Entertainment & Arts

Edinburgh Fringe: The hot tickets

One week into the Edinburgh Fringe, this year's hit shows are beginning to emerge. Here are the plays and comedians that are attracting the most acclaim from critics.



A one-woman play about a fighter pilot who discovers she is pregnant, Grounded has received five-star notices from The Scotsman, What's On Stage, the Evening Standard and Fest magazine. The Scotsman hailed the play, which stars Lucy Ellinson (above), as "a searing one-hour monologue". The Standard praised the "superb" Ellison and predicted that the show would "snowball into a word-of-mouth hit".

Grounded is at the Traverse Theatre until 25 August.


Nirbhaya is "one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I've ever seen", according to a five-star review by The Telegraph's critic, Laura Barnett. The play tells the story of medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey, who was savagely raped and killed on a bus in Delhi last year, while interweaving real testimony about sexual violence from Indian actresses. The Stage judged it to be "one of those wonderfully compelling, if hard to watch, shows that could well turn into a force for change".

Nirbhaya is at the Assembly Hall until 26 August.


In Quietly (right), about a man reliving a life-changing day in Belfast in 1974, actor Patrick O'Kane is "electrifying" and "virtually unmatched at pent-up emotions", according to a five-star write-up in the Financial Times. There were four stars in the other major national papers plus five more on the British Theatre Guide, which declared the acting was "pitch perfect".

Quietly is at the Traverse Theatre until 25 August.


In Captain Amazing, actor Mark Weinman plays a dizzying cast of characters as well as the title role. Captain Amazing is an unremarkable father who becomes a cape-sporting superhero in the eyes of his daughter. The Scotsman's four-star review said it was "dead simple, but just gorgeous", while The Telegraph said it "may well be the best one-man show you're likely to see at the Fringe this year".

Captain Amazing is at Northern Stage at St Stephen's until 12 August.

  • BLAM!

Blam! (right) is the "one totally unexpected hit" of this year's Fringe, according to The Independent. It is performed by four Danish actors, who play office workers breaking out of their mundane routines. "These four comic geniuses conjure a world of dark fantasy which explodes across the stage in wild fluttering fancies," the paper said. Also awarding five stars, The Scotsman described it as "a beautifully structured piece of dance theatre".

Blam! is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 26 August.

Other plays attracting attention include The Events, about the aftermath of a massacre, Fleabag, about a young woman struggling with modern life, Our Fathers, which examines parenthood, and It's Dark Outside, which uses puppets and animation to venture inside the mind of an old man suffering from dementia.



Bridget Christie (above) has won rave reviews for her playful routine about modern sexism. The star of BBC Radio 4's Bridget Christie Minds the Gap, she has won four stars from The Times, The Scotsman and Chortle, which described it as "a triumphant hour that scores on every measure". Time Out said her set was "not only full of elegant, surreal and self-aware jokes, it has heart and integrity to boot".

Bridget Christie is at The Stand until 25 August.


David Baddiel has made a triumphant return to stand-up after 15 years, with four-star reviews across the board. His show Fame: Not The Musical, in which he makes light of the reality of being famous, was "an hour of exceptionally smart, satisfying, even stirring comedy", according to The Telegraph, while The Scotsman said he was "more thoughtful and penetrating now than in his supposed heyday".

David Baddiel is at Assembly George Square ​until 11 August.


Irish stand-up Aisling Bea (right) won the So You Think You're Funny? newcomers' contest at last year's Fringe. Onwards and upwards, and a five-star review from The Herald described her routine as "a physical show and at times beautifully deranged". The Guardian said the "committedly silly hour of stories about Bea's life", featuring accents, audience participation and hula-hooping, was "hugely endearing and accomplished".

Aisling Bea is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until 26 August.


Brett Goldstein, an English stand-up who has appeared in Ricky Gervais' TV comedy Derek, has a show about internet porn. It has won four-star praise from Chortle, The Herald and The Times, which described it as "extraordinarily accomplished storytelling: Vivid, consistently amusing but never flip". The paper concluded that it was "daring, gripping, adult comedy that needs to be seen".

Brett Goldstein is at Pleasance Courtyard ​until 26 August.


No performer has split opinion more than Eric Davis(right), listed in the festival programme as his oversized alter-ego Red Bastard. Five-star reviews appeared in The Scotsman and The List, which hailed his "masterclass in physical comedy" while noting that his ferocious behaviour led to "plenty of walk-outs, and Red Bastard throws a few people out himself". He got just two stars in The Times, however, and one on the Three Weeks site.

Eric Davis is at Assembly George Square until 26 August.

Other comics garnering glowing reviews include Spitting Image and QI creator John Lloyd, who got five stars in The Telegraph for his debut stand-up show, plus the "original and immensely enjoyable" James Acaster (The Telegraph again) and Nick Helm, who is a "true comedy daredevil", in the words of Time Out.