The BCG team sees hundreds of shows during each Fringe. Here is a list of our favourites from 2019, 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.
In his debut Fringe show, Aaron Simmonds demonstrates expert storytelling whilst packing jokes and opportunities for mirth into every moment. Showcasing an honest approach to dating with a disability, Simmonds is definitely one to watch and is destined for greater things in the future.
Something seriously heavy but ultimately for-the-best happened to Ali Brice a few months back, and so obviously being an Ali Brice show he relates this weighty tale via the medium of large semi-aquatic reptiles, a somewhat-forgotten Geordie legend, bread, balloons and a duck. And so much more.
Amy Annette chairs a round table discussion with the first question starting with the words "What women want is...". On the day BCG saw the show the guests were the excellent Phil Wang, Sara Barron and Sarah Keyworth who were all given the time to shine. It's a great way to start your day at the Fringe.
A cracking hour of stand-up and near-the-knuckle satire on female fascination with true crime and its shadow over everyday life. The show is peppered with hilarious spoof adverts, including one that was deemed way too dark for Saturday Night Live.
There have been several improv troupes that have taken the idea of making up a story based on a famous work: there are shows based on Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, etc, but this show - creating Jane Austen novels based on titles suggested by the audience - is still the best.
A high-energy hour from US trio Jeremy, Hunter and Cory who rapidly fire out sketches - some very short, some longer - mixed with repeat jokes and audience interaction. It's fast, noisy fun with earthy humour and great chemistry between them.
Carl Donnelly is a Fringe veteran and a performer comfortable in his own skin. His natural charm and charisma put the audience at ease immediately in the most intimate of venues. He considers whether it's worth the effort to try and be a 'good' person or if we're all doomed regardless and should just enjoy the ride. Donnelly is one of the most consistent performers at the Fringe and this year he does not disappoint.
Using only a gold tinsel backdrop and the sheer force of Catherine Cohen's charisma, the Pleasance Beneath basement room is transformed into a New York cabaret club. Catherine uses her fabulous voice to sing dark tales of teenage rejection, slut shaming, and how to hide a dead body. In between songs she flirts with the audience and gives them a searingly honest and hilarious insight into a millennial's outwardly perfect, inwardly bleak life.
A high-energy show from Chris Parker on growing up gay in rugby-revering New Zealand, finding sanctuary in the school drama club and ensuring the next generation find it too. It's a warm-hearted, very funny hour topped and tailed with a show tune and a brilliant dialogue with his former headmaster. The photos from Chris' childhood are an absolute joy too.
A year after Ciarán Dowd swashbuckled his way to the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer, he's back with another fantastic hour of non-stop gags. This time Don Rodolfo has put his life of murderous debauchery behind him and joined the priesthood, but luckily he's kept his swagger as he battles new demons.
Much like the title character of The Scottish Play, Clive Anderson is seemingly the tragic hero of his own story, managing always to say the wrong thing at the right time. Luckily for us, this resulted in an hour of amicable anecdotes that in the hands of this stalwart managed to raise huge laughs with absolutely no danger of being a 'luvvie', such is the wry cynicism that permeates every gag.
A show that slowly reveals itself to be fantastic. Benita has had a rollercoaster year of grief, bad lovers and bad judgement calls and you're going to be aching to hear how it all pans out. An exciting debut hour.
Tales of motherhood and mixed heritage expectations told in a refreshing, eloquent and damn funny style. Laughs from start to finish.
Smart. That's the word to describe this hour. Luke Smith - AKA Frank Foucault - presents a surreal and very funny show that's particularly hard to describe. Think David Lynch meets James Acaster, with doppelgängers, a story centring on James Corden and the best strip tease we've ever seen.
This local boy is well worth the climb to the Attic room of the Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre. Once you've stopped wheezing from the exertion, you'll be wheezing with laughter as the jokes keep coming thick and fast.
A healthy antidote to woke comedy, this hour of high-energy grumpiness is written purely for laughs as he eschews recycling, re-examines 90s television and does a bang on impression of Gordon Ramsay.
This is an outstanding hour of comedy packed with running jokes and callbacks. What seems like one of Glenn Moore's trademark shaggy dog stories morphs into a real life revelation as he flips ideas, language and finally a celebrity jibe with which it's impossible to contend.
Ian Smith is one of the most likeable stand-ups on the circuit, and he mixes his eager-to-please persona here with some quality gags and stories. The premise isn't as much about Chernobyl as the blurb suggests, but that's probably a good thing - as the tale of love at the heart of the show is a joy to hear, and very funny.
A young crowd lapped this up the night BCG saw it, giving it a standing ovation. It's easy to agree - this frenzied parody of a desperate, egotistical comedian is intricate, well-honed and very entertaining.
She's replaced the sequins with a black turtle neck and the songs with her take on feminism. The showbiz element remains with Beyoncé and the Kardashians being taken down, but the show really resonates when Jayde gets personal.
This year Jessica Fostekew has one of the strongest shows of the festival, which is apt considering her newfound addiction to weight lifting. Through highlighting the perils of raising an aggressive toddler, as well as recalling her traumatic experience of childbirth, this show is an honest and hilarious look at what it means to be a woman, as well as the inner grace and composure required to put your coat on every day.
This sketch duo have a joyous selection of creations. These include a building site manager who has taken a new path as a spiritual healer, and a talk from the tar-strained face of a representative from the Marlboro Tobacco Company. A fun and chaotic show.
A high-energy hour on being the single, childless woman drinking prosecco at other people's weddings; on living in her mum's attic; and on being adopted. The laughs come thick and fast as this quick-witted Irish comedian races from one joke to the next. If you were stuck on your own at a wedding, Joanne McNally would be the ideal fellow guest.
A unique and innovative show which combines grime music with an honest and refreshing discussion about male mental health. Expect raps about relaxation techniques and parodies of the modern grime movement in one of the most creative shows of the Fringe, but also one that is entertaining and easily accessible for those who have never listened to grime before.
Do you want to sell more bilge pumps? Do you want to learn what goes on behind the scenes at a bilge pump seminar? Do you want to know what a bilge pump is? Let Joshua Ladgrove answer all these questions. You'll laugh and learn in equal measure. One of the best shows you'll see on the free fringe.
It feels strange to recommend a show in which the main star is absent, but Joz Norris's replacement Mr Fruit Salad does a remarkable job. He is new to the circuit, but he certainly has ambition... you just have to make sure that he has got the right show theme.
Well written sketches, delivered in an impressively slick style. Their musical numbers - particularly a topical song about Edinburgh bus drivers - are amongst the many highlights.
In her debut hour, Convey mixes her working class background with tales of her love life and high-flying previous career as a TV executive, to great effect. There's great material in this show, and she is a welcome new voice on the stand-up scene. A star in the making and talent to watch out for.
Kiri Pritchard-Mclean's work in progress on empathy is already more accomplished than most shows on the Fringe, as she smashes out killer lines with the speed and accuracy of a Williams sister. A few new dates have been added to meet demand, so grab a ticket while you can.
Silly, whimsical and hilarious: exactly the kind of show you should experience at the Fringe. Bizarre physical comedy that leaves you wondering exactly what you just watched. Encapsulates the real spirit of the Fringe.
A triumphant hour of outrageous and dark jokes, not pushing but gleefully running straight through the boundaries of taste and acceptability in today's "woke" culture.
Put simply: a very funny hour from a very funny lady.
A high-energy hour of friendly crowd work, quick wit and earthy stand-up on being diagnosed early with prostate cancer, along with a heartfelt exhortation to men to get checked.
This man keeps getting better and better and will help you see the funny side of the world today. Join him for an insight into what the first BoJo/Trump meeting may look like - you'll not see a better Trump impression outside of the White House.
If you like your lunchtime comedy loud and angry then you can't go wrong with Fringe stalwart Michael Legge. Legge is a consistently strong performer at the festival but this year's show is a particular stand out. More political than previous years, he tackles the big topics like the impact of Brexit on the Irish border, ukulele-playing comedians, and why only one of us decided to be Iggy Pop...
A joyous homage to horror. Nick Helm has assembled a dream team of musical comedians as his cast - Sooz Kempner, Jenny Bede, Rob Kemp and rising star Katie Pritchard - all who are given moments to shine and excel. It's a brilliant production in every aspect - the costumes, lighting, and slick intro video. We hope it has a life outside of the fringe, but - in case not - catch it while you can!
Visit Monkey Barrel for a taste of the modern day music hall with Pat Cahill. Through tales of his Uncle Len, who makes the oddest cameo appearance you'll see this August, and catchy songs (they'll stay with you all day), he'll help you realise your dreams. A great way to spend an hour of your day.
There's a real lack of shows at the Fringe for young people who are too old for kids shows but too young for adult material. Paul Currie is the perfect solution with this family-friendly version of his brilliant 2014/2015 show. The teenagers BCG went with loved his high-energy, surreal nonsense so much that they got a selfie with him, and our street cred rocketed.
Aside from being a top rate magician, Pete Firman knows how to work an audience. His patter and crowd interactions makes the gig akin to a comedy night where the MC has taken charge, and take charge he does. For the magic here manages to both astonish and tickle the funny bone simultaneously in a riotous evening of old school showmanship that tips its hat to the greats of old whilst adding his own unique spin.
The trio behind Police Cops have built up a reputation for delivering fast-paced gag-packed comic plays. There's no sign of any law enforcement in this latest offering, instead they set the action around a vampire-infested Manchester at the turn of the millennium. A great script, excellent performances and super inventive use of props makes Badass Be Thy Name the latest addition to their string of hits.
Strap in for a blisteringly funny hour of stand-up from the sharp suited but even sharper tongued Australian comedian. This is his seventh fringe and although he's concerned about getting older his caustic wit is as fresh as ever. Find out what he thinks about high school reunions, the joy of a family night out to a storage unit (yes really!) and how he deals with the double threat of homophobic feedback and increased body hair. A gem of an hour.
There are few comedians who can combine storytelling with comedy as well as Sarah Kendall. Previous years' shows have focused on her childhood, but this tale is of her current life - writer's block sapping her confidence, the dreamlike state of jet lag in LA and anxiety over things out of her control. From the elegiac to the earthy, she paints a picture in one perfect phrase, nails characters with pinpoint accuracy and will
still happily talk about taking a shit in the middle of the night.
A hugely enjoyable mash up of horror movie and musical, the three leads commit fully to the over the top nature of the show and all have West End quality voices to match!
Simon Munnery's ineffectual anarchist, a brilliant 90s parody of 80s left-wing activists, is back. He seems more relevant than ever in today's woke climate as he hectors his 'comrades' on his distrust of technology, delivers some beautiful one liners and offers a radical solution to climate change.
Another joyous hour from the Fringe sketch veterans. This time we are transported back to an 80s variety show, which is the perfect format for us to meet a wide selection of characters as we unravel a gunge-based mystery. Pop this show into your schedule for an hour of exactly what it says on the tin - Silly Funny Boys.
A raucous hour of hilarious late night improv. A group of New Zealand comedians are having the time of their lives creating monologues and sketches using one word from the audience. The perfect way to finish off a day at the Fringe.
Stuart Laws has flipped the script. He's decided to judge the audience instead of vice versa. It's hard to explain anything more about the overall narrative of the show without ruining the ambitious challenge that he has set himself. Laws has such a great way with language that there are regularly jokes hidden within other jokes - often leading to laughter rippling around the venue as the various pennies drop. You'll be hard pushed to find many other lunchtime shows with such consistent laughs and such a satisfying conclusion.
In a nightmarish version of Hi-de-Hi!, this double act delivers an hour of brilliantly written comedy that packs in the laughs from start to finish. Get there early or buy a ticket in advance, as this lunchtime show is proving as popular as it did last year.
Performed by Patrick McPherson, The Man explores the topic of male identity, including the important steps of repressing your emotions and openly accepting your privilege. McPherson gives 100% commitment to each of his characters whilst engaging the audience into understanding the many issues associated with masculine identity. A beautifully crafted comedy show which will stay with you during the festival and beyond.
Get yourself down to Tom Kitching's farmyard comedy show for a chance to meet a sheep with an identity crisis, as well as enjoying a fierce five minute sheep cattle rap battle. It's intentionally niche character comedy with 100% commitment, the result being a show that's joyfully silly and ridiculous.
Tom Walker's show is largely mime (a genre he admits up top is comedy's least favourite child), mixed with audience interaction, a fair bit of speech and a brilliant use of sound cues. He bounces from short skits to longer narrative sketches - some cheerful, some dark, some graphically sexual - in a glorious hour of laughter as he transforms into an old lady who accidentally kills animals, disposes of a body and has an affair with a coat.