Edinburgh Fringe

Best-reviewed Edinburgh Fringe shows 2023

Tragedy Plus Time. Ed Byrne. Credit: Roslyn Gaunt

Ed Byrne was the best-reviewed stand-up comic performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023, analysis conducted by British Comedy Guide has found.

This year's run-down of the most critically-acclaimed comedy productions being staged at the Fringe is based on 4,644 star-rated reviews issued by 119 different publications, ranging from broadsheet newspapers through to fan-run blogs.

With an average rating of 4.6 stars across twenty-two write-ups, Byrne's Tragedy Plus Time was the best-reviewed stand-up show at the festival. Meanwhile, Brendan Murphy's parody Buffy Revamped, in tribute to long-running American TV fantasy drama Buffy The Vampire Slayer, topped the list overall, collecting up an average list of 4.9 stars from the 8 reviews it received.

In descending order of scoring, the following productions received six or more reviews and, from those, scored an average score of more than 4 stars. Click on any title to see the show's respective reviews and other coverage.

Buffy Revamped. Brendan Murphy

Buffy Revamped

Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back. Reuben Kaye

Reuben Kaye

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical


How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Musical Cats. Linus Karp

How to Live a Jellicle Life

Ed Byrne: Tragedy Plus Time. Ed Byrne

Ed Byrne

Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much

The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel. Austentatious


My Last Two Brain Cells. Image shows left to right: Tom Hazelden, Joe Pike

My Last Two Brain Cells

Police Cops: The Musical. Image shows left to right: Tom Roe, Nathan Parkinson, Zachary Hunt

Police Cops

Holly Spillar: Hole. Holly Spillar

Holly Spillar

Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland. Kieran Hodgson

Kieran Hodgson

Michelle Brasier: Reform. Michelle Brasier

Michelle Brasier

Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Julia Masli

Julia Masli

Bill O'Neill: The Amazing Banana Brothers. Bill O'Neill

Bill O'Neill: The Amazing Banana Brothers

Stamptown Comedy Night


Jon Culshaw: Imposter Syndrome. Jon Culshaw

Jon Culshaw

Paul Foot: Dissolve. Paul Foot

Paul Foot

Phil Ellis's Excellent Comedy Show. Phil Ellis

Phil Ellis

Mark Watson: Search. Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Drag Queens vs Vampires. Image shows left to right: Kate Butch, Crudi Dench

Drag Queens vs Vampires

Gyles Brandreth Can't Stop Talking!. Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth

Pierre Novellie: Why Are You Laughing?. Pierre Novellie

Pierre Novellie

Myra DuBois. Gareth Joyner

Myra DuBois

Ahir Shah: Ends. Ahir Shah

Ahir Shah

Marjolein Robertson: Marj. Marjolein Robertson

Marjolein Robertson

Monét X Change: Life Be Lifein'. Monét X Change

Monét X Change

YUCK Circus

YUCK Circus



Paul Merton's Impro Chums. Paul Merton

Paul Merton's Impro Chums

Susie McCabe: Femme Fatality. Susie McCabe

Susie McCabe

Garrett Millerick: Never Had It So Good. Garrett Millerick

Garrett Millerick

Mat Ewins: Mr TikTok. Mat Ewins

Mat Ewins

Murder, She Didn't Write

Murder, She Didn't Write

Robin Ince - MELONS: A Love Letter to Stand-Up Comedy. Robin Ince

Robin Ince

Sofie Hagen: Banglord. Sofie Hagen

Sofie Hagen

Lorna Rose Treen: Skin Pigeon. Lorna Rose Treen

Lorna Rose Treen

Rosalie Minnitt: Clementine. Rosalie Minnitt

Rosalie Minnitt

Liam Withnail: Chronic Boom. Liam Withnail

Liam Withnail

MC Hammersmith: Straight Outta Brompton. Will Naameh

MC Hammersmith

Robin Ince - Weapons of Empathy. Robin Ince

Robin Ince: Weapons Of Empathy

Sid Singh: Table for One. Sid Singh

Sid Singh

Simon Brodkin: Xavier. Simon Brodkin

Simon Brodkin

Magic of Terry Pratchett

The Magic of Terry Pratchett

Tim Murray: Witches. Tim Murray

Tim Murray

George Zacharopoulos: Wonderland. George Zacharopoulos

George Zacharopoulos

Chris Turner: Vegas, Baby!. Chris Turner

Chris Turner

Jay Lafferty: Bahookie. Jay Lafferty

Jay Lafferty

Lucas O'Neil: Emotional Man. Lucas O'Neil

Lucas O'Neil

Umbilical Brothers: The Distraction. Image shows left to right: David Collins, Shane Dundas

Umbilical Brothers

Last Stand on Honey Hill. Liz Cotton

Liz Cotton

Micky Overman: The Precipice. Micky Overman

Micky Overman

Ania Magliano: I Can't Believe You've Done This. Ania Magliano

Ania Magliano

Ian Smith: Crushing. Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Lachlan Werner - Voices Of Evil. Lachlan Werner

Lachlan Werner

John Tothill: The Last Living Libertine. John Tothill

John Tothill

Matty Hutson: Don't Hold Back. Matty Hutson

Matty Hutson

Larry Owens Live. Larry Owens

Larry Owens

Gillian Cosgriff: Actually, Good. Gillian Cosgriff

Gillian Cosgriff

Stuart Goldsmith: Spoilers. Stuart Goldsmith

Stuart Goldsmith

Sam Lake: Aspiring DILF. Sam Lake

Sam Lake

Don Biswas - The Revolution Will Be Disorganised. Don Biswas

Don Biswas

Jack Docherty in David Bowie and Me: Parallel Lives. Jack Docherty

Jack Docherty

Amy Matthews: I Feel Like I'm Made of Spiders. Amy Matthews

Amy Matthews

Elliot Steel: Love and Hate Speech. Elliot Steel

Elliot Steel

Tom Ballard: It is I. Tom Ballard

Tom Ballard

Maggie Crane: Side by Side. Maggie Crane

Maggie Crane

Flat and the Curves: Divadom. Image shows left to right: Arabella Rodrigo, Katy Baker, Charlotte Brooke, Issy Wroe Wright, Flat & The Curves

Flat & the Curves

Olaf Falafel: Look What Fell Out Of My Head. Olaf Falafel

Olaf Falafel

Paul Sinha: Pauly Bengali. Paul Sinha

Paul Sinha

Shark Ate My Penis: A History of Boys Like Me. Laser Webber

Laser Webber

Note that our analysis is limited to productions listed in the comedy section of the Fringe programmes. Of the comic performances in other sections - such as theatre - play England & Son starring Mark Thomas picked up the best reviews.

As in previous years, our methodology does not add weighting based on perceived value to different publications. Relatedly, better-known acts will always attract a greater number of critics in the first place, thus enjoy an inbuilt advantage in racking up the ratings. A number of less prominent productions will doubtless have been worthy of inclusion in the list but omitted as a result: for example, Ed: The New, Totally Unofficial, Ginger-Inclusive Parody Sketch Show would likely have featured in the top 10 it if had gained another review.

Do browse our listings to find other comedians to look out for in the months ahead. There's much more to live comedy than a reviewer's personal opinion of what is "good".

Published: Monday 4th September 2023

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