16 Unmissable Edinburgh Fringe Shows

The festival may be over, but the #FringeSpirit carries on, and we are here to share a few of our favorite picks from the Fringe festival.

For those of you out of the loop, Edinburgh just finished up being the world's centre of art and culture for most of the month of August.

This happens every year for about three weeks during the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Legendary among the performance community, the festival is a great opportunity to see everything you can possibly imagine in the world of live entertainment. Popdust was at the festival and had the time to see a decent dose of what the Fringe had to offer. Obviously, no one can see everything, and this list (presented in no particular order) is subjective, but here are a few highlights, from the relative unknowns to international hits.

1. Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast

Better known by its acronym RHLSTP (pronounced Ruh-huh-luh-stuh-puh), the podcast is hosted by comedian Richard Herring as he interviews comedians performing at the Fringe. He does so using a trademark blend of sincerity, childish schoolboy humor, genuine insight, and an almost Andy Kaufman-esque disregard for his own public image. Despite his pretense of incompetence, Herring is actually a rather good host, with a knack for getting answers you would never expect out of guests. He usually manages this by asking questions no one in their right mind would ever ask. His recordings at the Fringe are available online via all standard podcasting apps; it's a worthy listen year-round, especially if you are a fan of British stand-up.

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2. Maggie Lalley - Cold Blooded Witch: The Sex Musical

Maggie Lalley's show takes you through her teenage life as a "witch." In these escapades, drawn from twisted and bizarre real-life-experiences, she deals with emotional abuse, overwhelming infatuation, copious sex, and possibly being married to a certain teen actor. She's candid and raunchy, and the show would be ridiculous if it were not also true. As such, it is endearingly open and refreshingly funny.

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3. Just These Please - Suitable

Similar to many sketch shows at the Fringe, Just These Please trade in on their online reputation, having had a YouTube hit earlier this year with a musical sketch about ordering coffee whilst being Irish. Their full show does not disappoint, featuring sketches reminiscent of John Finnemore and other modern comedy greats. With an hour's worth of solid-gold material, you scarcely ever stop laughing in this plucky comedy adventure. Highlights include slow-burn reveals regarding The Grand Old Duke of York, a recurring wordless sketch involving clapping along to the Friends theme, and a very polite discussion of orgies: five-star comedy.

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4. Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The ubiquitous short-form improv troupe returned to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer in triumphant form. Featuring veteran members of the British and American cast and hosted by Clive Anderson, the show was exactly what you would expect it to be: short and sweet game-based improv performed to an impeccably high standard.

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5. 44 Inch Chest

Presented by Out of Bounds Theatre, this Guy Ritchie-esque play follows a gaggle of tough London criminals in a back room deciding what to do with an unwelcome interloper. Snappy dialogue and gritty action underscore what is, at its core, a surprisingly sensitive story dealing with fallout from toxic masculinity. With its fair share of laughs and a slew of striking (and sometimes slightly disturbing) visuals, this work shows a lot of promise for the up-and-coming company.

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6. Jamie Loftus - Boss Whom Is a Girl

When people tell you about the Fringe, you hear about shows like this and assume that they are the fantasies of an overactive imagination. Confrontationally weird in content, but held in place by infallibly good comic writing and performance, this is a show you cannot stop talking about after the curtain falls. Loftus plays a fictional female CEO giving a talk about feminism in business to an audience in various states of woke empowerment and bewilderment. In it, she espouses the benefits of her medically unsustainable daily routine, how she definitely did not cause a genocide of DJs, and argues with an increasingly sentient smart-home device.

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7. Erth's Dinosaur Zoo

This is something for all the children (and adults) who love dinosaurs. Erth's Dinosaur Zoo is just a lovely wholesome time. A miraculously patient and funny man with a wonderfully soothing Australian accent walks about the stage for an hour introducing young people to dinosaurs. These dinosaurs are staggeringly well-realized puppets operated by top-notch puppeteers. They feature several well-loved favorites and a couple you may not have heard of. Charming, fun, and informative, this is one of the few shows at the Fringe that ends with you getting a selfie with a triceratops.

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8. Connie Wookey - Denied

A one woman show of exceptional calibre, Wookey tells her true-life stories about a near death experience at the hands of a certain Canadian airline, facing down the American immigration system, and just generally processing life and its madness. It is adroitly funny, featuring off-the-wall song parodies, lethal comic insight and character work, and down-to-earth storytelling that feels unforced and unpretentious. Wookey is a genuine talent, and her show is an absolute gem.

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9. Jimmy McGhie - Ba (Hons)

McGhie comes off as something of a British Joel McHale. He's cutting and playful in his crowd work but never unwilling to poke fun at himself. His show is an hour of incredibly solid stand-up and audience banter, performed by a man who clearly knows how to work an audience. He covers exploits in dating, class perception, and family dysfunction. Perhaps not the most boundary breaking show at the Fringe, but it's an excellent example of a well-honed comic doing what he does best.

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10. Synesthesia - The Musical

A touching one-woman show created by Jillian Vitko, which explores her life through the lense of her synesthesia, a medical phenomena which causes senses to cross-pollinate with one another. Simply presented with one woman and a guitar, it is an hour of songs and confessional storytelling that leaves you feeling melancholic yet hopeful. Her processing of relationships through colors and how this has affected her interactions with romantic partners, family, and more is well-communicated and warmly relatable. It's a welcoming show that pulls back the veil on a condition not widely understood, as explained through the conduit of one person's life.

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11. Moon Walk

Moon Walk is a touching story about the ramifications of male loneliness and emotional disengagement. Two young men living together and in need of each other's friendship are unable to connect until a female roommate joins their home and helps break down the barriers between them. It's a deftly written play full of goofy charm and messaging that more people could stand to hear. Sprutt Theater makes an excellent Fringe debut with strong actors, intelligent plot twists, and an ending that will leave you wondering.

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12. Godley on The Fringe

Janey Godley is a legend of Scottish stand-up. Google her now and you will find video after video of her being astoundingly forthright, articulate, and empathic on subjects ranging from class inequality to political injustice, whilst also being bluntly funny in a way that produces nothing short of respiration-compromising laughter. Her show is classic stand-up, mixed in with a section of live "voiceovers" wherein she overdubs videos from the news and more. It is all desperately funny, and Godley commands your attention from the moment you walk in the room. Literally: Her free show was consistently sold out, so from the moment the audience entered they needed to be told where to sit. Godley naturally took this task upon herself, and it is as funny to witness as anything else in the show.

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13. Men With Coconuts

Men With Coconuts is a musical improv show in the finest long-form tradition. If you're familiar with UCB-style montages, you know how a show like this works. The performers get a suggestion, they build vignettes from it, it's underscored musically on piano, and occasionally flourishes into song. This is a solid crew of improvisers, and their work exemplifies that.

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14. Ej*culation

Part lecture, part performance art, this Finnish piece deep-dives into the world of female ej*culation by way of one woman's quest to achieve it. Eerily scientific at times, uncomfortably personal at others, but all cleanly presented in a format that is at once welcoming and confrontational. You'll learn, you'll laugh…you'll feel a little weird, but you leave with a renewed fascination in human sensuality and the female (and other applicably gendered) body's experience with sex.

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15. Ew Girl You Nasty

Katharyn Henson is something else. The term "shock comic" has such a bombastic, male connotation to it that to use it to describe Henson seems somehow wrong. Her stand-up is shocking but only for the fact that her life is shocking. Her presentation of her own experiences doing meth, eating dog food, and working in a sex dungeon are brilliantly underplayed and matter-of-fact. She then uses this false sense of security to side-swipe her audience and filter in brilliant comic observation after brilliant comic observation. You won't see many comics like Henson at the Fringe or anywhere else.

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16. Are You Alice: A New Wonderland Tale

Described by author Neil Gaiman as a "haunting oneiric journey" and by punk musician Amanda Palmer as an "explosion of whimsy and color," this new reworking of Alice in Wonderland has people talking. Mixing dance, live music, re-purposed Lewis Carroll text, and a cast of actors all rotating roles in this dreamlike production, it's a trip down the rabbit-hole like you haven't seen before. Removed from now cliched trappings of Disney, Burton, and even its original context, Permafrost Theatre Collective took the classic tale and created something truly curious.

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Of course, this list is far from complete. No single writer, or even publication, could come close to covering all of the impossibly diverse shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Many of them already have outlets for further viewing. Others do not and could use the support of interested patrons. Either way, every single one of the shows listed above had something to offer that set it apart and demanded crowds sit down and bear witness.


Aubrey Plaza's Best Talk Show Moments

No one makes a host uncomfortable quite like Aubrey Plaza.

Aubrey Plaza is an actress, comedian, and producer, and now, a late night phenomenon thanks to her odd anecdotes and supremely awkward reactions.

Promoting her new movie Child's Play, Aubrey Plaza is on the media circuit again, generously giving the people what they want. Plaza makes the most seasoned hosts fumble gloriously— you can't help but laugh. Her strange persona sparkles one-on-one and now, more than ever, she's simply the most fun.

Aubrey Plaza Meets Ellen

Aubrey Plaza Meets Ellen Show

Aubrey Plaza had already been on various talk shows at this point in her career, but when she finally made it to daytime television, she became a memorable interviewee. A clip of the interview was difficult to find, possibly because The Ellen DeGeneres Show tried to scrub it from the internet. Throughout their five stupendous minutes together, Ellen had no idea how to handle Plaza's off-beat delivery and humor— for once, Ellen was thrown off and hilariously perplexed.

Aubrey Plaza: F#*% You Old People, I'm Going To Live Forever!

No one can banter with Aubrey Plaza like Conan O'Brien. She's often a highlight of his program, but out of all the videos, this one stands out. Here, Aubrey recounts her legendary speech after winning the Young Hollywood Award, where she told old people to go f#*% themselves and declared that she was going to live forever. Wonderfully, she goes on to explain that as a child, she wanted to be an old woman because she believed old people could get away with anything.

Aubrey Plaza Flashed The Dirty Grandpa Producers at Her Audition

For once, the headline of a late night clip isn't clickbait. Seth Meyers, with his boyish charm, giddily laughed while Plaza narrated the unforgettable moment. Although Plaza had been asked to audition for Zac Efron's love interest, she pushed to play the role of Robert De Nero's smokin' boo. This interview has it all: butts, producers, dirty pictures, and of course, Aubrey Plaza.

Aubrey Plaza's Audition For Catwoman

Just the other day, Plaza graced Stephen Colbert's show to promote Child's Play. Jump forward to the 6:50-minute mark to experience their hysterical bit. After Colbert asks her about wanting to audition for Catwoman, she slowly transforms into the role as Colbert brings out more cat-like accessories. The clip ends with Plaza on Colbert's desk, pawing at his face. The host couldn't help but smile as he tried to move to commercial break.

The Parks and Recreation Cast Sings "Bye, Bye Li'l Sebastian"

Saving the best for last, Aubrey Plaza took bits to a whole other level on Late Night with Seth Meyers during the Parks and Recreation send-off— stealing the spotlight with another co-star. Please, just watch for yourself if you haven't seen the sensational clip already.


F*** Yeah It's Summer. LISTEN NOW!

Improv Group On The Spot Just Dropped the Raunchiest, Craziest, and BEST Song of the Summer You Will EVER Hear

On the Spot

It's loud, it's proud, it's the NSFW song of the summer you've been waiting for...

On The Spot, an NYC-based improv troupe, has come up with this Lonely Island style summer anthem, and it is something special. Featuring gratuitous language, ridiculous rhymes, killer breakdowns, and an over-the-top embrace of all things Summery, it is both unstoppably hilarious, and just a damn fine party jam. "The song was born from a full cast rehearsal which was guest run by the amazing Rachel Rosenthal," says On The Spot director Patrick Reidy, "She encouraged us to create choruses that were as dumb and simple as possible." The rest is all on the screen.

The video features the On The Spot team jamming out on Coney Island beach in a variety of increasingly gratuitous scenes to increasingly gratuitous lyrics. The bar is set high by Andrew Whitbeck chanting the opening chorus, "F*** yeah it's summer, got my T-shirt on, and I'm going to the pool, and I wanna get it on," which immediately sets this party to eleven, and won't ever let it come down. First up is Pat Reidy rapping on the boardwalk, shirt blowing in the breeze, chest tattoo out and proud, telling wintertime it can go do something you can't bring up at your grandmother's birthday.

This is followed up by Chris Catalano making a Harry Potter innuendo you will never be able to un-hear. Then Andrew Del Vecchio jumps in on unnecessary acoustic guitar, and performs what may be the most lit version of "Wonderwall" ever. La Dynasty shows up and drops some of the filthiest fire since Fresh Kills was the subject of an arson attack. Hot on the heels of that is Nathan Armstrong breaking it down in seductive Boyz II Men fashion (and also dumping you because it's summer). The chorus then comes back in, and just when you think it can't get any more insane, Thomas Burns Scully emerges from the ocean, Jason Momoa style, and rips in to a solo. The chorus repeats forever as awkward white men and gorgeous women dance on the sand until the end of time.

If you have ever listened to The Lonely Island and felt great about your life, then this track is for you. If you like over-mixed, over-autotuned, Pitbull style, takes-itself-way-too-seriously club anthems, then this track is for you. If you used to sit in your room and play Weird Al on repeat, then this track is for you. If you like smartly written (but hugely raunchy) lyrics about the middle three months of the year, then this track is for you. Watch the video multiple times and you will pick up new details each time. It's that good.

On The Spot isn't normally an unstoppable party juggernaut though. While they definitely do know how to pump up the jam and worship the gods of summer, their regular grind is creating improvised musicals every Monday night at the Broadway Comedy Club. Their show has been critically lauded over and over again, and has attracted guest stars from the heights of Broadway. If you liked this video, you will love this show. Go see it.

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