Mark Thomas. Copyright: Tracey Moberley.

Best reviewed Edinburgh Fringe shows 2016

Throughout August 2016, audiences in Edinburgh were entertained by more than 1,800 shows at the Festival Fringe. But which shows, according to the reviewers, were the best of the best?

As part of our annual coverage of the festival, we log every review for every comedy show: this year totalling well over 4,800 reviews from more than 100 different publications.

In descending order, here are the comedians who attracted the best critical reception, clocking up more than 10 reviews rated 4 or 5 stars from different publications. Mark Thomas leads this year's list, having got four or five stars from 21 different reviewers.

Click on any of these names to see their full list of reviews.

Mark Thomas: The Red Shed. Mark Thomas.Mark Thomas

Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do. Richard Gadd.Richard Gadd

James Acaster: Reset. James Acaster.James Acaster

Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud. Nish Kumar.Nish Kumar

Bridget Christie: Mortal.Bridget Christie

Sarah Kendall: Shaken. Sarah Kendall.Sarah Kendall

Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives. Colin Hoult.Colin Hoult (as Anna Mann)

Kieran Hodgson: Maestro. Kieran Hodgson.Kieran Hodgson

Randy Writes a Novel.Randy Writes a Novel

Spencer Jones Presents The Herbert in Eggy Bagel. Spencer Jones.Spencer Jones

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows.Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows

Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely to Die. Felicity Ward.Felicity Ward

Mouse - The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought. Daniel Kitson.Daniel Kitson (Mouse)

Panti: High Heels in Low Places.Panti

All the Things I Lied About. Katie Bonna.Katie Bonna

Adam Hess: Feathers. Adam Hess.Adam Hess

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide. Chris Gethard.Chris Gethard

Mr Swallow - Houdini. Nick Mohammed.Mr Swallow

Bourgeois & Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying. Image shows from L to R: Maurice Maurice, Georgeois Bourgeois.Bourgeois & Maurice

Michelle Wolf: So Brave. Michelle Wolf.Michelle Wolf

Norris & Parker: See You at the Gallows.Norris & Parker

Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit. Zoe Lyons.Zoe Lyons

Colin Cloud: Exposé. Colin Cloud.Colin Cloud

Ed Gamble: Stampede. Ed Gamble.Ed Gamble

Lolly 2. Lolly Adefope.Lolly Adefope

Rhys James: Forgives. Rhys James.Rhys James

Scott Gibson: Life After Death. Scott Gibson.Scott Gibson


Teatro Delusio, Meet Fred, Letters to Windsor House, Paper Hearts and Love, Lies and Taxidermy - dramatic shows with comedy elements to them - also scored more than 10 four and five star reviews.

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows was the Fringe comedy production to gain the most five stars this year - an impressive 9 top rated reviews.

Adam Kay, Beasts, Goose, Nina Conti, Pete Firman, Seymour Mace, Shappi Khorsandi, Sleeping Trees, Sophie Willan, Tom Allen and Zoe Coombs Marr were also all very close to making the above list, and probably would have done with just one more review each.

With such positive critical reception, touring versions of any of the above shows look set to be very hot tickets in the coming months.


Our analysis makes no distinction between established broadsheet reviewers and blog sites run by students, however it's clear that the shows that have made it onto this year's list were loved across the spectrum of publications that saw them. Due to the nature of reviewing, there is a bias towards already established and acclaimed comedy acts, whose who are able to attract more press coverage, so this list is likely to be missing some 'hidden gems'. One of many possible examples: Paul Currie was reviewed six times, so did not get enough reviews to appear on the above list, but all those who did see him all gave him 4 stars or more.

Search our database to find all the reviews for any show


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