It's been so difficult to pick only ten shows to recommend for VAULT Festival 2023 out of the 200+ shows in the Comedy programme. The most exciting thing about VAULT Festival for me is catching the first iterations of shows from some of my favourite comedians bringing work in progress shows, as well as finding some absolute gems in the next generation of comics breaking through, so please enjoy a small selection of those shows that I'm looking forward to seeing and why...
The Crypt - 2nd Feb & 10th Mar - 19:50
Now, I might be biased putting this one in, but I loved curating Comedy UnRepped last year. Despite the festival being cancelled we were able to put on a tiny showcase of unrepresented comedians to an audience of industry professionals. This year it's back and we're opening it up to the public too! This is going to be an amazing chance to see the next big thing before anyone else. Not to be missed!
Comedy UnRepped is a curated mixed bill show with selected acts who are at the early stages of their careers performing in VAULT Festival 2023, and most importantly, currently without representation. This is a chance to see them perform their very best material before they make it big! Last year's line-up included Funny Women Awards 2022 winner Lorna Rose Treen, Lou Taylor, Jake Farrell and Tamsyn Kelly.
Adam Flood: Clayhead Remolded
The Basement at Vaulty Towers - 22nd & 28th Feb - 18:30
Adam was one of the winners in this year's 2Northdown New Act Competition and his set in the final blew me away. I'm so excited to watch a full work in progress hour of his debut show.
Adam's first 45-minute work in progress during Edinburgh 2022 was a breakout success. Selling over 1,000 tickets, the show Adam Flood: Clayhead was nominated for Most Outstanding Show in the Amused Moose Comedy Awards and was nominated for best poster in the Comedy Poster Awards, all setting him up for an exciting debut hour in 2023. He is a high-energy, observational comedian with a twist of the surreal using enthusiastic act outs, vocal effects, samples, short songs and crowd work to keep the audience on their toes.
Chloe Petts: If You Can't Say Anything Nice (Work in Progress)
The Basement at Vaulty Towers - 25th Jan, 16th Feb & 9th Mar - 18:30 & 20:00
Chloe quickly became one of my favourite new comics over the last few years and I have no doubt that she will continue with this second show. And truly one of the nicest people in comedy so bonus points for that always.
Chloe Petts presents her follow up show to hit debut, the critically acclaimed sell out show Transience. With her signature cerebrally laddish style, see "one of our most compelling young comics" (Guardian) in a work-in-progress of her new show If You Can't Say Anything Nice.
Lew Fitz: Sit Down Straight When You're Talking To Me
The Spacement at The Glitch - 4th & 5th Feb - 20:15
Lew Fitz was on the line up for last year's Comedy UnRepped and since then I've been a fan. His 2022 work in progress shows were some of the funniest "unfinished" shows I've ever seen. I can't wait to see him do it all over again.
Winner of the prestigious Amused Moose National New Comedian of the Year Award 2020 and tipped as one of the most unique and vibrant young talents to hit the comedy circuit in years. Lew Fitz mixes a blend of originality and intrigue with Northern charm to excite audiences up and down the country with his show Sit Down Straight When You're Talking To Me.
Mat Ewins' Tech Experiments
The Spacement at The Glitch - 1st, 2nd & 3rd Mar - 20:15
If you've never seen a Mat Ewins show, you are absolutely missing out, it's chaotic good in its finest form. This show is going to be a super-combo of new and old videos and in a tiny room, you've got to get a ticket for this one before it sells out.
Nominated for the coveted lastminute.com Edinburgh comedy award for Best Show with, Mat Ewins: Presents Adventureman 7 - The Return Of Adventureman, in his latest show Mat Ewins presents brand new videos and returning favourites for an hour of multimedia nonsense.
Luisa Omielan (Work in Progress)
The Crescent - 28th & 29th Jan - 16:45
Luisa was the first comedian to get a BAFTA breakthrough for comedy, this is going to be a must see work in progress of her newest show! Honestly, need I say more??
Join 'genre defining' comedian Luisa on her latest masterpiece in action, by the time we finish together, it will be. The first comedian to get a BAFTA breakthrough for comedy, her first show What Would Beyonce Do?! created its own genre of comedy and became a cult classic. Now, her new work in progress show on her latest idea; why does the world hate on any woman with her own mind?
Tadiwa Mahlunge: 25 (Work in Progress)
The Spacement at The Glitch - 27th, 28th, 29th Jan, 28th Feb & 1st Mar - 18:45
Tadiwa is taking the comedy circuit by storm and I've seen (and loved) him on so many mixed bill shows, I can't wait to see the full hour.
Billed as "one of the country's top new comedy acts" by The York Press, Tadiwa Mahlunge has performed at, among others, the Latitude, Greenman, and Greenwich comedy festivals - alongside the biggest names in comedy - and has provided tour support for Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Jessica Fostekew, and TV warm up for Desiree Burch's Amazon Prime special.
Dan Kelly: How I Went to Every Supermarket in the World (Work in Progress)
The Spacement at The Glitch - 10th, 11th & 12th Mar - 18:45
(Dan Kelly: How I Came Third in the North Korean Marathon - The Crypt - 28th & 29th Jan - 20:40)
Okay, fine, this one is a two in one, but sue me! I cannot tell you how gutted I was to miss Dan's previous show How I Came Third in the North Korean Marathon (also coming to VAULT Festival 2023!), but absolutely thrilled that his second show (directed by one of my fringe favourites Joseph Morpurgo) looks just as much fun and I am a sucker for data collection comedy. I will be seeing both!
Dan has been a data collector for 10 years. You know when they say how much it costs to live somewhere? He's the guy who has to find out. He goes around the world and walks around supermarkets recording the prices of apples/cheese/you name it into his dictaphone. He's been to almost every supermarket, in every country, in the world. This is the story of how.
Chelsea Birkby: Silly Sausage (Pain) (Work in Progress)
The Basement at Vaulty Towers - 9th Feb - 18:30
Chelsea's application made me howl and I am very excited to see it IRL. She's already got a Soho Theatre run under her belt with her last show, so now's your chance to get on the silly sausage express for the follow up.
Chelsea Birkby follows up on her award-winning debut (best debut show Amused Moose, nominated for best show comedians choice awards) with this work-in-progress. Is it about an awakening, clown school and her Mum, or is it about YOUR MUM? Expect: one liners, heart, pop culture, and maybe even sincerity?
Sikisa: Words (Work in Progress)
The Basement at Vaulty Towers - 1st & 2nd Mar - 20:00
There is never a dull moment with Sikisa. In her first show she was the life and soul of the party, and now she brings us a show full of reflection and rediscovery. I'm really looking forward to seeing her second show.
Just back from doing her acclaimed debut hour, Sikisa is here with a new show and she is worried about words! She always thinks she's gonna say the wrong thing at the wrong time but asks the question - can you live in the modern world without speaking the language? A story of rediscovery and reflection.