The Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs this year from 7th to 29th August. But attending can be a rather fraught affair requiring military precision to ensure all travel, accommodation and theatre / comedy / arts 'n' culture needs are met. There is also the likelihood of accidentally stumbling upon some lingering G8 protesters and wasting a precious afternoon of Edinburgh time with them, believing you are taking part in a ground-breaking bit of interactive site-specific verbatim agit-prop theatre (when actually all you're doing is hanging around waiting for Tarquin's daddy to come and pick up the gang in the family estate car).
Why bother? You can recreate the Edinburgh Festival experience right here in our fair city by dropping in to see the acts doing previews within the M25 before they make the long, nerve-wracking journey north. It is possible to see a good deal of the Edinburgh Festival in London, with the added smugness of seeing it all before any one else, and you can go home to your own bed afterwards and not have to share a stranger's floor with five other people just to save enough money to see you through four more days of festival activity.
For theatre: try the Battersea Arts Centre for a cracking programme of exciting new work created in partnership with Edinburgh's Smirnoff Underbelly venue; new works include the aforementioned Ether Frolics and it's guaranteed you'll be seeing some of the boldest work of the festival (without actually going to the festival).
Also try the Chelsea Theatre for a mixture of new theatre, musical performances and children's shows (for the masochistically curious, book to see Confessions of a Jingle Writer - comes with a warning: may contain improvised ivory-tinkling).
Lots of comedy previews at the Etcetera Theatre, the Pleasance Theatre, the Hampstead Comedy Club, Downstairs at The King's Head ,Hens and Chickens and Theatre 503 as well as various comedians trying material within established comedy nights around the capital.
Once the performers have packed up and gone north, Londonist recommends taking a well-deserved break from all this festival fun. Then repeat the process in September when all the shows come trickling down back down the country. Basically, if you don't go to the Edinburgh Festival, the Edinburgh Festival goes to you. Enjoy.