The countdown begins…


It's Tuesday. It is warm. And I am in London. Panicking. It is now officially a fortnight until the Edinburgh Festival begins - when hoards of hopeful comedians make their pilgramage to the home of the largest festival in the world. It is the equivalent of exam season for the comedy world - with every comic cramming as many previews and revision sessions in as they can before their shows officially open from the 4th of August.

In preparation for the marathon ahead I decided to take an early holiday. Thus, last week I was in Provence in the South of France. Ten days were spent living in a twenty person chateaut with my french family, surrounded by the bubble of the french language, excitable children and a big swimming pool full of suicidal crickets. We played Platonk, drank rose and read novels - mainly the novel of friend and writer Lolita, whose blog you should read if you speak/want to read French. Our chateaut was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and hills with shapes that, as the sun set, were reminiscient of the curves of a womens' body lying down. It was very beautiful and the heat was manipulative. One minute you were fine and tanning slowly, the next you were faint, with a wave of exhaustion overloading you. My skin now is a huge constelation of freckles (in french they call them 'Red stains' which I think is deeply offensive) and my hair is a bright carrot orange from the sun.

Now, back in London, lots of texts are coming through from friends asking 'What shows should I see in Edinburgh?'. So, below are a few comedy shows that I think are going to be bloody fab, and if you have a chance to, you should go see....

*These aren't all the shows I recommend, but I'll blog in the next few days with other recommendations too.....

ANDREW DOYLE

Andrew is not only a charming and wonderful human-being, he is also a fine comedian. He's the comedy equivalent of drinking a magnum of one of the most luscious French bordeauxs. He's on at 7.50pm at The Stand (so, heartbreakingly I won't see his show), but his stand-up is so beautiuflly well-crafted and intricately put together you can't help fall in love with his candour and wit.

ALEXANDER BENNETT

Alexander Bennett is a peculiar man and because of that I love him dearly. A complete fire cracker on stage with a hugely likeable rage, his material is bizarre, open-hearted and funny/ He is endearing, likeable and honest on stage which allows him to seduce you onto a path of very weird ideas. Go see him.

ALFIE BROWN

Alfie Brown is one of my absolute favourite comedians. He is bloody brilliant. Passionate, political and unique. His show last year, 'Divorced from reality (and my wife)', was one of the funniest and most innovative shows I saw at the festival. He is on at 7.20pm this year at Assembly, so annoyingly I will miss his show as we clash, but I highly recommend you go and see him.

DAN LEES

The most debonair clown around, Brainchild is sumptuously funny and ridiculously silly. If you fancy something heartwarmingly eccentric and funny, which allows you to let off some steam and be silly too, do go watch Dan. He is a very charismatic and loveable clown with ridiculous accents and costume changes to match his endearing nature.