The Edinburgh Fringe Show

Explore the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Ewan Spence through a mix of reviews, news, and interviews.

Hosted ByEwan Spence, Fin Ross Russell

Welcome to the Edinburgh Fringe Show.

This BAFTA-nominated podcast is a mix of news from the biggest arts festival in the world, with interviews and reviews from the world of comedy, theatre, and music; featuring over 1000 guests since we started coverage in 2005.

Just as the Edinburgh Fringe went on hiatus in 2020, so did the Fringe podcast. When the Fringe returned to a full roster for 2022. Ewan Spence was joined by Fin Ross Russell to guide listeners through the festival with a daily mix of interviews, thoughts, news, and more.

Following the 2022 Fringe, we are exploring our extensive library of guests with a weekly showcase interview from the archives.

Listen to all our shows online at edinburghfringe.thepodcastcorner.com. Follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or in your favourite podcast app, to never miss an episode.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Jeff Innocent (Eco-Worrier, 2006)

An artist at heart with a long and varied list of interests, Jeff Innocent went on a stand-up comedy course in 1996 – led by alt-comedy legend Tony Allen – and he’s not stopped since then. Jeff has carved out a place in the UK stand-up scene like no other, as well as working as a writer and actor.

In 2006 he brought the show Eco-worrier to the Edinburgh Fringe – environmentalism remains a strong part of his ethos to this day – and it’s interesting to be reminded of how the path looked some 16 years ago.

So we return to the Stand, with Jeff Innocent, and listen to 2006’s Eco-Worrier.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Celia Pacquola (Let Me Know How It All Works Out, 2014)

2014 saw Australian comic Celia Pacquola return to Edinburgh for her fourth Fringe Show. ‘Let Me Know How It All Worked Out’ looked at the world of psychics and their promise of foretelling the future; specifically one who said she would never have children.

(Spoiler… congratulations are in order, Celia and her partner had their first child earlier this year,).

Since the Fringe Pacquola moved frequently between the UK Australia, with various apeprances, scriptwriting, and starring appearances in a wide range of shows on the circuit, including radio work on Fox FM and Radio 4, TV work on Would I Lie To You, Live At The Apollo, and Have You Been Paying Attention, and staring in Rosehaven, and The Breaker Uppers.

All that was ahead of her in 2014 when she joined me in the podcast studio to talk about her show. It wasn’t the first time she’d been on the Fringe podcast, so the whole ‘tell us about your show’ quickly descended into discussions of synchronised diving, Tom Daley, Pro/Am contest, and a love of Converse trainers.

This week’s trip is back to the Gilded Ballon, back to a time when the future we live in now was quite definitely not going to happen, as Celia Pacquola asks the audience to Let Me Know How It All Works Out,

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Shedload Theatre (The Statement of Randolph Carter, 2015)

The world of H P Lovecraft is one that many people have explored, both the horror of the writing and the horror of the man. In 2015 Shedload Theatre looked at the former, in an inventive show called The Statement Of Randolph Carter.

The big moment in the show is the Foley work. The show is presented as a radio play, and that means lots of sound effects performed live. The story is very much classic horror, but the theatre experience is much more visual than you would expect… and thoroughly engaging. There’s also the importance of the entire body of work built on H P Lovecraft’s work – all which is out of copyright and free to perform.

As Shedload Theatre piled into the studio, we did something a little different. Yes there’s an interview in here to find out more about the show… but there’s also a performance from part of the show (a story called The Temple) which they perform live… along with all those foley effects!

And so we head, warily, to Surgeons Hall, to a desk of foley effects and horror, to the Statement Of Randolph Carter.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Sofie Hagen (Bubblewrap, 2015)

Sofie Hagen started their stand-up career in their home country of Denmark, before quickly moving to London to further their career. 2015 brought the debut show to Edinburgh.

Bubblewrap examined issues of depression and mental health, difficult teenage years, and attacking the beauty industry, all with just a dash of Westlie and a perfectly cringe reading of their Westlife Fan Fiction.

It’s fair to say that Hagen nailed the Edinburgh experience, with the ‘Best Newcomer award from the (no longer the Perriers) Edinburgh Comedy Awards, joining previous newcomer awards from  Laughing Horse and Chortle.

The Fringe podcast caught up with Sofie early in August. The show was doing well, and audiences were coming in, but the plan for a small and intimate first time in Edinburgh was upstaged with the venue moved to the 500 seater Liquid Rooms rock band stage.

So, let’s take a trip to PBH’s Free Fringe, into the Liquid Rooms, and get ready to enjoy some Bubblewrap…

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Little Soldier Productions (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, 2014)

The Fringe is not just a recruiting vehicle for Live at the Apollo, there’s more to comedy, more to the fringe, than that. You can have theatrical performances that bring the art of clowning and farce to the stage alongside pathos and examination of the human condition.

In 2014, Little Soldier Productions brought its first production to the Fringe, the aforementioned Don Quixote show, which took massive liberties with the story, twisted reality and fantasy, and ignored any semblance of structure… in other words did a Don Quixote to the classic Don Quixote structure.

And it paid off. At the Fringe, it was awarded The Stage’s Award for Acting Excellence, and since then it has seen over 130 performances in 5 different countries. Little Soldier has gone on online talks, presentations, workshops, and five more shows, including “Nothing Happens (Twice)” which graced the stage at London’s Soho Theatre this summer.

Once the podcast team stumbled over the show, we couldn’t wait to get everyone from the show into the studio and on to the podcast. In 2014 we were broadcasting live on community radio as well as publishing the podcast, which meant rather more energy in the room from myself and co-host Dan Lentell from the Edinburgh49 website.

So let’s go back to the Zoo Southside, to the cellar of the Zoo, in 2014, and find a tiny windmill from Little Soldier’s “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Tim Fitzhigham (Flanders And Swann, At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus, 2016)

There are Fringe performers, there are Fringe stalwarts, and then there is Tim FitzHigham

This Gentleman Explorer has spent decades at the Fringe, bringing shows about his madcap activities that he has attempted in the previous twelve months…most notably he was the first person to row across the English Channel in a bathtub, held the British and European record for the longest Washing Line, and was part of an obscure show called “Alex Horne: The Taskmaster” in 2010. I wonder what happened to that?

Anyway, 2016 saw a much calmer FitzHigham in Edinburgh. Although not quite ready to present his latest daredevil moment, he once more joined with Duncan Walsh Atkins to bring their loving tribute to Flanders and Swann to the Fringe for its tenth show.

Part tribute, part let’s do some funny song, part ‘let’s not forget about these titanic comedians’, FitzHigham and Atkins continue to present their showcase of the comedic music from Michael Flanders and Donald Swann at the Fringe,

Tim joined myself, and co-host Paul Levy from FringeReview, in 2016’s Podcast Studio to talk about the show, his love of Flanders and Swann, and their importance to the cultural landscape.

So let’s go back to The Cabaret Bar, to 2016, and enjoy At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Adam Kay (Bum Notes, 2012)

I’ve talked before about the podcast archive giving us a window into the past when the recognisable names of today were still figuring their artistic life out. That’s very much the case with Adam Kay. With ‘The London Underground’ song becoming the breakout viral hit of 2005 (or at least as viral as you could manage in 2005) he started his appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe.

We join his story in 2012, where his mix of songs and storytelling settled into the ‘Fringe Favourite’ list, with multiple years of sell-out shows in Edinburgh and across the United Kingdom.

It was his first book, ‘This Is Going To Hurt’, that started this new period in his career. It was a Sunday times bestseller, sold over one million copies, and won numerous Book of the Year’ awards. Kay adapted the book for the recent seven-part BBC Series, with Ben Whishaw taking on the now fictional role of Dr Adam Kay. His third book, ‘The Story of a Medic Who Ran Out Of Patients’, was published this year, following on from 2019’s ‘Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas’.

Back in 2012, much of this was ahead of Kay. It’s August and his job is to get through the Fringe. In this interview we talk a bit about his life as a Doctor in the NHS and the move into performing, when going with a ‘big four’ venue was the right choice for him, and how the Fringe can benefit him for the whole year.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Kate Smurthwaite (The News At Kate: Leftie Cockwomble, 2014)

2014 is our destination this week, for that year’s ‘News At Kate’ from Kate Smurthwaite.

Smurthwaite’s TV writing credits include ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘The Revolution Will be Televised’ her words have appeared in The Guardian, New Statesman, Cosmopolitan, and more; and she has made countless appearances discussing politics over the years. 2022 saw the award-winning Smurthwaite bring “The News At Kate: Humanity’s Last Hope” to the Edinburgh Fringe.

“The News At Kate” is a lynchpin of the Fringe, and it’s been part of August for as long as I can remember. 2014 saw “The News” with the delightful tagline of “Lefty Cockwomble”.

The tag came about following her appearance on the BBC’s Question Time. With so many people asking her about her experience, this highly visible foray into political debate was the starting point for that year’s show that examined the definitions of freedom of speech.

There have been countless political whirlwinds since 2014. Yet some of the points raised remain just as pertinent, if not more, in 2022’s devastating landscape.

So let’s head back to 2014, to the Free Fringe stage in Viva Mexico, to the ‘News At Kate’.

The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Sarah Kendall (Get Up, Stand Up, 2012)

This week we’re back to 2012 once more, as former Perrier nominee Sarah Kendall returned to the Fringe after a five year absence.

“Get Up, Stand Up” (or is it “Get Up, Stand-Up”, how delightfully interpretive) takes on a more storytelling approach than a bang-bang-jokes routine, and Kendall’s acting chops wer brought to the fore in an hour of pitch perfect raccentouring, reflecting on motherhood, the world that her daughter was growing up in, all wrapped up by the tale of the Ugly Duckling.

Her recent work includes the TV show Frayed, which has just finished its second season, and an appearance on the UK version of Taskmaster – so as you’d expect there’s countless clips of her discovering a bag of salt.

As for 2012, we’re off to The Pleasance and the ridiculously early time of 8.30pm, to talk to Sarah Kendall.