Mitch Benn: The Point
Comedy (musical comedy)
What it might be, how we can miss it and how we can find it again... Like all those who spread mirth for a living, Mitch Benn ('the country's leading musical satirist' (Times)) has been wondering if he's really making a difference, and if there is – yes – a point to what he, or anybody, is doing. Well the good news is he's had a long hard think about it and he's figured it out, and he's coming back to tell us all what the point of comedy – and much else – actually is.
Tom Ballard: It is I
Comedy (stand-up, solo show)
Nominated: Best Newcomer and Best Show, Edinburgh Comedy Awards and Best Show, Melbourne Comedy Festival. Winner: Best Comedy Performer, Helpmann Awards. As heard on BBC Radio 4 and The Bugle. As seen on the Amazon Prime comedy series Deadloch. One of Australia’s hottest comedians (not physically) delivers a brand-new show about robots, the monarchy and death. 'Unrelenting and uproarious ****½' (Chortle.co.uk). 'Brave, biting, ballsy and ultimately, brilliant' ***** (TimeOut). '[Ballard] has a frankly ridiculous ability to hit all his marks and deftly detonate every punchline' ****½ (Age).
The Half Moon
Theatre (new writing, contemporary)
Four women. Four generations. One Belfast family fighting for freedom and future. In a ferociously optimistic tale of home and hope, we meet Ethel, Jeanette, Sarah and Pam, each trapped by the narrow streets and looming mountain of Tiger's Bay. None of them had the chance to leave until now. Pam may have broken the cycle and followed her dream of a life elsewhere but she can ever truly escape her ancestry? There are stories of battle, passion and hope still demanding to be told. A fiery rollercoaster of emotion, inspired by women of Tiger's Bay.
Goodbye Uncle Fudgey
Theatre (dark comedy, alternative comedy)
In this pathetic comedy about privilege Tom Greaves (BFI Award winner) presents a dark satire about the psychological trauma of his own "privileged" childhood. Hiding behind his caricature, Greaves jumps between his own stifled vulnerability and the comical make-believe world of Uncle Fudgey, a sorry, desperate middle-aged man who falls down the rabbit hole into a kaleidoscope of unconscious memory. An emotionally charged, at times hilarious, at other times disturbing, account of one man's quest to uncover his feelings, and find... himself. Don't miss this man in crisis! 'Incredible… a delight to watch' ****½ (on Shuttlecock, Filmcarnage.com).
A Manchester Anthem
Theatre (new writing, solo show)
Winner of the Pleasance Pick of VAULT Festival Award. Flashing lights. Sticky floors. Dancing shoes. Tommy, a young working-class Mancunian, has been accepted into Oxford. He's the first in his family to go to uni – the first on his street in fact... Join him on his last big night in Manchester before leaving the city he loves and disappearing South. Expect humour, heart and a night out to remember. 'A breath of theatrical fresh air' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'This is new writing that's impossible to resist' ***** (TheatreWeekly.com). ***** (BingeFringe.com).
Al Porter: A Work in Progress
Comedy (work in progress)
2016 Edinburgh Best Show nominee. As seen on Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre's Big Show. 'Shades of Dave Allen... born to be on stage' **** (Chortle.co.uk). 'A steamroller crowd pleasing talent' **** (Guardian). Six years since his last Fringe show and making a mess of his life and career, Al is moving forward with everything he's learned. Here he reimagines the comic and person he can be today. Back selling out venues across Ireland again, Al follows his dream once more. God loves a trier.
Horizon Showcase: Birthmarked
Theatre (lgbtq+, live music)
A young Jehovah's Witness comes to terms with his sexuality and finds his feet (and high heels...) in a world he once believed would be destroyed at Armageddon. Birthmarked is a new concept gig written and performed by Brook Tate and his grand ol' band of pals. With original music likened to Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell, alongside a whale, a paintbrush and a pair of tap shoes, he hopes to shine a light on what it means to be marked... at birth. Written and composed by Brook Tate. Directed by Sally Cookson.
Host and Compere
Mervyn has been in the entertainment industry since 1974. He started in theatre where he acted, wrote scripts, songs, and directed for around 14 years. In the 1980s, he became the 'regular topical song bloke' on the BBC TV's first ever daytime show, 'Open Air', fronted by a thin Irishman called Eamonn Holmes. Over the years he has performed weekly topical songs on many TV current affairs programmes and more of the same on radio. In the late 1980s, he took his comedy songs onto the Comedy Circuit and then touring theatres. Merv's first Edinburgh Fringe was in 1986 and he has been every year since. 'Pick of the Fringe' started life as 'Have you seen anything good?', a show to help answer the perennial Fringe-goer question. The title was changed to 'Pick of the Fringe' in 1994 and it he has built it up into one of the must-see Fringe shows.
“Mervyn Stutter is very, very good as compere of this chat show, for to make such a showcase work requires skill, talent and quick reactions. Stutter works the crowd like the showman he is.”