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Pick of the Fringe: Razorsharp and unmissable and they’re all women

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is in full swing once again with hundreds of comedy acts performing powerhouse solo shows. This year there are more female comedians playing the festival than ever before, yet women are still somehow under-represented. Fellow comic Matt Roper takes a pick of a few of the must-see shows playing the Fringe throughout the month of August – all led by the ladies.


*All shows play daily until August 27 unless otherwise stated.


Athena Kugblenu: Follow the Leader, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 17:30

The world's never had more knowledge, yet never more stupidity. South African comedian Athena Kugblenu just can't help but notice the consistencies between the Universe and herself. How can she blame people for choosing Trump when she's choosing the wrong men? Clearly we haven't realised she constantly makes mistakes so we don't have to. Join Athena for a tour of the world's most pressing catastrophes which pale compared to what happened when she fixed her own washing machine. As heard on BBC Radio. ‘A smart, impassioned comedian’ says The Scotsman.


Sabrina Chap: How to Be a Bad Girl, Laughing Horse at the Place, 22:30 (Aug 15-26 only)

New York City songstress and all-round funny woman Sabrina Chap chronicles her delightful descent into the world of smut, booze and burlesque. With the title drawn from her signature tune, she reveals her journey from being a 'good girl', to becoming a sexual songstress of filth. Written to rival the twirl of a nipple tassel, her canon of dirty songs shot her into international cabaret stardom amongst a sea of naked ladies. Combining ragtime, smut and whiskey, it’s an hour of revelry, abandon and great fun.


Dana Alexander: Shady With a Chance of Sunburn, Laughing Horse at Cabaret Voltaire, 18:00

Canadian-Jamaican stand-up Dana Alexander offers a unique and irreverent perspective in an industry that is dominated by the privileged and homogeneous – a purple sheep in a group of black sheep. This is her funny, fresh and alternative perspective on our cultural shift which challenges the status quo because you can't be 'woke' if you were never asleep. In a world of constant surveillance and social media, there is nowhere to hide. New voices have been amplified and we are starting to question everything. How do you discover a country that already has people in it?


Jayde Adams: The Divine Ms Jayde, Pleasance Courtyard, 21:30

Bristol comic and Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee 2016 Jayde Adams is going full diva this year with glorious gowns, acerbic charm and show-stopping music by Olivier Award winner Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer: The Opera). “Jayde Adams is the third funniest woman in the world. Fact” – Dawn French.


Sameena Zehra: Existerhood, Sweet Novotel, 16:20

Satirical stand-up from Sameena, who says that power balances are shifting. But can we get rid of all the arsebiscuits without becoming arsebiscuits ourselves? What price friendship when revolution beckons? What price joy and compassion? And what about the menz? Intent. Consequence. Power. Control. These are words. She will use them – and you will laugh.


Jo Caulfield: Killing Time, The Stand Comedy Club 3, 19:40

Featured on Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow, Just a Minute and Stop the Press, veteran comic Jo has been lauded by The Scotsman as one of Britain’s smartest comics. Razor-sharp, sarcastic and unmissable.


Luisa Omielan: Politics for Bitches, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 21:15

Comedy phenomenon Luisa Omielan (What Would Beyoncé Do?! and Am I Right Ladies?!) is back at the Fringe with a much-awaited third solo show. Tackling hard-hitting subjects in her signature style, she discusses everything from public spending to housing, from cannabis to cancer... and Five Guys. In her own words: “Politics is so dry and inaccessible but between us we can figure it out. Includes dick jokes and highbrow concepts”. As seen on the BBC, Live at the Apollo, 'Thigh Gap' joke (45m views) and host of Comic Relief.


Matt Roper is a British comedy performer based in New York City. His relationship with Lush goes back to 2011 when he performed for the muddy festival-goers of Lushfest, returning the following year to curate the line-up of the comedy stage. As he travels around the world, he shares his musings with us here in a series of writings – a sifting of thought from a restless but always seeking imagination.


Follow Matt on social media:                     

Twitter: @MrMattRoper

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