10 best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Muslim female boxers, freak yogurt accidents, Dr Seuss with bouncing balls, a grumpy Jack Dee and a live outing for Whose Line Is It Anyway? Here's what caught our eye at the world's largest arts festival

With thousands of shows from dozens of countries in around 300 venues, picking what to go and see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully, we can help narrow it down with our top picks from the obscure, mainstream, and plain bonkers shows this month…


1. The Ruby Dolls

This will be the second show from the highly-acclaimed cabaret performers Ruby Dolls, whose first sell out show, Rubies in the Attic, saw them fuse theatre with music, dance, puppetry and hilarious tales. This year, expect a feminist twist to their show, and writing from Robert Webb(Peep Show)’s wife Abigail Burdess. Accompanied by a live score, it will take a humorous look at daily injustices faced by women.

See it at: Assembly Checkpoint, 3pm between 31 July – 25 Aug (not 6, 12 & 19)

2. No Guts, No Heart, No Glory

This hard hitting (quite literally) production from Common Wealth tackles the subject of Muslim female boxers in the UK, and will take place in an actual boxing ring in Craigmillar. Based on interviews held with four 16 – 18-year-old Muslim women, and input from UK female boxing champion Ambreen Sadiq, the show explores assumptions and expectations of Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

See it at: Sandy’s Gym, Craigmillar, 2pm / 4pm / 8pm between 18 – 25 Aug

3. Janis Joplin: Full Tilt

Expect plenty of songs, acting, and a full band on stage during this study of the legendary but deeply troubled musician. The piece is framed inside one of Joplin’s gigs and was inspired by monologues from a concert she did in 1969, in Canada. One is a funny story about man hunting in San Francisco, the another is a heart-breaking plea for love.

See it at: Assembly Checkpoint, 9:50pm, 1-24 August

4. Adam of the Riches

Described as a “brand new hour of phenomenal bullshit”, his Edinburgh comedy career sees Adam hospitalised as a result of a freak yogurt accident, ride audience members across the stage on his back, race actors dressed as lizards on skateboards while being pelted with water pistols, kiss (with tongues) unsuspecting male volunteers and be milked. 

See it at: QueenDome, Pleasance Dome, 9.45pm, 30 July – 24 Aug

5. Blind

UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage explores the various influences on young women today, with music, bizarre sounds and incredible layers of beats – powered by one woman’s voice alone. This unlikely musical sketch retells what we are told by our mothers and learn in the school playground and the music charts. 

See it at: Pleasance 1.55pm 17th to 25th August

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6. What Does The Title Matter Anyway?

Hosted by Clive Anderson himself, this off-the-cuff comedy tribute to the 1990s Channel 4 show will be different every night. Featuring plenty of games, music and guests, including original series regulars Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence, Colin Mochrie, Mike McShane, Stephen Frost and Richard Vranch, it will not disappoint.

See it at: McEwan Hall, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 9pm, 6-19 August, more info

7. The Cat in the Hat
One for you and your children, this revival of the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of the Dr Seuss classic has been updated for the Fringe, but will have all the brilliance of the original production. Expect giant, inflatable bouncy balls, lot of bubbles and plenty from that famous cat in his stripy hat.

See it at: Pleasance One, Pleasance Courtyard, 12.05pm, Weds at 1.05pm, 30 Jul – 25 Aug

8. Jack Dee’s Help Desk

After a six-year absence in order ‘to spend less time with the family’, grumpy Jack Dee will be offering up plenty of sarcastic wit at the festival this month. In Help Desk, Dee will play agony aunt. He and his panel of experts will offer an, ahem, sympathetic ear to audience members in need of relationship, career or emotional advice. Ask questions at your own risk.

See it at: George Square, Edinburgh, 18-24th, 6.30-9.30pm

9. Tiger and Tiger Tale 

The award-winning Barrowland Ballet offers two children’s dance shows telling the same story; one from the perspective of a child and one from an adult. Filled with explosive movements, we’ll watch as a tiger comes to visit a family and causes chaos. Sure to be brilliantly fun, with live music throughout.

See it at: Venue150@EICC, 6pm | 1 – 19 Aug (not 4 & 11)

10. Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

The former Daily Mail diary columnist comically discusses a variety of subjects, some serious – such as genital mutilation – and some not so much, like a national newspaper mistaking her for King Charles II. This sharp, angry (but extremely funny) lady will recall true stories, which usually have some underlining political relevance.

See it at: The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5), Aug 8, 14-16, 18-23, 25, 11.10pm

The BBC will be streaming live and on-demand coverage from this year’s  Edinburgh Fringe Festival, see here for programme information


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