2016 Edinburgh Fringe

Comedy.co.uk Recommends 2016

Of the many shows we saw at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, these are the ones that have made us laugh the hardest.

An Act of Godley: Janey Godley. Janey Godley

An Act of Godley: Janey Godley

Janey Godley has been a festival favourite for many years. Her show at The Free Sisters this year is a clear demonstration of why she is so popular.

An Act of Godley sees her dealing with many people; from troublesome children, to her autistic husband. A particular highlight is hearing about time she recently visited a golf course with a rather rude piece of lino which displayed her dislike for the course's owner: one Donald Trump. You may have seen the picture online, but head along to the show for the full story.

Andrew Hunter Murray: Round One. Andrew Hunter Murray

Andrew Hunter Murray: Round One

This QI elf, co-star of podcast No Such Thing As A Fish and its TV spin-off, No Such Thing As The News, is no stranger to the Fringe, being a member of the improv teams Austentatious and Folie à Deux. However, this is his own debut solo hour of character comedy.

Set in the Rose and Crown pub, we the audience are taking part in Tony Rebozo's 15th annual pub quiz championship final. Across the hour we also meet some of the pub's other regulars, including a bee-bothered estate agent, the head of a women's reading group who speaks only in rhyme, and the man on the gents toilet sign.

Murray is able to use his years of improvisational comedy to work brilliantly with his audience, and is also able to build a wonderful narrative with many of his creations.

Daphne's Second Show. Image shows from L to R: Phil Wang, Jason Forbes, George Fouracres

Daphne's Second Show

This is one of the best sketch shows we've seen at the Fringe for years.

Phil Wang, Jason Forbes and George Fouracres have clearly been working hard all year to ensure their second hour doesn't disappoint. It's packed with a wide array of different ideas, all of which are slickly performed.

Days on from seeing the show, and we're still giggling at some of the ideas presented.

Ellie Taylor: Infidelliety. Ellie Taylor

Ellie Taylor: Infidelliety

Ellie Taylor is already on the path to stardom, with appearances on programmes like Mock The Week on her CV. However, her show this year - which primarily focuses around her thoughts of what it would be like to have an extramarital affair - suggests she'll soon be playing big theatres as standard (i.e. see her now, whilst she's still in the more intimate environment of Just The Tonic's basement).

Taylor demonstrates excellent writing and stage technique in this funny show, but never forgets that delivering laughs is still the top priority... and there is indeed multiple funny lines every minute.

Emma Sidi: Telenovela. Emma Sidi

Emma Sidi: Telenovela

Emma Sidi's bio states that she's an actress, comedian and writer for radio, stage and screen who started in the Cambridge Footlights group. What it fails to mention are her skills for dancing whilst pointing at her rude areas, or her unique 'hallucinated goblin with sticky out tongue' portrayal. The latter was a particular highlight for BCG when we saw this very well performed, chaotic and surreal hour which is based around a Mexican soap opera.

A few audience members were roped in not quite prepared for what was expected of them, but they all enjoyed it nonetheless, as did those of us hiding at the back. Overall, Sidi gave it her all and kept us highly entertained throughout. If you like your comedy silly and pointless (apart from the pointing) give her a try!

Foxdog Studios. Image shows from L to R: Lloyd Henning, Peter Sutton

Foxdog Studios

If you're a fan of alternative comedy, then the late night walk across the Meadows to get to Foxdog Studios' show is well worth the effort.

Whilst it may be presented as a bit of a ramshackle show; a myriad of leads, routers, cameras and other bits of technology reveal that a lot of hard work has gone into creating this unique offering. It's really hard to describe the format, so just go and see it and experience it first hand for yourself. Make sure you have battery on your phone though - the highlight is an interactive adventure game you can take part in via your handset.

Mr Swallow - Houdini. Nick Mohammed

Mr Swallow - Houdini

This is essentially three very impressive shows for the price of one.

Watching Nick Mohammed's character blunder his way through a show about Houdini is funny stuff, but the catchy musical numbers, and some impressive magic, take this already excellent show to the next level.

The only time we weren't laughing was when we were holding our breath, waiting to see whether the star would escape from the big water tank stunt finale.

Police Cops

Police Cops

You may not have heard of The Pretend Men group yet, but this inventive show suggests it won't be long before they're big stars.

Their brochure entry, which states audiences are in for "an action-packed hour of adrenaline-fuelled physical comedy", is not them overselling things. This really is a gag-packed hour of comedy, performed with real passion and gusto. The three likeable actors make great use of minimal costume and props to deliver a show that is deservedly getting standing ovations.

Rob Carter is Christopher Bliss. Rob Carter

Rob Carter is Christopher Bliss

We've primarily known Rob Carter as a musical comedian, so it was a surprise to see him in the basement of The Tron this year without a guitar in sight but instead wearing a shell suit and glasses. His move into character comedy is a delight to witness though.

Carter is brilliant as naive author Christopher Bliss. An aspiring novelist, Bliss reads out some of his un-published stories across the hour. They're uniformly rubbish (particularly a James Bond style spy thriller), but despite the clunky prose and unrealistic dialogue the hour never drags thanks to a tight gag-packed script and spot-on characterisation.

As an added bonus, we discovered if you text Christopher via the number on the (rubbish) business cards he hands out at the end, he'll even send you your own mini story. It's touches such as this which help make this one of the best character shows we've seen for a long time.

Stuart Goldsmith: An Hour (Free Show). Stuart Goldsmith

Stuart Goldsmith: Compared to What

We've always enjoyed Stuart Goldsmith's Fringe shows, but this year's offering from him is perhaps his slickest and funniest yet.

Featuring great gags on topics such as Airbnb and moving to the countryside, his set contains a solid hour of laughs. Normally when a comedian talks about becoming a father, it's the sign for the yawn alarm bells to start sounding... not so here though. The baby-related section of the show is equally great.

This is proving to be a very popular Free Fringe show, so start queuing at the Liquid Rooms early to ensure a seat.

Suzi Ruffell: Common. Suzi Ruffell

Suzi Ruffell: Common

Suzi Ruffell's show is about "what it is to be working class". That may sound like a topic that could lead to serious discussions, but rest assured this show is comedy first and foremost. Common is packed with great gags and funny stories, delivered with passion by the very likeable Ruffell.

There an uplifting message behind all the jokes about being true to yourself, and we left the show with a smile on our face and a spring in our step.

Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel. Paul Vickers

Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel

Having been nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality last year, Mr Twonkey (aka Paul Vickers) is again providing us with one of the oddest and funniest shows at this year's Fringe.

Set in the Mumbo Jumbo Hotel, we meet the staff and some of the visitors of his surreal establishment. Using puppetry, song, and an elf steering a ship's wheel decorated with women's knickers, will we ever get round to the mystery of what the owner of Frankie & Benny's plans to do with the hotel? How is Drunk Welsh Anne involved in all this? Can a former hooker duck detect what brandy Mr Twonkey has been drinking?

Like a one-man Mighty Boosh armed with a iPod Nano, Mr Twonkey is an act you will never forget - even given Mystic Dave's help.

Published: Monday 15th August 2016

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