Ten Edinburgh theatre shows about comedians | Real and fictional

Ten Edinburgh theatre shows about comedians

Real and fictional

Kicking off our annual series of features, each previewing ten shows from the thousands at the Edinburgh Fringe next month, with a selection based around the art of comedy and those who perform it, real and fictional, and first-hand...

1. Les Dawson: Flying High

Jon Culshaw uses his impressionist’s skills to bring Les Dawson back to life in this ‘funny, affectionate and poignant’ celebration. The premise is that that comic is recalling a wealth of characters and incidents from his eventful life and career, as he travels on Concorde at twice the speed of sound, 68,000 feet above the Earth. This will be the third stage tribute to a comedy great to be written by playwright Tim Whitnall, following Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story and  Morecambe. Bob Golding, who played Eric in that show, is directing. Assembly George Square 4,30pm

2. Morecambe

Speaking of which, Cambridgeshire’s Viva Arts and Community Group is reviving Whitnall’s previous work, with all the gags and routines you’d expect.  Richard Dodd plays Eric, and 31 other characters. TheSpaceTriplex, 3.10pm until 13th

3. Charlie Russell Aims to Please

In this new meta-comedy from Mischief Theatre, the mob behind the ‘Goes Wrong’ shows. Charlie Russell wants to do a show in Edinburgh, but all she can think about is what she wants people to think of it and, ultimately, of her. So rather than focusing on what she wants to say, she's just going to create a show that will please absolutely everyone by trying to hit as many solo Fringe show tropes and styles as possible within an hour.  Pleasance Courtyard 3.15pm

4. Broken Funnies

You’ve probably heard the story about a man going to a therapist to say he's depressed about this cruel, uncertain world. ‘The treatment is simple,’ says the doctor. ‘The great clown Grock is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Then the patient says sorrowfully: ‘But doctor...I am Grock.’ Well, this is Scottish comedian Martin Bearne’s take on what happens when a stand-up goes to a therapist – and can’t help but crack one-liners in a bid to win validation. ‘And what,’ the blurb says, ‘happens when a pull back-and-reveal joke, reveals too much?’ Greenside @ Riddles Court  at 2.55pm, August 15 to 27 (not 21)

5 Jack Docherty: Nothing But

The veteran comedian and Scot Squad star performed this love letter to the Edinburgh Fringe at last year’s much-depleted version of the festival. It’s a skilful piece of storytelling floating between the endless possibilities that open up here, and facing up to the realities of lost youth. Read our four-star 2021 review hereGilded Balloon At The Museum, 8pm (to 19th)

 6. Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis

In another returning show that make an impression last year, the British-Lebanese stand-up explores the disconnect between going on stage and making people laugh, while grieving in private. Is that comedy as therapy? Is it healthy? Read our 2021 review here. Underbelly Cowgate 12.50pm (16th to 21st, and 24th to 27th)

7. Tickled: The Ken Dodd Story

And back we return to the bygone comics, with a new one-man show celebrating the last of the great variety stars. This promises an affectionate hour backstage and onstage with the Squire of Knotty Ash, with a nod to some of his best routines and big hit songs. Greenside @ Nicolson Square 3pm (to 20th, not 14th)

8. In PurSUEt

Sue is Sue Perkins, whose presence looms large over this solo show from Eleanor Higgins, about a woman with a drinking problem who favours stalking the  former Bake Off host over dealing with her demons. It’s being developed by Soho Theatre and is surely the only show at the Fringe to feature a poster quote from the mayor of London (‘a tour de force’, Sadiq Khan)  Underbelly Cowgate, 3.50pm

9. Laurel and Chaplin: Before They Were Famous

The relationship between two of the most influential figures in early screen comedy is intriguing. They worked together on Fred Karno’s Company of Clowns, with Stan as Charlie’s understudy. Yet as they became famous, they drifted apart amid accusations Chaplin stold from Laurel – who is never mentioned  in Chaplin’s otherwise detailed autobiography. This play, from Jordan Conway, Matt Knight and the Crazy Comedy Company, explores that. TheSpaceTriplex, 7.40pm, 5th to 13th only

10. The Rain Men

And on the topic of comic feuds, this play revolves around the fictional Wullie and Harry, two elderly comedians who were once a popular Scottish music hall act. After 30 years together, they parted ways on unfriendly terms and have not spoken to each other since. Now 20 years later their agent is trying to get them to revive the double act for a TV special…  RSE Theatre, 6.30pm,  19th to 28th

Published: 18 Jul 2022

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