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Eight of the best late-night shows at the Fringe

Written by
malcolm jack

The massive irony of paying so much for digs in Edinburgh during the Fringe is that you don’t go there to do boring things like sleep. With opening hours relaxed during August – 3am for most pubs, 5am for clubs and some of the larger venues – you can entertain yourself more or less 24/7. There are always a load of good (and typically quite noisy/rowdy) shows on to cater to the night owls.

Here’s a round-up of eight different reasons to stay up well past your bedtime at the Fringe, from late-night comedy and cabaret, to club nights. Who eats breakfast anyway?

Russian Standard House of Davai presents PingTron
We’re not sure who had the ingenious idea of a quickfire table tennis tournament with the lights turned off and a load of Russian vodka poured into the mix, but we definitely salute them. Illuminated only by the spooky-futuristic glow of UV lights to help guide the balls over the net, this sure to be wildly popular event sounds like stupidly good fun.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, August 11-14, 18-21 and 26-28, 12.15am

Beardyman: One Album Per Hour
London beatboxer, live looping maestro and comedian Beardyman – AKA Darren Foreman – takes musical prolificacy to the next level with his latest sure-to-sell-out Fringe show. The vocal virtuoso capable of emitting, manipulating and capturing just about any sound you can conceivably think of will create a whole album every night based on audience suggestions.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 18-24, 11.45pm

Frisky and Mannish: CabaRIOT
Famed for their madcap pastiches of contemporary pop tunes by all from George Michael to Chesney Hawkes, British comedy duo Frisky and Mannish make a flying visit to Edinburgh with their new “angry-funny-sexy” show proving that cabaret isn’t a dirty word, even if it is sometimes a bit dirty.

Underbelly George Square, August 15, 11.45pm

The original late-night Fringe comedy club turns 30. Comperes this year include John Hastings and Patrick Monahan. Among surprise special guests to feature so far have been Scott Gibson, Mark Nelson and Tiffany Stevenson (keep an eye on @LateNLiveGB for announcements). Drunken heckling is all part of the fun, if not exactly encouraged.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until August 28, 1am

LuckyMe Festival Party
One of the world’s most forward-thinking underground dance, hip-hop and indie record labels, Glasgow’s LuckyMe – founded by among others sometimes Kanye West collaborater Hudson Mohawke – host their annual festival special featuring DJ sets from the likes of Benji B, S-Type, Eclair Fifi, Piu Piu, Inkke and The Blessings.

La Belle Angele, August 19, 11pm

Mark Watson’s Edinborolympics
Because comedians are so naturally athletic, what with all the late nights and excessive alcohol consumption, Mark Watson had the ingenious idea of making them face-off in friendly late-night sporting competition. It’s an Olympic year after all. Previous participants (victims may be a better description) have included Adam Hills, David O’Doherty, Katherine Ryan and Tim Key – expect a similar calibre of wimpy Olympians every night.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 18-27, 11pm

Rob Deering’s Beat This
Hosted by something of a quiz show hotshot (fun fact: Rob Deering has won celebrity editions of both ‘The Weakest Link’ and ‘Mastermind’ – he’s brainy like that) this late-night Fringe favourite combines live music mash-ups, megamixes and music trivia to pit guest comedians and audience members against one another in a battle to see who’s the brightest (read: nerdiest). Previous guests include Alan Davies, Sarah Millican and Frank Skinner.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, August 24-28, midnight

Star guests, big laughs an electric atmosphere – you can tell why crowds keep flocking back to late night comedy party and Fringe institution Spank!, and that’s before we even get to the gratuitous nudity. James Loveridge and Abigoliah Schamaun are your able hosts. Guests so far this August have included Brendan Burns, Rhys Nicholson and Zach & Viggo (see @SpankComedy for latest announcements). One audience member will be invited to get their kit off before the end of the night. Bare flesh or your money back.

Underbelly Cowgate, until August 28, midnight

Looking for more night-time thrills during Fringe? Check out our list of seven of the best club nights happening this month.

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