Don't tell Edinburgh, but the Fringe is having an encore. 12 Days of Edinburgh is a first time event at Bloomsbury's Museum of Comedy, running from 16 - 27 September, bringing the pick of the festival down for the Sassenachs to sample.
It's not on the same scale as at the other end of the A1 — over three thousand shows are distilled to twenty two — but it's an appropriately eclectic selection. Stand-up David Trent opens with his much acclaimed multimedia piss-take of pop culture, all delivered with his school teacher bite. Then on 16 September, Erich McElroy's satirical show The British Referendum arrives just 48 hours from the real thing.
And if the Scottish vote brings out nostalgia for a bygone British era, there's a jolly hour of Wodehousian storytelling with Joe Bor. In This Is Not a Holiday, his character, Jasper Cromwell Jones, goes on an errant trip with an itinerary planned by his sinister chum 'Bear'.
Then there's Andrew Watts' Feminism for Chaps, a title Jeeves might lend Bertie Wooster. But, there's nothing condescending in this intelligent show, which is told with wit and passion. On gender politics, Rebecca Humphries grew up on Disney films and has plenty to be scathing about; but, her Dizney Rascal is also a cabaret performance that has both innuendo and warmth.
In An Evening With Patti DuPont, rising talent Anna Emerson goes beyond Hollywood; her parody of the dysfunctional relationship between a film star and her daughter is both clever and ambitious. But, it's stars of a different sort for Lindsay Sharman: Libros Mystica is a riotous variety show from fortune-telling charlatan 'Madame Magenta' (an authentic all-seeing eye wouldn't be very Edinburgh — the Fringe demands risks into the unknown).
Caroline Mabey's quirky stand-up show Chaos Is a Friend of Mine performed only a short run and escaped media attention. As did Gerry Howell's Portal of Discovery, a remarkable one-man theatre performance. This impressive line-up has more on offer and won't disappoint fans of the Weirdos Collective.
By Ben Venables.
12 Days of Edinburgh is in the Cooper Room at the Museum of Comedy in the undercroft of St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way. The season runs from 16 - 27 September. Ticket prices for certain shows include early entry to the Museum.