Top 11 Brighton Fringe Comedy Shows 2016
The Brighton Fringe programme is so jam-packed full of comedy it can be hard to pick out the best shows to see.
Have no fear though, as I’ve put together my top picks of this year’s Fringe festival. It’s worth noting that tons of great acts are doing ‘work in progress shows’ in May. They aren’t listed here because I wanted to recommend tried and tested shows. However, if you would like to see shows at the ‘acorn’ stage, then do have a look through the brochure for all great acts testing material.
Abandoman: Life & Rhymes @ Republic (next to Brighton wheel)
Winners of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year and The Musical Comedy Awards, Abandoman create musical songs and sketches at lightning speed based on audience interaction. Drop your suggestions in the ring and watch as Abandoman make musical magic. No two shows will ever be the same.
The last four years have seen Abandoman tour with multi-platinum artist Ed Sheeran, headline comedy stages at every major UK music festival (including Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival, Leeds & Reading) and host London’s St Patrick’s Day event to over 15,000 revellers in Trafalgar Square.
‘Relentlessly hilarious’ **** The Times.
Date: Fri 6th & Sat 7th May 9pm (1 hr)
Price: £13/£12 concessions
Jo Neary does Animals and Men @ The Hobgoblin (Free show)
Jo’s show last year was my personal favourite of the Fringe. Think ‘Ode to Britpop’ sung by Celia Johnson. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings with her new show.
Award-winning comic Neary attended art school for seven years. She learnt that:
1. You can’t sit on a War Memorial because you are sketching. 2. You can do anything.
In this show, 20 characters (including men and an inanimate object) are given an exuberant life of their own, in which to voice their social commentary.
Note: The dance, which an audience member in Manchester begged Jo never to repeat, may be repeated in this show. ‘Utterly enchanting’ The Daily Telegraph
Date: Tues 10th – Wed 12th May 10pm (1hr)
Price: Free, non-ticketed
Michael performs his new stand-up show. Jokes, stories and general rambling. Star of Radio 4’s ‘Dyslexicon‘. With a dark and honest approach to some of life’s more touchy subjects Michael manages to effortlessly slip between some harsh, controversial topics to light-hearted silliness to make for a refreshingly eclectic and brilliantly funny act.
Michael Fabbri quickly stamped his mark on the UK circuit and rapidly earned a reputation as one of the most promising up and coming comedians on the circuit; A reputation that he is living up to, regularly performing at the best clubs in the country.
‘Exceptionally funny… extremely sharp… hugely enjoyable’ The Scotsman, ‘Startlingly insightful’ The Guardian.
Date: Mon 9th – Sun 15th May, 4 – 5 June 9pm (1 hr)
Price: Free, non ticketed
Rachel (Austentatious, The IT Crowd, Murder In Successville) is a performer whose show I look forward to seeing whenever the new festival season comes around.
Not only is Rachel a phenomenal musician, but she never uses her music as an excuse not to write well crafted, funny material. Rachel returns to Brighton Fringe with her new musical comedy show about not having it all. No house, husband, child or wage? No problem. Rachel is an award-winning comic whose songs are played on BBC Radio 4 and BBC 6 Music.
‘One sometimes doubts that Britain’s got talent, but Parris has it in spades’ Guardian.
Date: Thu 12th May – Sat 14th May 7.45pm (1 hr)
Price: Free (non ticketed)
Don’t miss Sarah Kendall’s sell-out Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated show. In this hour-long narrative, Sarah’s story will take audiences back to a pool party she went to in 1990 that was so disastrous that the ramifications are still being felt today. It was a pretty bad pool party.
‘Her tale is funny, tender and has a finale that absolutely knocked the wind out of my sails’ The Herald, ‘Kendall is a dextrous storyteller, dancing around dark moments, then skipping straight back to punchlines’ Times, ‘This is an artful, engaging hour… squaring the circles between truth and contrivance, tragedy and comedy’ Guardian.
Date: 12 May 8pm (1hr)
One of the nicest guys I’ve met performing comedy. His show is dark, quirky, kind and most importantly for a comedy show very funny.
“They say ‘there’s no place like it’ and I know it’s ‘where the heart is’ but I don’t care – I don’t want to go home. We all have to come to terms with the inevitable in life; some struggle, some accept, some even manage to embrace it.” Join Kelly for a bumpy ride through life and on into the dreaded unknown. The destination may be the same but the journey makes all the difference…
‘Deliciously unnerving’ The Guardian, ‘A classy, enjoyable act’ The Stage.
Date: Thurs 19th – Sat 21st May 9pm (50m)
Price: £7.50/£6 concessions
In January 2015, topical comedian Alistair Barrie’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, which gave him some perspective on what really constitutes bad news.
‘No More Stage Three’ is the show Alistair wrote about their year together since the diagnosis. It has played to packed audiences and fantastic reviews across the UK, Norway, Greece and at the Edinburgh Festival where it was nominated as one of the best ten shows at the Fringe.
The Scotsman described the show as ‘all wrapped in such beautifully crafted, perfectly timed material’ while Chortle.co.uk praised its ‘slick, high-end comedy.’
Come and watch another comedian make it all about himself. (His wife wrote that bit.)
Date: Mon 23rd May 7pm (1 hr)
Price: £10/£8 concessions
Every solo show David has done at Komedia has sold out. I would recommend getting your tickets sooner rather than later if this show takes your fancy.
David returns with his new show following last year’s sell-out, Baby-Boomer. Beautifully-crafted comedy from one of the country’s masters of anecdote and timing.
‘Taut, meticulous material delivered with highly effective pauses – the sort of king-sized pauses that only men, not boys, ever have the balls to attempt’ London is Funny, ‘Great, world-weary composure and an irritable pedantry worthy of Jack Dee’ Chortle, ‘A dead-pan and slow delivery, not dissimilar to Stewart Lee’ Spoonfed
Date: Sat 28th May & Sat 4 June 5.30pm (1 hr)
Price: £10/£7 concessions
Fast paced and irreverent, Sketch comedy group Gein’s Family Giftshop have an enviable gag rate and a stage presence that other groups can only dream of. Their unique brand of gag heavy writing and gleeful live performances have given the group a core of loyal followers.
The award-winning group are hitting the road for their first ever UK tour. Following success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe & their own BBC Radio series, they’re coming to the Brighton Fringe. Feast your eyes upon an hour of sketches that aren’t for everyone, but might just be for you. As seen on Inside No.9 (BBC2) and as heard on BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama.
Date: Sun 29th May 6.30pm (1 hr)
Price: £10/£8 concessions
Paul is a brilliant comic and another one of my favourites. Winner of the NATYS (formerly the Hackney Empire New Act of Year), he really is one to catch now before he goes stratospheric.
The year is 2020, film director Phil M Aker interviews Sir Paul F Taylor, the multi millionaire comedian. Join them as they take a look back at the gig that literally changed the world.
Expect surreal one-liners, flights of fancy and a totally absurd storyline. ‘Brilliantly funny nonsense’ The List, ‘A welter of daft, Harry Hill-like ideas and diversions’ The Independent.
Date: Sun 8th May and Sun 22 May 7.15pm
Price: Free, non-ticketed
The Thermos Museum @ Komedia (in the laundry room!)
If you’re looking for something completely different and crazily quirky then The Thermos Museum will be for you.
The Thermos Museum is a comedic but edifying experience. Twelve suitcases unfold to reveal numerous astonishing displays. However, the public are not free to reign: Visitors are escorted around the museum by a mysterious and disenchanted Tour guide.
Digression seems to rule over flask information. Truths are blurred. The concept of a museum is played with. The exhibits are presented in themed tableaux, such as Thermos at War (featuring audio-visual effects), and the uniquely educational Flasks of the World.
‘Quirky and Nostalgic’ – A – n magazine.
‘A Joy’ – Glasgow Herald.
Date: 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 22, 25, 30 May, 1 – 5 June 2pm and 3pm (each tour lasts 20 minutes)
Price: £5/£3 concessions
Date: Thurs 17th March 8pm
Price: £14/£12 conc.