Edinburgh comedy previews in Manchester: Our top 5

Joe Daly
Comedian John Luke Roberts

Before the comic exodus to the Edinburgh Festival, Manchester plays host to some excellent work in progress. Here are our top shows.

It’s that time of year again: a select group of misfits head for the Edinburgh Festival to hide in cramped rooms for a month, trying to impress strangers who may or may not be someone at BBC Three. But before they become broken wrecks from 30 days of staring at indifferent faces, they are enthusiastic and full of promise as they hone their material at cheap preview shows in other cities. So, here are our top 5 picks from the upcoming Edinburgh comedy previews.

1. Comedy Doubles at The Dancehouse

First up, Dead Cat Comedy bring two double headers to The Dancehouse Theatre. Our top pick is Michael J Dolan, who appears alongside Chris Turner on Saturday. Described as ‘stand up for those too tired to get angry’, Dolan specialises in bleak philosophical comedy with a cynical edge. Dead Cat are also offering a special deal: buy tickets for Dolan and Turner and you’ll get free entry to see John Hastings and Jim Smallman the following evening. 18 July, 8.30pm, tickets £8 adv.

2. Michael J Dolan & Gein’s Family Giftshop at Tiger Lounge

Proving how hard these comedians work, you can catch Dolan at Tiger Lounge doing another preview, this time alongside Manchester favourites Gein’s Family Gift Shop. Gein’s have a growing reputation both locally and nationally that has seen them record their first BBC show. Their ramshackle, energetic live shows are the best of sketch comedy. 23 July, 8pm, tickets £5

3. Kraftwerk Badger Spaceship at Gullivers

Local short-story writer and co-host of literature night Bad Language, Fat Roland brings his uniquely titled show Kraftwerk Badger Spaceship to Gullivers before trekking up to the Free Fringe. With a mixture of short stories, animations and tales of his time as an electronic music journalist, you may struggle to know what you’ve seen – but you’ll know you enjoyed it. 26 July, 8pm, free

4. Peter Brush at Fuel

The finest alternative comedy night in Manchester, Quippopotamus – hosted by the sharp bundle of energy that is Jack Evans – plays host to Peter Brush as they bring comedy to those outside of the city centre. Matching the madcap nature of the night, Brush will be performing his first ever full show, Older Than The Oldest Dog That Ever Lived before taking it up to Edinburgh. 26 July, 7.30pm

5. John Luke Roberts at Pub/Zoo

One of the biggest nights in the city, XS Malarkey has multiple Edinburgh Fringe previews on the cards. Our top pick is Radio 4 News Quiz writer John Luke Roberts, who covers death, family and utter stupidity in his show (whose title is a sub-editor’s nightmare) Stnad Up. 28 July, 7pm, tickets £5 / £3 members

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