet - solving their own murder. Using clues, cunning and crafty conjuring they must identify the rogue responsible and save their skins. See All Reviews

NewsRevue.

NewsRevue


A compilation of the year's best material from the Canal Cafe's London shows. News Revue is a national and international news-based song and sketch show lampooning everyone from the spheres of politics and celebrity. See All Reviews

Paul Sinha: Looking at the Stars. Paul Sinha.

Paul Sinha


Versatile BBC Radio 4 and 5Live regular, Paul Sinha returns with his characteristic mix of topical comedy and memorable storytelling. See All Reviews

Randy is Sober.

Randy is Sober


From the award-winning puppeteer and co-creator of Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams comes an all-new comedy show starring Randy, the felt-faced misanthrope. 'Randy proves that performers made of foam can give their human counterparts a run for their money' (List). See All Reviews

Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire 2: Back in the Habit. Image shows from L to R: Michael Legge, Robin Ince.

Robin Ince & Michael Legge


Robin Ince and Michael Legge, who like everyone on the Fringe are award-winning' and appeared on Mock the Week (not Michael), get angry about stuff again. See All Reviews

Russell Kane: Manscaping. Russell Kane.

Russell Kane


Join Fosters Comedy Award winner and star of loads of stuff on telly, Russell Kane, as he mercilessly explores the ridiculous state of masculinity in the modern world. He shaves his chest fur, you watch and laugh. See All Reviews

Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane. Sam McMillan.

Sammy J & Randy


Winner of Best Show at the 2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and following sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House, this hilarious tale of domestic misadventure makes its UK debut at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe. See All Reviews

Sanderson Jones - ComedySale.com/Fringe.

Sanderson Jones


You can only come to my show if I personally sell you a ticket. Fun game! Follow the link in the title and let's meet up. Expect Venn diagrams, graphs, JK-47s. ***** (Herald Sun). See All Reviews

Tim FitzHigham: Gambler. Tim Fitzhigham.

Tim FitzHigham


Spirit of the Fringe, multi award-winning, Perrier nominated comedian, author, explorer and air recycler Tim FitzHigham is back in a show about the 10 greatest bets in history. Tim is a man with bad ideas - he rowed the channel in a bathtub, now he takes on the world's weirdest wagers. See All Reviews

Tim Key - Masterslut. Tim Key.

Tim Key


Key is back. Still doing his poems. Staying just across The Meadows. Double Bed. 'In any other sphere apart from comedy, we'd probably class this way of looking at the world as certifiable. Here it feels like genius' (Telegraph). See All Reviews

Totally Tom.

Totally Tom


Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton have been best friends since the events of 9/11, in which by sheer coincidence neither of them were involved. After a sell-out tour in the spring, now, the creators of the YouTube hit High Renaissance Man present their latest material. See All Reviews

WitTank. Image shows from L to R: Mark Cooper-Jones, Naz Osmanoglu, Kieran Boyd.

WitTank


Like a runaway carnival of invention, WitTank hurtle back to the Fringe with a whirlwind of colossal characters, rakish charm and sketch magnificence. Book now to join the screaming throng, mammoth belly laughs await. See All Reviews

It should be noted that the complex equation we used to formulate the list above was programmed to give less weight to shows with only a handful of reviews, so some great performances like, for example, The Wrestling (which got a great average score, but only three reviewers managed to get one of the hot tickets) don't appear.

The best show at the Fringe may not have even been reviewed (500+ shows didn't get a single review, such is the way publications tend to focus on the main venues and acts), and obviously some critics are much grumpier than the general public so some shows that packed out might have just been unlucky with reviews... we therefore stress that no one should place too much emphasis on this list. Please don't treat it as the 'Top 25 Funniest Shows of the Fringe'... it's more just a list of some of the shows which critics agreed were great.

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