The Edinburgh Fringe is obsessed with the new, from buzz around the young comics making their debuts to breathless anticipation of fresh material from big name acts. But the festival isn't just about novelty, and there's a reason why a select handful of showcases and shows—from improv to musical comedy—return year on year. For a start, they're bloody good fun – tried and tested formats that leading comics and newcomers slot into effortlessly. These Fringe favourites are also a great opportunity to truly experience the spirit of the festival, a fantastic route in for those willing to stay up late and jostle with a sometimes rowdy crowd.
If you like satirical sketches then… NewsRevue2017
NewsRevue seems like a good idea every year: it’s a chance for four talented minds to pick apart and poke fun at the latest year in politics. But the political landscape (both at home and abroad) has left a fair few of us more exasperated than ever this year, so perhaps this evening of satirical sketches and songs is the perfect antidote.
If you like improv then… Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical
Baby Wants Candy begins with a single phrase shouted out by an audience member. This random line then triggers a whole improvised musical show. There is something thrilling and exclusive about an evening of fully improvised comedic lunacy and, as the title suggests, there's even a full band to help bring this off-kilter extravaganza to life.
If you’re into nocturnal comedy madness then… Late‘n’Live
Late‘n’Live is a standup show that's about as unpredictable as they come. It's four hours of (most likely) boozed up comedy fun, with space for music and dancing as well. As hinted at in the title, this show goes on very late indeed, from 1:00am–5:00am, so is perfectly suited to hard-core fans of the Fringe.
If you just want a bit of everything then… Best of the Fest
Best of the Fest is a must-see for all dedicated comedy fans, an opportunity to see some of the biggest names in comedy perform alongside newer acts that may have escaped your attention up until now. With each show boasting a unique lineup, it's a show that will leave you begging for more.
If you like your improv home-grown then… The Improverts
Produced by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company, this bright-eyed bunch of improvisers perform weekly during term time and have been storming the Fringe for the last 25 years, making their show the festival's longest running improv extravaganza. As a vital piece of the Fringe’s comedy history, it's well worth catching one of these one-off, totally off-the-cuff spectacles.
If you like Jane Austen, then… Austentatious
Austentatious are an improv group unlike any other. Dressed head-to-toe in era-appropriate clothing, the group take an audience suggestion as the title of each show before embarking on a Jane Austen-inspired whirlwind of a journey. Comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with no previous knowledge of Austen required.