Edinburgh Festival London Preview Shows

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Leicester Square Theatre

Omid Djalili

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Leicester Square Theatre
Pleasance Theatre Islington
Tabard Theatre
Battersea Arts Centre
Comedy Café Theatre
Up The Creek
Hen & Chickens Theatre
Canada Water Culture Space


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival and takes place this summer from 2nd to 26th August. During the festival - which last year spanned 25 days totalling 2,695 shows from 47 countries in 279 venues - London's comedy scene can inevitably get quite quiet. But before the Fringe Festival, comedy venues around the capital are bustling with a hefty programme of preview and work-in-progress shows as comedians of all shapes and stature brush up their skills before heading up to Edinburgh for the big event.

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Leicester Square Theatre

Omid Djalili, Edward Aczel, Alan Hudson & More | 19th June to 27th July | From £5

6 Leicester Place, Soho, London, WC2H 7BX

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station


The subterranean juggernaut comedy venue in the West End has a comprehensive Edinburgh Preview selection of events including the latest from Iranian stand-up and award-winning star of The Infidel, Omid Djalili (five shows from 5th to 20th July). The brilliantly dour don of deadpan anti-comedy Edward Aczel previews his new hour of uncomfortable ribaldry (with emphasis on the bald), Lives in a Meaningless Shed (Saturday 22nd July), while sleight-of-hand supremo Alan Hudson stuns the audience with Magician or Superhero (Wednesday 19th June & Thursday 11th July). More mirth comes from youngster Matt Richardson's hotly anticipated debut solo show Hometown Hero (Saturday 22nd June), pithy Welsh gagsmith Lloyd Langford with his latest, Galoot (Wednesday 26th June) and the smart and political John Gordillo with Cheap Shots at the Defenceless (Monday 1st July & Monday 8th July). Other Edinburgh preview shows include Max and Ivan, Ivo Graham, Croft & Pearce, Simon Evans, Paco Erhard, Tony Law, Amy Hoggart (as Pattie Brewster), The Pin, Rory & Tim, Gyles Brandreth and Simon Munnery. Tickets cost as little as a fiver. Visit www.leicestersquaretheatre.com for more details.


Pleasance Theatre Islington

David Baddiel, Nick Helm, Russell Kane, Richard Herring & More | 10th June to 27th July | From £5

Carpenter's Mews, North Road, London, N7 9EF

Tube: Caledonian Road Station


The sister venue of the Pleasance in Edinburgh, the Pleasance Theatre Islington is the kind of place you'd expect a steady flow of Fringe previews - and with over 50 shows from as little as £5 a pop, the Pleasance London Edinburgh Preview Season will not let comedy lovers down. Whether you're into the dry wit of David Baddiel or the bombastic bellows of Nick Helm, there's something for everyone at the Caledonian Road venue in N7. Stand out stand-up shows include querulous oddball and 2010 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Russell Kane's Smallness (Friday 12th July, Wednesday 24th July), cerebral comic Richard Herring's We're All Going To Die! (Sunday 21st July, Thursday 25th July) and Countdown champion-cum-comedian Alex Horne with Lies (Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th July). There's also that man Helm with his new show One Man Mega Myth (Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd June) and Baddiel with his thought-provoking Fame: Not the Musical (Sunday 7th July, Wednesday 17th July). Also look out for sketch troupes WitTank (Wednesday 10th July & Friday 26th July) and Jigsaw (Sunday 14th July & Thursday 25th July) as well as some theatrics with Laugh Your Farce Off (Sunday 21st July), Outside on the Street (Thursday 23rd July) and The Three Lions (Thursday 25th - Saturday 27th July). Visit www.pleasance.co.uk for a full Edinburgh Preview programme.


Tabard Theatre

Alex Horne, Carl Donnelly, WitTank & More | 10th-22nd June | £10

2 Bath Road, London, W4 1LW

Tube: Turnham Green Station


The Tabard Theatre in Turnham Green is putting on a fortnight of Edinburgh Fringe Festival previews in association of Alavon Promotions, the agency behind Al Murray, Russell Howard and Chris Addison. There's a whole host of top talent on display - from established names such as Carl Donnelly and Alex Horne to some of the hottest new acts on the circuit, including the sketch troupe WitTank. Tickets cost £10 and each show starts at 8pm. The full line up is as follows: Tom Deacon and Jarlath Regan (Thursday 13th June), Ahir Shah and Gareth Richards (Friday 14th June), David Trent and Iain Stirling (Saturday 15th June), Grainne Maguire and Matt Forde (Monday 17th June), Carl Donnelly and Jimmy McGhie (Thursday 18th June), Alex Horne and Tom Craine (Wednesday 19th June), Grainne Maguire and Joel Dommett (Thursday 20th June), WitTank and Adam Drake (Friday 21st June) and Tommy Rowson, Matt Winning and Iain Stirling (Saturday 22nd June). Visit www.tabardtheatre.co.uk for more details.


Battersea Arts Centre

Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Ardal O'Hanlon, Sara Pascoe & More | 2nd-31st July | £6-£10

Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

Tube: Clapham Common Station


Throughout July the Battersea Arts Centre is putting on a comprehensively riotous month of Edinburgh Comedy Previews from some of Britain's brightest comedic talent, including the king of deconstruction and nonchalant delivery Stewart Lee, with his show Much A-Stew About Nothing (2nd & 3rd July), Lee's former comedic partner in crime Richard Herring (19th July) and rising stars Sara Pascoe (19th & 24th July) and Ahir Shah (26th & 27th July). Other highlights include Father Ted favourite Ardal O'Hanlon (30th & 31st July), big-haired cricket satirist of The Bugle podcast fame Andy Zaltzman (29th July), bearded brainiac Alex Horne with his new show Lies (15th & 16th July), gimmick-free Carl Donnelly (17th July) and bespectacled optimist Mark Dolan (25th July). Sketch shows come from Peacock & Gamble (17th July), Max and Ivan (18th & 19th July), Abandoman (18th & 20th July), Joy and Wonder (22nd & 23rd July) and New Art Club (26th & 27th July). With tickets costing just £6 to £10 for some of the best acts in the business, these one-hour work-in-progress shows are the biggest bargain in Battersea. Double up with the Centre's burger and beer offer for a tenner at the Scratch Bar and these shows prove both frugal and funny. Visit www.bac.org.uk for more details.


Comedy Café Theatre

Tom Wrigglesworth, Tony Law, Jigsaw & More | 24th June to 23rd July | £5

66-68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY

Tube: Old Street Station


Shoreditch mecca for mirth, Comedy Café Theatre, has a whole month of Edinburgh Previews to unleash on the joke-seekers of East London, with highlights including the big haired bespectacled radio maestro Tom Wrigglesworth (9th July), Canadian bearded buccaneer Tony Law (Thursday 18th July) and the latest work-in-progress from Jigsaw, the sketch trio of surreal stand-up Dan 'Hedgehog' Antopolski, winner of the Best Joke award at the 2009 Fringe Festival (Thursday 27th June). Other shows include Luke Benson and Grannie McGuire (Monday 24th June), Matt Green and Joe Bor (Monday 1st July), Joe Rowntree (Tuesday 2nd July), Nat Luurtsema and Patrick Morris (Thursday 11th July), Paul Pirie (Friday 12th July), Romesh Ranganathan and Joel Dommet (Monday 15th July) and Ellie Taylor and Paul Sweeney (Tuesday 23rd July). With tickets setting you back just a fiver these nights are a no-brainer for anyone looking for laughs. Visit www.comedycafetheatre.co.uk for more details.


Up The Creek

Paul Chowdhry, Nick Helm, Marcus Brigstocke & More | 5th-31st July | £5-£10

302 Creek Road, Greenwick, London, SE10 9SW

Tube: New Cross Station (East London line closed. Bus service operates)


Greenwich's favourite comedy club, Up The Creek, is presenting four double-bill Edinburgh Preview Shows on Wednesdays in both June and July ahead of two headline acts - Nick Helm and Paul Chowdhry - at the end of July. Most tickets are a mere fiver with the most expensive coming in at £10, which is excellent value for money. June's highlight sees Chortle best newcomer from 2009 Seann Walsh team up with Marlon Davis (Wednesday 19th June) while July sees lofty satirist Marcus Brigstocke share the stage with Neil Delamere (Wednesday 10th July). Late July one-man show headliners feature loud but melodic bearded slob Nick Helm with his brand new show One Man Mega Myth (Wednesday 24th July) and a work-in-progress evening with TV regular Paul Chowdhry, who made comedic ripples with his last show, What's Happening White People? Visit www.up-the-creek.com for more details of the whole Edinburgh Preview Shows programme at Up the Creek.


Hen & Chickens Theatre

Phil Jupitus, Sam Savage, Kieran Hodgson & More | 22nd June to 29th July | From £6.50

109 St Paul's Road, London, N1 2NA

Tube: Highbury & Islington Station


Highbury & Islington's tiny 54-seat fringe theatre Hen & Chickens is a wonderful spot to watch a play or a stand-up show - and the intimate venue is putting on an interesting array of Edinburgh Preview Shows from little known sketch troupes to heavyweight comedy regulars. Talking of which, Deborah Frances-White's fringe hit Voices In Your Head returns to London, but this time with special guest Phil Jupitus taking to the stage ahead of a run in Edinburgh (Monday 8th July). Sam Savage: Princess Savage (Saturday 29th June) features quirky gags and stories from the Funny's Funny Winner 2012 and New Act Of The Year Runner-up 2013. Kieran Hodgson's Flood (Saturday 22nd June) is a character comedy about the Lincolnshire town of Gainsborough as its inhabitants struggle to survive the biggest flood in the town's history. Also on the programme is some offbeat humour from Ingrid Dahle and Paul Jones in Dahle and Jones On A Plate (Wednesday 26th June) and some sketch show funniness with In Cahoots on Sunday 14th July and The Leeds Tealights on Monday 29th July. Tickets start at £6.50. Visit www.henandchickens.com for more information.


Canada Water Culture Space

Josh Widdicombe, Seann Walsh, Mark Thomas & More | 17th-27th July | £10

21 Montreal House, Surrey Quays Road, Southwark, London, SE16 2XU

Tube: Canada Water Station , Surrey Quays Station


Managed and programmed by The Albany, South East London's leading performing arts centre, this cultural space in Canada Water has a range of Edinburgh Preview Shows in July, including belly laughs from the likes of Seann Walsh and Josh Widdicombe. A double bill of shaggy haired Brighton jokesmith Walsh and the round-faced ball of energy Marlon Davis gets the series under way on Saturday 13th July. Other solo preview shows come from Mark Thomas with 100 Acts of Minor Dissent on Wednesday 17th July and Best Newcomer nominee Widdicombe, who will perform his new show Incidentally... alongside a very special guest on Saturday 27th July. A fourth show, Och Aye The New (Friday 26th July), showcases a bunch of up-and-coming comedians looking to make a splash at Edinburgh, including the easy going crowd charmer Luke Graves and the musical comedian Vikki Stone. All shows cost £10 and start at 7:30pm. Visit www.canadawaterculturespace.org.uk for more information.


The Yard

The Yard Laughs | 9th, 10th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 23rd & 24th July | £6 online / £7 on the door

Queens Yard White Post Lane, London, E9 5EN

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station


This July, The Yard theatre, located two minutes from Hackney Wick rail station, brings a collection of the finest and funniest Edinburgh Festival comedy shows to East London - before they go to Edinburgh. These exclusive preview performances include comedy bingo, Ellievision from Ellie Taylor, the girl with big teeth you may have seen on Snog Marry Avoid?, silly sketch outfit WitTank, the Birthday Girls - Beattie Edmondson, Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan - whom The Telegraph called "Britain's funniest women", and the effortlessly funny Alexis Dubus who wraps up the month-long The Yard Laughs series on Wednesday 24th July with his musings on 'Cars and Girls' though he doesn't claim to be an expert on either.





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