Innes McQuillin

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: our sketch show picks

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So, you like sketch shows? Is that familiar faces, rising stars or complete unknowns? Double acts, threesomes or troupes? As our sketch selection below illustrates, the choice is endless. It’s best to go to Edinburgh with a plan, and tickets for the shows you don’t want to miss. Here are our sketch picks.

News Revue 2014

A regular fixture on the Fringe, the show retains all its characteristic freshness and vibrancy as it returns for an incredible 35th year. The winning recipe of two women, two men and a pianist delivers a biting satire on the topical events of the year with a sparkling array of brilliantly performed and written sketches.

Pleasance Courtyard, 6.30pm, 30 July-25 August (except 12 August)

Croft and Pearce

On a bare stage and with minimal props, Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce magically conjure up a dazzling variety of comic characters using only witty dialogue and an impressive physicality. Running gags and audience participation come as standard, and the high laughter count demonstrates that the duo know how to write and put together a show. It’s no surprise that the BBC is already on their trail.

Gilded Balloon, 5.45pm, 30 July-24 August (not 11 August)

Ben Ashenden & Alex Owen – The Pin

Confident, clever and strong performers individually and collectively, the fun they’re having on stage is contagious and winning. Their writing stands out too, using and subverting the sketch format to devastating comic effect. Comedy bigwigs descending on Edinburgh searching for the next big thing need look no further than this immensely likeable pair of Footlights alumni.

Pleasance Courtyard, 6.00pm, 30 July-25 August (not 11 & 18 August)

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: And So Am I

That’s right, sock puppets. A treat for aficionados of comedy cross-talk, and a tour-de-force of hilarious sketches and songs. Never better than when the script gets thrown out and the puppets interact with the audience. There’s simply nothing like Kev F Sutherland’s wonderful one-off comedy creation on display elsewhere. A sure-fire way of curing Fringe fatigue.

Gilded Balloon, 10.30pm, 30 July-24 August.

Twisted Loaf: Half Baked

Together as Twisted Loaf for a mere couple of years, actors Libby Northedge and Nina Smith won top prize at the Funny Women Awards 2013. Gifted physical performers, and accomplished writers, the duo’s blend of clowning and character comedy powers them fearlessly through some of funniest, silliest, and zaniest sketches to be found anywhere on this year’s Fringe. The fact it’s a free show is a bonus.

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 8.45pm, 1-25 August (not 12 August)