The BCG team sees hundreds of shows during each Fringe. Here is a list of our favourites from 2018, in alphabetical order. If you're intrigued by a show and are thinking of booking tickets to see it, click through to the listing for more information.
A big, joyful, silly adventure from the reliably bonkers man behind the Weirdos comedy collective. Particularly recommended for those with a fondness for disco.
Don't be put off if you didn't see the first instalment of Coach Coach back in 2015, you'll soon catch up. Sit back and let yourself be swept up in the excitement of the volfsball match of the century. Will good triumph over evil, will Eric Coach ever find true happiness, will you ever know what volfsball is? Fabulous fun for comedy and sports lovers alike.
Master of dark humour and a political provocateur in recent years, Clean sees stand-up Andrew Lawrence remind audiences of his ability to write and deliver clean, non-partisan humour just as well any other comic. In his inimitable sardonic style, Lawrence pontificates on life with a toddler, partner and crippling mortgage as he approaches middle age.
Any Suggestions Improv have taken a well-loved family staple and melded it with a talented cast, sharp improv skills and a slick live soundscape to create an enjoyable hour for all ages. More a set of knowing nods than a slavish fan-fuelled odyssey, you don't need to be a Doctor Who fanatic to appreciate this crafted and capable slice of Fringe improv.
What goes on behind the scenes of your favourite breakfast television programme? Join Olive as she bravely battles with low ratings and missing guests, using everything and everyone she can to save her job.
Slick, confident stand-up from a great comedy mind - 15 years in the industry, you're in very safe hands. As she says, if you're at the Edinburgh Fringe and you don't watch a comedy show by a fat autistic transgender lesbian, have you *really* been at the world's biggest arts fest?
We all do a Big Shop. Ever wondered what your fellow shoppers are thinking? Go see this duo who draw you into the worlds of their acutely observed characters. Hugely entertaining with great chemistry they're having lots of fun on stage and you will too.
Warm, emotional and rip-roaringly funny, this is Brennan Reece's best show yet. One of the greatest storytellers around, he takes the audience on a rollercoaster of a ride that's full of sharp wit and perfectly executed gags, whilst making the whole thing look effortless. It's a show that leaves a lasting effect on your heart.
Another hilarious satirical play from the people who brought you Coalition, amongst others. Brexit features regular thesp Timothy Bentinck alongside four comedians showing their admirable acting chops - Hal Cruttenden, Pippa Evans, Mike McShane and Jo Caulfield. A new PM tries to negotiate Brexit, and in a particularly revealing scene attempts to get a Eurosceptic and Europhile onside using comparable tactics. More jokes than your average stand-up set.
Catherine Bohart is a name to watch out for. Her debut Fringe show covers the story of her OCD, her bisexuality and her Father becoming a deacon, and how this affected her family's opinion on the Irish Gay Marriage vote. An intriguing, heart warming tale but one that is full of fun stories and witty oneliners. A confident storyteller, Catherine commands the stage with ease. A star in the making!
Chris Washington's second show is just as brilliantly funny as his Newcomer nominated debut show. It's the heartwarming tale of how an unexpected star has had a brilliant twelve months and caused a Royal Mail walkout in the process. Full of stories, from handling the Comedy Awards with no management (just four blokes from Wigan), to having doors answered by the unexpected as a postman. Chris's show is a real treat and one to keep an eye out for as he goes from strength to strength on the comedy ladder.
I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With Why Have You Been Sleeping With My Wife: A Play by Christopher Bliss
Ruddy hell this is a great show! Join Christopher Bliss, Shropshire's greatest novelist as he puts on his first play. Who will win best villager of the year, who'll win worst villager and have to leave the village for ever? Village life has never been so entertaining.
This is an excellent debut hour from a young Scottish comedian. From his knowingly terrible impression of his Australian girlfriend, to his love of wrestling, and life at home with his parents, he keeps the laughs flowing in a brilliantly written show.
Dan Nightingale explains how he's becoming boring now he's moved out of the city and settled down with his family in a bungalow. This show is definitely not tedious though... an assured stage presence and well-written routines result in many audience members wiping away tears of laughter.
Demi Lardner's show is tricky to sell using just written words. 'Australian woman shouts Samantha repeatedly, eats lettuce and reenacts a nana parade to a techno soundtrack.' But audiences and awards panels love her with good reason. This show is packed with surreal, nonsensical moments and very, very funny.
You would think that John Le Mesurier was actually stood before you. A detailed, accurate and emotional portrayal of the life of the Dad's Army star. This is an amazing biographical tale worthy of being staged to a larger audience - look out for it on tour.
An energising and delightful hour of comedy from a disarmingly charming comedian. Fun and joy pervade the air during Ed Gamble's refreshingly positive latest Fringe offering. Any worldly worries disappear for an hour and leave everyone on a pleasant high. If you like fun, go see Blizzard.
60 minutes giving women clinical advice on how best to care for their vaginal and pelvic floor health. Yes really. But there's also good jokes, and you'll almost certainly learn something.
Fin Taylor impressively wins over a huge room with ease while tackling the #MeToo movement. He has a gutsy take on matters and pulls laugh after laugh out of what should be difficult to pass-off material. Taylor is a unique voice in comedy right now, see him while you can still get a ticket.
Another strong hour from the deadpan musical comedy duo. This time they take on inappropriate tweets, crackers and sex robots. Hilarious, original and very enjoyable.
Already an online sensation and quickly becoming a Fringe favourite, these three are even better on stage! Bringing belly laughs to the audience from the start, they have great chemistry, fantastic wit and excellent audience interaction. From singing monks to a gameshow to gain entry to the US, this hour is full of great oneliners, catchy songs, upbeat sketches and a little bit of confetti.
As the title suggests, Foxdog have created a Robot Chef which the audience finds itself in charge of via an augmented reality world. It's a truly unique experience in terms of the technology and there's some brilliantly understated comedy to boot. All you need is a fully charged phone and an empty stomach.
Idiot actor Garry Starr demonstrates pretty much every form of performance in this hour - from Shakespeare to mime. Damien Warren-Smith undertakes some impressive physically-demanding clowning to get big laughs, roping in willing audience members along the way. You'll have seen everything by the end. Do you know Noh? If no, go.
Norcott delivers a brilliantly funny, tight hour of gags in [l]Traditionalism[/i], dialling up the working-class angst against establishment politics and the anti-Brexit orthodoxy in comedy. The most (only?) in-touch-with-the-mainstream political comedy show you'll see all year.
This hour long show is not laugh a minute... it's multiple laughs every minute. Glenn Moore has packed so many well-written jokes into this show it's an absolute joy to spend 60 minutes in his company.
Describing herself from the off as a 'slow burner', Heidi Regan uses PowerPoint to detail the timeline of films about killer sharks. If you think this can't sustain an hour... think again! There is, of course, more personal material within and, while Heidi admits she can't fix anything in the wider world with an hour of stand-up, she certainly leaves you asking a few questions. Namely, which 'Sharktopus' movie shall I watch first?
Soon to pop up in the Will Ferrell and John C Reilly flick Holmes & Watson, Helen Duff takes an entertainingly autobiographical turn in How Deep is Your Duff: it's wordier than before but there are still heaps of ideas and visual hi-jinks from the Gaulier-trained clown.
Henry Paker's show features some lovely ideas and callbacks across his well-structured hour. The highlights though have to be the illustrations he presents on screen, particularly the touching tale he weaves about a man who collects clocks. It's a free show, so get there early to get a seat.
The long-serving Lutonian poet and low-key rock 'n' roller is on cracking form, strutting around Assembly Studio Two and making reading out of books seem super-cool.
John-Luke Roberts: All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and a [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy!
The preposterous title says it all. Introducing this as his 'manifesto for absurdity', John-Luke Roberts is relentless in the performance of his farcical characters and rich skits. The show is absolutely packed with gags and huge laughs rightly abound.
Jon Harvey has spent his life finding hidden gems in the world of low-budget films, archaic computer games and lesser-known comic book heroes, which he generously shares in this show. They're the impetus behind another story in his life (the audience are asked not to spoil the big reveal) and the second part of the show details his mind-blowing adventure. We can't say anything more - you'll have to unearth this gem on your own.
Jordan Brookes is a master manipulator. He lures the audience into his mental horrorscape with well-structured exponential ramping-up of unease. As it peaks, he forces his audience to become lost in the echoes of his troubling mind. This darkly innovative show takes risks that absolutely pay off with solidly unsettling laughs throughout.
Kafka's angst-ridden stories might not seem the obvious choice for a family-friendly show, but this is a great hour for children and adults alike. The group's own adventures intertwine with re-enactments of Kafka's tales, brought to life with the most basic props, and there's a chance for some audience participation. The sketch group dynamics - the earnest one, the strict one, the one who only speaks Finnish - are crowned by the joy that radiates from the ever-hilarious Tom Parry.
Laura Davis's show is a rare combination of genuinely brilliant stand-up and a good use of theatrical devices. Existential crises abound with mental health as a key theme as she creates a 'night-time' feel to the show, reminding us of times when, alone in bed, our thoughts take over. A beautiful hour of comedy.
A terrific stand-up who's had a tough time since her last Edinburgh hour: this show explains what happened, but is still choc-full of fine gags.
One of the most likeable acts at the Fringe. A warm, positive hour of well-crafted stand-up from an hilarious Geordie lass.
A flawless hour of sketches interwoven with an internal narrative from Lazy Susan. The dynamic between the two is a joy as they dip in and out of some dark material and keep the laughs coming.
Join Leslie and Jackie, your focus group facilitators for the afternoon, to provide feedback on Lola and Jo's new sketches. A joyous hour full of weird, wonderful and tightly written characters.
This is a very funny hour on shame, particularly around sex on the part of women. Lou Sanders tackles difficult subjects like assault and alcoholism with the lightest of touches and lots of big laughs - this show has been selling out so get there early to avoid disappointment/shame.
A brilliantly barmy follow up to last year's Newcomer nominated show, Maid of Cabbage. In Fruit Loop, Lucy Pearman brings the room to life again with her ludicrous costumes and ridiculous characters. It's an hour of wonderfully crafted nonsense which is almost impossible not to go along with.
If student shows strike fear into a comedy punter's heart, Manhunt breaks the rules. This is a slick hour of sketches centred round two young people's search for love. It's a very funny hour that's well written and flawlessly performed - it's also worth checking out their sister show Big Shop.
Mark Thomas is in the 'theatre' section these days, but his latest high-concept epic is still heavy on laughs, as well as drama: he goes behind the scenes at various outposts of the health service frontline, from spellbinding scenes at A&E to some hilarious predictions from his local doc.
Mat Ewins: What Sorry? My Mistake! The Doors Are Not Open; The Show Has Been Cancelled. Do Not Have Your Tickets Ready!
Another hour of impressive video trickery from the Fringe regular and Live From The BBC star. He's good on iPlayer, but there's nothing quite like seeing his technological achievements in person.
In this high energy show, Mawaan Rizman talks about the rest of his family's unexpected success in showbusiness; about his boyfriend; and about breaking society's pressures on sexuality. There are loads of jokes, mesmerising dances and the catchiest songs on the Fringe - you'll be singing about your new walk for the rest of the week.
Paul Vickers' alter-ego is still brilliantly bizarre, but this year's show is actually pretty darn coherent, with some corking songs. The former indie-rocker and his cohorts create some genuinely interesting music and effects to soundtrack Twonkey's emotional journey.
The former Neighbours star shows his range in this impressively unpredictable hour, switching from stunts to mime to a spectacularly bizarre new character and quite possibly the best balloon-based bit at the Fringe. Well, it'll certainly be up there, anyway.
An absolute master storyteller who never fails to entertain and provide consistent belly laughs.
Nina Conti's talent is astonishing, whether she's emerging immaculate from a life-size monkey costume, or controlling five audience members in masks. It's easy to forget that the different accents, the singing and the ad-lib jokes are all her work as she magically brings characters to life. Fans will be glad to hear there's also an x-rated guest appearance from normal-sized Monkey.
The most high octane, pure unadulterated fun you will ever have in a dark cave. It's free, but guarantee entry to this popular show by booking a £5 ticket - you'll not regret it. Fans of the Muppets, Button Moon and pandas must apply.
A first rate hour of fun, intelligently observed, precision performed, satirical stand-up.
In his latest fringe show, Rob Auton talks about talking. In his playful thoughtful exploration of who we speak to, why, how, when and what we say, many very funny arrangements of words are spoken. It's a silly good time that ends up quite inspiring and uplifting. Well worth seeing.
As she warmly greets the audience with a bowl of sweets, Rosie Jones looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. Truth is, it would sizzle. This is very funny debut hour on disability and sexuality from an assured performer. You'll never look at Ryan Gosling the same way again.
The Trough is an exceptional example of the absurd and the surreal. Campbell uses video clips and a variety of props to induce fits of laughter throughout the room. It is silly, nonsensical and simply brilliant.
Sara Barron's debut hour is a hilariously brutal look at the 'joys' of motherhood, marriage, sex and friendship. She has the high-energy you'd expect of an American and the sarcasm of someone who now lives in the UK. This pay-what-you-want show is packed out so either get there early or buy a ticket in advance.
Sarah Keyworth is navigating her way through the ever changing landscape of gender and sexual identity. An insightful and meandering trip via unisex toilets, buying a suit in the children's section, and inspiring a little girl on her own journey through it all. Warm, intelligent and funny!
Sean is stronger than ever: clever, quick fire reflections on technology, how it feels turning 30 when you're an underachiever and a well constructed defence of Catholicism, the likes of which you don't often hear at the Fringe.
It's almost unfair to other sketch shows how good Sheeps: Live and Loud Selfie Sex Harry Potter is. Each of the cast could, in their own right, carry a sketch show - all three together make this a tour de force. All the contemporary elements are present - knockout sketches, layers within layers, conflict between group members and subversion of expectations across timing, topic and trope - and all are delivered with acres of skill, inventiveness and charm. If you're looking for a sketch show that feels at once both classic and cutting-edge, then Sheeps is a must-see.
Sindhu Vee has a unique take on family life. Married to a very rational Dane and raising three children in the UK is a triple culture clash for this feisty whirlwind. She freely shares advice on how to 'win' at marriage and why threatening children with your own demise is way more effective than a star chart.
A superb hour of very funny, inventive sketches about the group's travels; from a night in a Transylvanian hotel, to a plane crash and a meeting with a centaur, plus the best song about walls you'll ever hear.
The Song of Lunch doesn't actually contain a song, or stand-up, or a free lunch. But it does include deft, amusing performances from Robert Bathurst and Rebecca Johnson. Former lovers meet up after a 15 year gap. The reunion may not go quite to plan but the play does. An audience favourite.
After last year's film-themed treat, Sooz Kempner takes us through another influential facet of her upbringing: video games. And so much more: there are Skyped-in characters and oddly compelling parking pictures, exasperating misspellings and at least one epic song. An under-sung talent in top form.
Another wonderful hour from this master of solo sketch comedy. Steen brings old and new characters to the stage drawing you into their world in a brilliantly constructed intriguing and ultimately emotional narrative. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cry laughing. You'll be hooked from the minute you hear Luther's Never Too Much as you take your seat to the unforgettable emotionally raw climax.
This is a great hour of pure stand-up from Suzi Ruffell that will resonate with anyone else who dreads 'organised fun'. Her un-mawkish look at anxiety and at gay representation in the media keeps the laughs flowing while making a serious point, plus it turns out she has a lovely singing voice!
This Malcolm Hardee Award-winning show returns for a second year, polished as ever but still performed nightly with full-on commitment to the cause of retelling The Evil Dead II through the songs of Elvis. Rob Kemp's creation is absolutely niche, yet accessible, and remarkably funny.
Classic Key: this year we get an insight into what it might be like to date Tim Key (Madame Tussaud's, anyone?) via his usual blend of snappy poetry, filmed sketches and sporadic rants. Consistently funny.
Clever, sharp, and with a whole host of wonderfully bizarre routines, Tom Little is a comedian who deserves sell-out shows every day of the festival. His likeable, fast-paced nature helps the time fly by whilst the laughs come thick and fast, leaving your funny bone well and truly tickled.
Smart, sharp and assured work from an accomplished writer/performer, fusing slick presentation with an engaging story and plenty of solid laughs.
Tony Law's latest offering, A Lost Show, takes cues from his past shows that he can't remember performing and works them into a fresh new hour. Now three-years sober, Law is on top form. He hasn't lost his trademark dizzying, digressive approach to comedy but has gained a new and attractive wisdom and focus. Well worth seeing.
Every year Fringe-staple Will Seaward brings a fantastically eerie late night show to the festival, and this one may very well be his best yet. With tales of the old west and an impressive array of hand-made props, allow Will to take you on a hilarious midnight journey that you'll never forget!