The best of Edinburgh Festival 2012: What to see

Every year in August, the beautiful city of Edinburgh opens its doors to the creative, comic and crazy. Every bar, pub, theatre and street corner is converted into an arts venue with artists, critics and audience members from all over the world taking over the city for the largest event of its kind on earth, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 1947, eight performance groups arrived in the city in an attempt to revive European artistic creativity after the Second World War. From there it has grown and from 3rd to 27th August 2012, thousands of performers will converge upon Edinburgh, presenting shows of every conceivable kind. The difficulty of course is deciding what to watch. Here are some suggestions for a number of must-see shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012.

Comedy

Comedy accounts for 36% of the entire festival line-up and with 530 shows eligible for the coveted Edinburgh Festival Comedy awards, there is plenty to choose from if you are in search of some humour. With many big names piloting new material, from Alan Davies to Jimmy Carr, here are some alternative offerings:

Alan Anderson – Whisky Fir Dummies: incorporating stand up comedy and whisky tasting, this show is sure to elicit some giggles.

Where: Just The Tonic @ The Tron, Hunter Square, EH1 1QW

When: 9pm

Cost: £6-£12

The Boy With Tape On His Face – More Tape: wordless stand up and ingenious physical theatre and music make for a lot of laughs.

Where: The Pleasance Courtyard, EH8 9TJ

When: 9.40pm

Cost: £6 – £13.50

Fat Kitten Vs The World: Returning after two years of sold out shows, Fat Kitten take on other groups performing at the festival in a spontaneous comedy-off.

Where: The Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street, EH2 2AA

When: 16th-21st and 23rd-25th August, 4.50pm

Cost: Free

Cabaret

From burlesque and circus acts to comedy and music, checking out a cabaret is a fine way to ensure an evening of entertainment at the festival.

Best of the Fest Variety: this show boasts the cream of the crop of performers from all over the festival, showing off their weird and wonderful skills.

Where: Teatro Spiegeltent, Assembly George Square, EH8 9LH

When: Midnight

Cost: £12-£15

The Bongo Club Cabaret: Now in its 14th Year, the Bongo Club handpicks some of the best variety acts at the festival and brings them all together with spectacular, shocking and hilarious consequences.

Where: The Bongo Club, Holyrood Road, EH8 8BA

When: 10pm

Cost: £8-£12

Children’s Entertainment

Although many shows at the festival are decidedly not child-friendly, there are a great number dedicated entirely to little ones.

Baby Loves Disco: is precisely what it sounds like, a disco party for anyone aged 0-7yrs (and their parents) who wants to get down and get funky on the dance floor, this hugely popular event is usually a sell out.

Where: Electric Circus, Market Street, EH1 1DF

When: 11am and 2pm

Cost: £6-£8

The Golden Cowpat: presented by Tucked In, favourites of 2011, this show takes children aged 3+ on a magical adventure filled with music and song.

Where: the Pleasance Courtyard, EH8 9TJ

When: 10.45am or 11.50am

Cost: £6- £8

Peter Pan on Dinosaur Island: interactive theatrical fun for 5-12 year olds including action, sword fighting and a T-Rex.

Where: The Merchants Hall, Hanover Street, EH2 2EP

When: 10.45am

Cost: £6-£7

Music and Dance

Experience some creative performances of original music and choreography from all over the world:

Brazil! Brazil! Presents Favela Funk Party: a carnival of infectious South American rhythm and energy featuring live band and dancers.

Where: The Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR

When: 10.45pm

Cost: £16

Out of the Blue: The charming a cappella boy band deliver a vocal and choreographic spectacular, fresh from Britain’s Got Talent.

Where: Assembly George Square, EH8 9LH

When: 2pm

Cost: £8- £10.50

Enter the Woods: A darker exploration of fairy tales and bedtime stories through physical theatre and haunting music.

Where: The Space @ Venue 45, Jeffrey Street, EH1 1DH

When: 13th-18th August, 10.15pm

Cost: £5.50-£7.50

Drama

From one man shows to full productions, the festival offers a plethora of theatrical storytelling.

My City Saturday: follow the troubled lives of teens in Edinburgh in this a hard hitting piece by Explosive Arts.

Where: The Point Hotel

When: 25th-26th August, 5pm

Cost: £5-£7

Not My Cup Of Tea: an example of the new writing presented all over the Festival, this show challenges society and the system.

Where: The Space on The Mile,

When: 3.05pm

Cost: £7.50