Best of the Festival: This week’s top-rated shows from our reviewers

Looking for a Fringe show to see in the coming week. Here are ten our reviewers top tips. There’s something for everyone.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 3:24 pm
Testament of Yootha

So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs? Pleasance Courtyard ****

The show is just what it says on the tin, assisted with some great graphic illustrations, and impressively lifelike and sometimes gruesome clips from BBC’s computer animated Planet Dinosaurs. There’s a lot of slashing and killing, and you learn exactly what stegosaurus did with those thagomizers. Until Saturday. TIM CORNWELL

Testament Of Yootha Gilded Balloon Teviot: Turret ****

Effortlessly, Caroline Burns Cooke as Yootha Joyce transports one and all back to the swinging 60s and shameless 70s.

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Terrified of being typecast as Mildred Roper, and self-medicating on up to a bottle of brandy a day, tragedy and comedy intertwine as we watch her descent into alcoholism. Cooke captures the brash tenderness of the troubled star in a warm and interactive performance. Until 26 August. LIAM RUDDEN

Fern Brady: Power and Chaos Monkey Barrel Comedy ****

Brady is absolutely fearless - there’s nowhere she won’t go and nothing she won’t say on stage and she’ll switch from snarling and menacing to sweet and girlish in an instant. And she’s fantastically funny - whether she’s talking about being locked up in a mental institution, or watching porn, she’ll find the way to get the biggest possible laugh out of the most outrageous subject matter. Until 25 August. CLAIRE SMITH

The Incident Room, Pleasance Courtyard ****

There’s an unusually successful sense of verisimilitude to this ambitious - almost forensic - examination into the police hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. Since the killer, Peter Sutcliffe, was eventually caught, this is not a whodunnit but a what-happened; a tragedy of errors... an unusually absorbing production from London’s New Diorama Theatre and, remarkably, the revelation that the Ripper has finally been caught comes with an awful gut-punch that catches you entirely unaware. Until 26 August. RORY FORD

Cato Street 1820, Pleasance Courtyard: Beneath ****

This is a masterclass in story telling from Fringe favourite David Benson. The past informs the present in this timely tale of the Cato Street Plot to assassinate the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lord Liverpool in 1820. In a relaxed, convivial manner, Benson relates the story, illustrated only with the odd song and his deft knack for morphing from character to character in the blink of an eye. Until 18 August. LIAM RUDDEN

Backbone, Underbelly Bristo Square ****

With ten circus artists and two musicians, this is already a big show, made bigger by countless props and costume changes.

Beautifully lit from the side (the lighting design throughout is super), and with lasers shooting across the stage, it’s a real sight to behold. Until 26 August. KELLY APTER

Boom! Boom! Basil Brush: Unleashed, Underbelly Bristo Square: Cowbarn ****

Risqué, boisterous and downright daft at times as Basil delivers some good old-school belly laughs. Until 25 August. LIAM RUDDEN

Sparkle, Summerhall - Technocube 0 ***

There’s a lovely dream-like quality to this beautifully staged show for the very young, about of a boy who likes to wear sparkly dresses.

Even tiny children are absorbed by the gentle voices and simple narrative and for adults, this is a poignant illustration of how parents watch from a distance as their children set out in the world. Nathaniel Niemi as Sparkle and Christina Uyeno as Kokua are a joy to watch. Until 25 August. CLAIRE SMITH

Josie Long: Tender The Stand Comedy Club ****

Reframing the concept of edgy comedy to mean sleepdeprived and on the verge of nervous exhaustion, Josie Long is persecuted by her nagging fears about climate change. And though she scarcely needs it, goodwill towards this goofy optimist is enhanced by the news that she’s had a baby.

With some wider changes in society but not enough, as outdated notions about acceptable topics for stand-up persist and she continues to experience abuse simply for doing her job, she offers a wry and often hilariously detailed account of her labour. Until 25 August. JAY RICHARDSON

The Good Scout,(Space: Surgeons’ Hall, 8.20pm ****

A rattling spy thriller. Moments of laugh out loud humour and high camp are accompanied by an ever present vein of underlying threat in a well-researched script, delivered by a talented cast as the action twists towards its unexpected climax. A gripping 80 minutes that has a bittersweet affair of ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ at its heart. Until 24 August. LIAM RUDDEN

Tickets for all shows from www.edfringe.com