Edinburgh Fringe? Who needs the Edinburgh Fringe? Not us: for comedy in August, the Phoenix pub on Cavendish Square is the venue for an insanely good week of acts where you can see some big names in a small basement for less than a tenner.
Let's start with the people you've seen on TV. Alan Davies, Isy Suttie, Mark Watson, Shappi Khorsandi and Andi Osho are doing works in progress, which is a fantastic opportunity to see these comedians on a far more informal level than you'd get with something more polished. WIP shows are just more fun. Then there's Rufus Hound and friends playing Fiasco, inspired by the Bully Pulpit role playing game, which sounds like a recipe for highly amusing disaster.
There's at least three shows a night for eight nights so it's impossible to recommend them all; just know that selecting this list was damn hard. So we think you should see:
- Ben Target, more of an experience than a comedy show. He's clambered over our heads before now (WIP, 4 August, 9.30pm)
- Andrew O'Neill: the last time we mentioned him we called him a goth. We hang our heads in shame, for he is of course a metaller. One with an unfettered amount of joy in the little things in life and rage at the stupid things in the world (WIP, 6 August, 8.30pm)
- Jen Brister is a bitingly sarcastic Australian who provokes us to stupid amounts of laughter (WIP, 10 August, 7pm)
- We'd love to see Robin Ince on TV more but at the moment he's all Radio 4 with Brian Cox. He's doing a work in progress show on 9 August (10pm) and reviving his much loved Book Club with a late night and dirty theme (10 August, 10pm)
- Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown panel game with the sketch trio, guests and lots of stupid games. You can hear previous episodes on podcast (8 August, 6.45pm)
- Katherine Ryan is a mix of feminism and filth; we've enjoyed her shows when we've seen them before (WIP, 7 August, 8.30pm).
The Phoenix Fringe runs 3-11 August at the Phoenix pub, which isn't as hot as it could be, 37 Cavendish Square W1. Tickets are £10 / £8 / £5 in advance via wegottickets (+ booking fee) or £20 day tickets.