The Official Fringe guide now and is available online too with tickets going on sale from 10am (online) and 12pm (box office) this Monday. Here are, IMHO, the highlights. First off, if you only go and see a couple of people, make sure it includes genius of Demetri Martin, the manic hyperactivity of "nearly gay" Phil Nichol and the one-night only political comic Mark Thomas. After that try experimenting with a few young people. Nominated for the Perrier Best Newcomer last year we have Michael McIntyre, the winner of the Newcomer award Austrialian musician Tim Minchin, the physical craziness of the Caesar Twins and the Korean martial arts comedy of last year's huge hit Jump (if you've already seen Japan's Gamarjobat). Traditional stand up comes from arguably the best British comedian on the circuit, Andrew Maxwell.
On to more established and guaranteed shows, Talk Radio starring winner of last year's Best Actor award Phil Nichol (yes the comic from above), the legendary Mike McShane, winner of the Perrier Award in 2004 Will Adamsdale and so many more. Oh yes, it's also Stewart Lee's first directing since Jerry Springer The Opera. It will be one of the most talked about shows of the year. Ed Byrne is playing as always and no doubt he'll sell out faster than ever. NewsRevue is the world's longest running comedy show and every year it has delivered excellent sketches, far better than the rubbish littering TV at the moment.
Finally we have several new-ish performers who are well worth a look especially Russell Howard, Dutch Elm Conservatoire (strangely nominated for the Perrier last year even though they do not fit the criteria), Andrew Lawrence, Mark Watson, Will Smith (saw last year) and finally Sarah Kendall (my god, a woman, two years after seeing the awful Lucy Porter!). If you are looking for something a bit more mainstream try Danny Bhoy and Jeff Green. Robin Ince is worth a look if you've never seen him before. There are some free BBC Radio shows with a "Best of the Fest" line up, you just need to grab the tickets in advance.
For those other people like me who enjoy the odd film, the Edinburgh International Film Festival launches on Wednesday 12th July with tickets going on sale on the Friday. Stay tuned for my updates for that ;-)