Need inspiration for shows to see at the Fringe? Our after-dinner speakers have it covered…
The 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe kicks off in 16 days. In case you’re not familiar, it’s the world’s largest, and arguably the best, arts festival in the world. This year, there’ll be a mind-boggling and record breaking 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows across 313 venues. August is holiday time in the events world but our after-dinner speakers still need to keep busy somehow – and you’ll find a fair few of them treading the boards up at the festival. Here’s a rundown of my top after-dinner speakers to catch this year in a non after-dinner capacity:
Gyles is fast becoming a fringe institution with six Edinburgh shows already under his belt. I’ve been a fan ever since my mum took me to see Gyles in ZIPP! One Hundred Musicals For Less Than The Price Of One (I’m a true fan) way back in 2002. He’s one of JLA’s favourite raconteurs as well, and this year the doyen of after-dinner speakers returns with a brand new show all about the power of words. Seems fitting for a Scrabble expert, acclaimed author and star of shows such as Countdown, Just a Minute and Wordaholics. Go!
Gyles Brandreth: Word Power! 16:00, Pleasance Courtyard (not 17th)
Another one of our after-dinner speakers will also be heading up north this summer, but he’s making his fringe debut. Henry Blofeld joins forces with Peter Baxter in a hilarious double act at Assembly George Square Gardens, where they’ll be sharing tales and gossip from their distinguished careers broadcasting across the globe. They’ve already toured the world and the show promises to be a thoroughly entertaining hour of ‘good men behaving badly’.
Blofeld and Baxter: Rogues on the Road. 16:10, Assembly George Square (12th – 25th)
Jay Rayner’s back in town for one afternoon only with My Dining Hell. I have it on good authority that this is well worth catching, especially if you’re a foodie, obviously. The restaurant critic speaks about our fascination with bad reviews – just what makes us so obsessed with sticking the knife in? It’s also a Q & A session, so if you’ve any burning questions to ask, August 24th’s your chance.
Jay Rayner: My Dining Hell. 12:45, The Assembly Rooms (24th only)
OK, so he doesn’t fall into the category of after-dinner speakers, but I couldn’t write this blog and not mention the brilliant Marcus, who we’ve worked with for years. Why? Well, aside from the fact he’s a ‘riot’ and ‘the funniest man in corduroy’, according to our clients, he’s in not one, not two, but THREE separate shows at this year’s Fringe. Exhausting.
Fully Committed Starring Marcus Brigstocke. 14:00, Underbelly Potterow (not 17th)
The Beau Zeaux: An Improvised Comedy. 17:45, Pleasance Courtyard (not 12th, 19th, 26th)
Marcus Brigstocke: Why the Long Face? 21:30, Assembly Hall (not 17th)
Again, not within my self-imposed after-dinner speakers remit. However, I’m not going as off-piste as you might think, because if it’s after-dinnerentertainment you’re looking for, look no further. This comedy hip hop improv act are always a dream to work with, and storm every corporate gig. The masters of audience interaction, they’re back for a limited run of their 2014 hit Hot Desk.
Abandoman: Hot Desk. 18:05, Underbelly George Square. (17th – 19th)
An honourable mention goes to one of our vintage after-dinner speakers, Nicholas. It’s his 15th year on the Fringe with his ever-popular comedy chat show. Head down to the Pleasance Courtyard for Happy Hour fun with a panel of celebrity guests, changing daily. Cheers!
Nicholas Parsons’ Happy Hour. 17:10, Pleasance Courtyard. (7th – 16th, not 11th).
Which after-dinner speakers have I missed, and what tickets will you be booking this year?