Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Top 10 picks

Howie the Rookie. Picture: Comp
Howie the Rookie. Picture: Comp
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THEY come here in their thousands, attracted by what, in the business, is known as ‘doing Edinburgh’.

Appearing at the Fringe has long been a rite of passage for performers keen to make their mark on the world of entertainment.

The problem is, that does not always guarantee quality. With almost three thousand shows to choose from it’s odds on that there are sure to be a few duffers out there.

So here, to help you decide what you might want to spend your hard-earned cash this August, are a few recommendations.

Tickets for all shows are now on sale from the Fringe Box Office 0131-226 0000 or from www.edfringe.com

• For all your Fringe news, reviews and hot tips follow @LiamRudden on Twitter



IF you see one play in August, make it this one. A masterclass in storytelling from Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (soon to be seen as Nidge in the award-winning Irish TV drama Love Hate on Channel 5), Howie the Rookie is laugh-out-loud funny, shocking and heartbreaking in equal measure. Visceral, violent and vulnerable, this one-man tour de force from Vaughan-Lawlor is sure to sell-out. Book now.

Assembly Hall, The Mound, 1-25 August, 12.40pm



EILISH O’CARROLL is better known as Winnie McGoogan, Mrs Brown’s next door neighbour in the award-winning sitcom. In her Fringe debut she recalls her extraordinary life, embarking on an emotional and comic journey about growing up in 1950s Dublin, moving through two failed marriages, coming out, and embracing getting old. Laughter and tears guaranteed.

Pleasance Courtyard, 31 July-24 August, 2.45pm



NYC cabaret superstar Lady Rizo is sexy, sultry and dangerous to know. Combining vintage arrangements and theatrical explorations of pop tunes with anthemic original songs, she reinvents the genre.

Funny, wicked and tempting, this brazen blonde will have you rolling with laughter.

Assembly, Bristo Square, 1-25 August, 7.40pm



KING’S Theatre panto favourites Andy Gray and Grant Stott team up in this new play by Philip Meeks, writer of last year’s sell-out Fringe hit Murder, Marple and Me.

Two men of a certain age form an unlikely friendship through a shared love of Shirley Bassey. Together they begin a hilarious search for the women of their dreams.

Gilded Balloon, Teviot, 31 July-26 August, 6.45pm



DAD’S Army legend Ian Lavender, aka Private Pike, stars alongside Omid Djalili in this new adaptation of Stephen King’s timeless tale.

A story of hope and triumph over adversity, it’s set inside a men’s prison where inmates have two options - get busy living or get busy dying.

Shawshank Redemption, Assembly Rooms, 1-25 August, 4.50pm



COREY Feldman, star of The Goonies, The Lost Boys, Stand By Me and Gremlins, stars as Joe White, a guy scared stiff at the prospect of settling down, getting married and having kids.

So when his mother desperately wants him to start a family he does the next best thing - make one up. What could possibly go wrong?

Assembly, George Square, 1-26 August, 3.30pm



OLIVIER award-winning John Godber new comedy tells the tale of Jack (The Full Monty’s Steve Huison), who walks out on his job, wife (Casualty’s Sue Cookson) and teenage children to travel Europe for three months writing his promised novel - he returns with no novel, no money and no idea why he’d left. In a world which is on the edge, are we all losing the plot?

New Town Theatre, George Street, 11-25 August, 4.20pm



THIS OzCabaret production is one of those off-the- wall shows that could have been made specially for the Fringe - an afternoon of wine, music and storytelling, which finds audience members sampling various types of fizz as they enjoy the entertainment. From the same stable as The Faulty Towers The Dining Experience (sort of), expect something a bit special.

The Hispaniola, Drummond Street, 31 July-25 August, 4pm



DESCRIBED as ‘Die Hard meets The Office,’ this explosive Danish production has been winning five-star reviews around the globe.

Using everything from circus skills to dance and the athletic prowess of parkour, Blam tells the story of four crafty employees who invent a game to terminate their boredom. Using office furniture and stationary they transform themselves into aliens and superheroes.

Pleasance Grand, 31 July-26 August, 5.55pm



TAKE a pinch of the Jim Rose Circus, throw in a smidgen of the Caesar Twins, add a sniff of Archaos and just a flavour of La Clique and you have Wunderkammer, from internationally acclaimed Circa.

Seven performers indulge in a breathless cocktail of new circus, cabaret and vaudeville - and just wait until you see the guys on the Chinese Pole. Mesmerising.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 31 July-26 August, 5pm