Andrew Dipper

Preview: Edinburgh Fringe 2015

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is back with an innovative, international and adventurous festival, bound to provide many unforgettable moments for festival goers travelling to Scotland’s capital city from all around the world.

2015 will see 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 countries in 313 venues across Edinburgh. The number of shows reflects a 3.8% increase on last year’s programme, with 14 new venues becoming involved in the Fringe from across the city.

Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest, oldest, most well renowned festival in the world.

“Every year we think we know what it’s going to deliver, but every year it surprises, delights, amazes and inspires.  The Fringe is a festival like no other.

“Completely open access – where artists don’t need to wait for an invitation, where anyone with a story to tell is welcome.  Where there’s no curator, no vetting, no barriers.  Just incredible talent from almost fifty countries all over the world.

“It’s also an incredibly important festival for Scotland, the UK and our performing artists.  A vital platform to showcase the range and diversity of creative skills on offer.  A profoundly international market place which can have transformative effects on careers.  An explosion of culture which can be life changing for the audience.  And lots and lots of fun.”

A number of familiar faces and well-known names from the world of comedy will return to the Fringe this month.

Jo Brand (Gilded Balloon, p.117) will take a break from her regular prime time TV appearances while fellow female comic Nina Conti will bring her show In Your Face (Pleasance, p.145) to the festival.

Ed Byrne (Gilded Balloon, p.88), Al Murray, (Assembly, p.54), Sue Perkins (BBC @ Potterrow, p.64), Fred MacAulay (Assembly Rooms, p.96),Patrick Kielty (Assembly, p.149), Paul Merton (Pleasance, p.151), Alan Davies (Gilded Balloon, p.51), Trevor Noah (Assembly, p.177), Marcus Brigstocke (Assembly, p.134), Katheryn Ryan (The Stand, p.123), Mark Thomas (The Assembly Rooms, p.136),Josh Widdicombe (Assembly, p.121), Michael Che (The Stand, p.138) and Reginald D Hunter (Pleasance, p.156) will also bring their material to the festival in 2015.

Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Mark Thomas, Susan Calman, Bridget Christie, Liz Lochhead, Arthur Smith, Fred MacAulay and more will come together for special night of comedy celebrating the great talent that was Linda Smith in Loving Linda Smith Gala Concert: In Aid of Target Ovarian Cancer (The Assembly Rooms, p.131).

And a cast led by Kevin McNally will lovingly recreate BBC Radio 4’s hit Hancock’s Half Hour – The Missing Hancocks: Live in Edinburgh (The Assembly Rooms, p.141), bringing back to life missing episodes rediscovered by actor Neil Pearson.

Upcoming Talent

The Fringe is a great level playing field, providing an opportunity for emerging talent to rub shoulders and share facilities with established stars, for new material to be tested and new talent to be discovered. Ones to watch in 2015 include Rhys James: Remains (Pleasance, p.156) Michael J Dolan: Miserable Guts (The Stand, p.138) and Susie McCabe: The Drugs Don’t Work (The Stand, p.172).

Spoken Word

Ricky Tomlinson: Guilty My Arse (The Assembly Rooms, p.288) is a no holds barred conversation with Ricky Tomlinson about how he and his building site workmates were stitched up and sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1973, in a trial that in today’s money cost around £10 million.

Politics And Politicians 

In the year of the general election, politics and politicians are a key theme.

When Blair had Bush and Bunga (Pleasance, p.384) is a new comedy by Patrick Ryecart about mistaken identities, unruly maids, a marauding US president and a phone call from the Pope. Written and directed by RADA graduates and founders of Hell Bent Theatre Company, UKIP! The Musical (SpaceUK, p.277) uses satire and original music.

A brand new show So That’s What We Voted For? (Assembly Rooms, p.167) takes a look back at the past year in Scottish politics using stand-up, chat and comment.

A satirical look on the life and politics of Boris Johnson in Boris: World King (p.302) will play at the Pleasance Courtyard.

Comedian and impressionist Matt Forde, fresh from his appearance in BBC Two’s Rory Bremner’s Election Report, will look at the outcome of the election in Get the Political Party Started (Pleasance, p.137).

Fathers and Child Relationships

The father and child relationship is a common theme in this year’s programme.

Comedian Jimmy McGhie brings his showJimmy McGhie – Winged Goddess of Victory (Pleasance, p.117) to Edinburgh and confronts masculinity, early childhood humiliations and the sins of the father.

John-Luke Roberts presents Stdad-Up (PBH’s Free Fringe / Voodoo Rooms, p.120) a comedy show about having and then not having a father while John Hastings: Marked from the Start(Pleasance, p.119) looks at what’s brought him and his father close together, and becoming a godfather to his nephew.

Climate Change and the Environment

Climate change, ecological disasters and the environment are also major themes in 2015. Martin Kiszko’s Green Poems for a Blue Planet (Gilded Balloon, p.284)is a dramatic stand-up performance poetry accompanied by Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park’s images, based on their books Green Poems for a Blue Planet and Verse for the Earth.

Free Shows

There are 807 free shows taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

There are three organisations producing most of the free shows in the Fringe programme; PBH’s Free Fringe, the Laughing Horse Free Festival and La Favorita’s Freestival.

PBH’s free line-up includes Butt Kapinski(PBH’s Free Fringe / Liquid Room Annexe, p. 71) who invites the audience to co-star in a film noir fantasia.

Harry Baker – The Sunshine Kid (PBH’s Free Fringe / Banshee Labyrinth, p.285) follows Harry’s journey to becoming the youngest ever World Poetry Slam Champion with raw honesty and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Apologist Now! (PBH’s Free Fringe / Liquid Room Annexe, p.288) sees Phill Jupitus return with his poetic alter-ego.

The Laughing Horse Free Festival’s shows include Abigoliah’s GoPro Comedy Talk Show! (The Laughing Horse Free Festival / The Free Sisters, p.26),a devised talk show involving the audience which is filmed and then uploaded to the internet to share.

Chris Martin: This Show has a Soundtrack (The Laughing Horse Free Festival / The Free Sisters, p.75) sees observationalist stand-up perform to an original soundtrack.

Freestival also host a number of acts including Canadian Rasta Oh It’s That Guy! Comedian Matt Henry (St Mary’s, p.147).

Fringe Central

The Fringe Society’s Participant Centre, Fringe Central, will be split across two buildings in 2015.

For the seventh consecutive year the University of Edinburgh’s Appleton Tower will host practical resources and facilities including a café/ bar for participants and will be home to the Fringe Society’s Media Office.

For the first time the University of Edinburgh’s David Hume Tower will also be utilised to house the Fringe Society’s Arts Industry Office and event and rehearsal room facilities.

Fringe Central offers an unrivalled, unique and a completely  free programme of professional and career development opportunities for everyone participating in a Fringe show.


Following the success of the ticket collection point based at Edinburgh Airport last year, with over 14,000 tickets were picked up, the collection point will return to domestic arrivals in the terminal building.

Tickets will be available for collection from the Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS and from the University Visitor Centre, 2 Charles Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AD.

There are over 20 collection points throughout the city open during the Fringe.

Fringe Facts 2015

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 features 50,459 performances (up from 49,497 last year) of 3,314 shows (up from 3,193 shows last year) in 313 venues (up from 299 venues last year).

Comedy makes up 34% (compared to 34.5% last year)
Theatre makes up 27% (compared to 27.5% last year)
Music makes up 14% (compared to 13.1% last year)
Musicals and Opera makes up 3% (compared to 3.4% last year)
Children’s Shows make up 5% (compared to 5% last year)
Dance, Circus and Physical Theatre makes up 4%(compared to 3.6% last year)
make up 4% (compared to 4.3% last year)
Cabaret and Variety makes up 4% (compared to 3.2% last year)
Spoken Word makes up 4% (compared to 3.9% last year)
Exhibitions make up 2% (compared to 1.6% last year)

There are 807 free shows, 1,778 premieres and 49 different countries represented.

Giggle Beats will be providing in-depth coverage of the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe. For all the latest updates, follow us on Twitter: @GiggleBeats.