Natalie Palmides: Nate
This isn’t just the best thing I saw at this year’s Fringe – it’s one of the best things I’ve even seen anywhere. Natalie Palamides won Best Newcomer at last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards and if she isn’t nominated for the main prize this year I’ll be furious. The less you know in advance the better, but it’s a hilarious, outrageous and dangerous exploration of consent.
My tip for this year’s Best Newcomer shortlist, Keyworth’s debut hour is a brilliant attack on gender stereotypes that skillfully weaves together autobiography and polemic, reclaiming jokes from bullies in a disarmingly casual style before robustly defending young girls against attempts to strip them of their confidence.
Vulvarine The Musical
A ludicrously high-concept, delightfully daft and fabulously frantic new musical about a humble tax office worker who acquires super powers just as she’s uncovering a terrifying conspiracy involving the tampon tax, an evil scientist and some rare sea urchins. The knowing quips, nods and winks come thick and fast and the cast give it their all.
Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Victim, Complex
An issue-focused show cleverly disguised as a very funny and relatable hour in the company of a woman who wears a cape on stage because why the hell not? One half of All Killa No Filla exorcises her demons in a high-wire act that’s taken a hell of a lot of guts to write and perform.
The hardest boy in the school is on the warpath and Max needs to psych himself up for a fight in this riotously funny exploration of masculinity by Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley, performed in the round and set in the days when WWF wrestlers were teaching teenage boys how to be men.
Last but absolutely not least, Lucy Hopkins is back with more of the magic that made 2017’s Powerful Women Are About such a laugh-til-you-cry hoot. Once again it’s not quite clear whether she’s joking or sincere in her efforts to bring us together for a ritual cleansing of the soul, but once again she delivers. Something. Something very special.