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Vlad’s guide to the top comedy shows

Vlad cigarYes, it is that time of year again – the biggest arts festival on the planet.  In terms of global tourist spend, it ranks third, only behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. 

There are thousands of shows on offer, featuring a range of household names alongside complete newcomers whose concept of “comedy” verges on diagnosable mental illness. 

So how does the average punter choose ? Here are half a dozen shows definitely worth seeing on the opening weekend.

MONKEY BARREL COMEDY

The Banana Skin, 9 Blair Street   8.30-10.45 pm nightly

If the 2016 Fringe has any legacy, it will be this marvellous bijou venue, set up by Ben Verth whose place in Scottish comedy history is already assured due to his weekly shows at The Beehive Inn and his founding of The Scottish Comedy Festival. Perth has now opened a new uprose-built comedy venue on Blair Street, which will open all year round.  Judging from Wednesday’s opening night show, it is set to be a very welcome and successful addition to the entertainment scene in the capital.

PUPPET FICTION

Laughing Horse @ The News Room, Leith Street  12 noon daily (except Mondays)

Back for a second successive year, these puppeteers-cum-improvisers from New Zealand are presenting one of the most unique shows at the Fringe, telling the story of the classic movie Pulp Fiction through the medium of puppetry.  Their pupating skills leave much to be desired but their spontaneous wit and love of the absurd make this a must-see show.

EDDDIE BRIMSON: UP THE ANTI

Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street  6.35    Daily except Wednesdays

Londoner Eddie Brimson is one of the finest political stand-ups on the UK circuit., as well as a committed Green activist. This fifty-minute show tells of his arrest in a dawn raid on suspicion of breaking the Prevention Of Terrorism Act.  A compelling story, hilariously told.

F.R.A.N.C.

Stand 6, York Place  Daily except Monday 15th

This comedy play at one of the Stand Comedy Club’s satellite venues in The Place Hotel has a cast of some of the finest stand-ups on the Scottish circuit.  It is a dark Hammer-Horror-esque comedy about the creation of a robot comedian. A hilarious romp, with a serious twist at the end.

KEV’S KOMEDY KITCHEN

Just The Tonic @ The Mash House, Guthrie Street   3.40  Daily except 8th, 9th

Manchester-based comedians Will Hutchby, Kevin Dewsbury and Mike Newell get together for an hour of complete silliness, which has involved building a complete kitchen since they arrived in town on Monday.  Sounds like a lot of fun.

GAVIN WEBSTER:  JESUS CHRIST’S A WINDOW-CLEANER NOW

Stand 2, North St Andrew Street.   7.10  Nightly except Monday 15th

I have yet to see this show, but Gavin Webster is one of my favourite comics, among the funniest people on the planet.  The show title should act as a clue to the type of gleefully surreal buffoonery in which Webster excels.

Vladimir McTavish is appearing in his solo show “Scotland in Sixty Minutes” at Stand 5, York Place at 7.30 nightly except Monday 15th August

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