There is no doubt that we live in volatile political times. In these periods of social crisis, the arts have always had an important role to play in helping us to understand the bigger issues.
Hence the plethora of comedy shows about Brexit at this year’s Fringe.
Here are my top tips for shows that manage to extract some laughter from this three-year farce:
MARK NELSON: BREXIT WOUNDS
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 8pm
Mark Nelson is probably the finest Scottish comedian of the thirty-something generation and is hugely respected throughout the UK live circuit. While Kevin Bridges may have rocketed to stardom within years of making his stand-up debut, the arguably more talented Nelson has bided his time and is now finally receiving the media attention he deserves. There is an edgy darkness to his writing, yet he delivers it with a knowing cheekiness that never fails to hit the mark. More political than his previous work, Brexit Wounds is a must-see show at this year’s Fringe.
MATT FORDE: BREXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR
Pleasance Courtyard, 9pm
For a number of years now, Matt Forde has brought a political stand-up to the Fringe, and has built up a loyal following for his particular brand of intelligent, thoughtful satire. Such has been the long-running farce of Brexit, this is Forde’s second show on the issue following last year’s Brexit Through The Gift Shop. Now a regular panellist on Have I Got News For You, Forde parties the Bard of Stratford’s legendary stage direction in this year’s show title, which seems apt as the Brexit debacle has undoubtedly become a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
DHARMANDER SINGH: FROM BIRMINGHAM AND BOLLYWOOD TO BERLIN AND BREXIT
Laughing Horse@City Cafe, Blair Street, 8.40pm
Less overtly political than the offerings of Nelson and Forde, engaging Brummie Dharmander Singh presents a very personal story of his personal upheavals, from growing up as a child of Indian parents in the UK to moving to Germany to the fall-out of Britain leaving the EU. Indeed, this Fringe has seen more upheaval for Singh, as he was one of the comics forced to change venue at the eleventh hour due to the sudden closure of Espionage. Go watch this show, it’s a beautifully crafted hour of storytelling and stand-up.
ANDY ZALTZMAN: SATIRIST FOR HIRE
The Stand Comedy Club, York Place 4.30pm
This show’s full title is, believe it or not, Andy Zaltzman: Satirist For Hire – Blindfold Cliff-Edge Unicorn Brexit Bogus Prime Minister Democrageddon American Elections Cricket World Cup General State Of The World Specials which should give a clue not only to the topics covered in the show, but of Zaltzman’s wonderfully silly- zany but pin-point accurate satirical observations. Without doubt, Zaltzman is my favourite political stand-up. This is a show I will definitely be putting at the top of my Fringe hit list.
JO CAULFIELD: VOODOO DOLL
The Stand Comedy Club, York Place , 7.40pm
A regular Mock The Week panellist Jo Caulfield’s comedy can best be described as “satire by stealth”. Never one to stand on a soap box, Caulfield’s beautifully-crafted comic writing leaves its audience in no doubt about what she feels about the big issues of our time.
Vladimir McTavish’s solo show at the 2019 Fringe, “60 Minutes To Save The World” is at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, George Street at 6.50pm until Sunday 25 August