Textual Healing PR Edinburgh Fringe roster 2023

Textual Healing PR has 11 acts going up this year, an exciting mix of brilliant newcomers, must-see up-and-coming acts and veterans of various vintages.

We’re glad to be welcoming back Comedy Award nominee and Twitch sensation Bilal Zafar, Dave’s Joke of the Fringe winner, Twitter legend and children’s author Olaf Falafel and Dungeon Master and comedian Sasha Ellen – and we’re also bringing up anaesthetist, author and comedian Ed Patrick (see iNews piece here), stressed, car-crushing comic Ian Smith (Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Now Show, Northern News podcast), pun master, Dave’s Joke of the Fringe winner and AI practitioner Darren Walsh, globetrotting storyteller Ollie Horn and the hilariously self-hating Alexander Bennett (featured in the iPaper on unruly audiences, here), plus three very promising debut shows from ‘funeral celebrant’, Irish writer-performer Niamh Denyer, international act Philipp Kostelecky and ‘Geriatric Millennial’ and ‘California girl’ Liz Guterbock (recent piece in iNews here) – all-in-all, 11 fab acts!

Each act name below is linked to their website, and each profile contains links to releases, images and footage.

Alexander Bennett: I Can’t Stand The Man, Myself

Gilded Balloon @ Patter Hoose (Coorie) @ 9pm

2 – 27 Aug (not 14) – PRESS FROM 3rd AUGUST

Despite having created and staged a unique charity event featuring acts such as Ed Gamble, Sophie Duker and Iain Stirling (Dan Vs Food) and starting a high-concept podcast already boasting guests such as Phil Wang, Jordan Gray and Eshaan Akbar (Born Yesterday), emerging comedian Alexander Bennett hates himself. In this show, Alexander interrogates the inner critic by examining the limits of masculinity, queerness, his mistakes, the rental market and Robbie Williams in his singular dark, silly, filthy and thoughtful style. 

Show keywords: inner critic, masculinity, dysmorphia, regret, ambition, queer, identity, class, evil.

‘One of the most important shows on the fringe. Courageous and thought-provoking.’
The Scotsman

‘Touched with madness – I don’t think I can begin to do him justice. A producer and performer of some refreshingly different material.’

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Ollie Craig

Footage here.

Niamh Denyer: Get Blessed! **DEBUT**

Gilded Balloon @ Patter Hoose (Coorie) @ 1pm

2-27 August (not 14) – PRESS FROM 3rd August

Put the fun back into funeral! For her debut Edinburgh Fringe solo show, award-winning writer-performer Niamh Denyer is funeral celebrant Áine Reilly in a hilarious, interactive hour that addresses modern spiritual ideas, capitalism, gurus and hustle culture.

Just an hour in Áine’s presence and you’ll be ready to turn death into a living and to turn human ash into cash! Are you up to the task?

Show keywords: Spirituality, Alternative religion, Teaching, Class, Manifestation, Consumerism, Blessings, Searching for answers, Breaking the status quo, Rat race, rituals, gratitude, Living in the present, Learning from the past, Breaking with tradition.

‘Denyer is quite simply the most natural comedic actress I have seen on the Irish stage, to date.’
Dublin Gazette

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Mike Kunze

Footage to follow.

Sasha Ellen: When Life Gives You Ellens, Make Ellenade

The Counting House @ 4.15pm

4-24 August – PRESS FROM 5th August

Leicester Comedy Festival Best New Show Nominee 2022 and shortlisted for the Bafta Rocliffe award, Sasha Ellen brings a new hour of comedy to the Edinburgh Fringe asking the big questions: Is it hard to find love in this here modern world? Does size matter? How have Dick and Dom got away with it all this time?

Sasha is a professional Dungeon Master, whose Dungeons and Dragons style, comedy game show, Character Building Experience (CBE) was shortlisted for the Broadway World Comedy Award. CBE is back at the Fringe this year!

Show keywords: relationships, dating, women’s safety, body positivity


‘Smart, self-possessed and with great heart…comedy done well.’
★★★★ The Student

‘Honest, hilarious and horrifying… the comedy future looks good for Ellen.’

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Karla Gowlett

Olaf Falafel: Look What Fell Out Of My Head

Laughing Horse at the Pear Tree @ 3.45pm

4-28 Aug (not 16) – PRESS FROM 5th AUGUST

Winner of Dave’s Joke of the Fringe and children’s author and illustrator, Olaf Falafel returns to the Fringe with more acclaimed silliness.

‘Absurdity so well-crafted that silly doesn’t do it justice.’
**** Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard

‘A world of happy. A world with a laugh in every moment. This is a big, beautiful bearhug of a show.’
**** Kate Copstick, The Scotsman

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Alan Powdrill

Liz Guterbock: Geriatric Millennial **DEBUT**

Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar) @ 4.15pm

2 – 27 (not 14 or 21) – PRESS FROM 3rd AUGUST

“Hotly-tipped Fringe debutant” (Chortle) and California-born British citizen Liz Guterbock tries to contain her American enthusiasm as she explores belonging, bisexuality and ageing. Geriatric Millennial tackles the big questions: Is 41 middle aged? Can the Marks & Spencer’s LGBT sandwich define you? Will people think Liz is British because she hasn’t used any exclamation marks yet? PROBABLY! If you’re cool with women getting older, silly voices, reality TV and a bit of sincerity (but not too much), then this is the show for you. As seen on Avenue 5, a Funny Women Finalist, a Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year finalist and a BBC New Comedy Award Nominee.

Show keywords: ageing, middle-age, women’s health, bisexuality, perimenopause, not having children, child-free woman, being British, Americans in the UK, dual nationality, dual citizenship, LGBTQ, belonging, mid-life crises, reality TV.

‘Punchy, slick and accomplished, Liz Guterbock’s zippy performance is refreshing, the gags breezily amusing.’ Steve Bennett, Chortle

‘Easily marketable personality…quick to find the humour in subjects ranging from her surname to the lack of tumble dryers in the UK.’
Bruce Dessau, Beyond the Joke

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Karla Gowlett

Footage here.

Ollie Horn: Not Much

Just The Tonic at The Mash House (Just The Cask Room) @ 6.25pm

3–27 Aug (not 14) – PRESS FROM 3rd AUGUST

Following a sell-out 12-country tour for his critically-acclaimed 2021 show, one of the UK’s most exciting storytellers is back with a candid new hour about questioning the skill he’s worked for the last decade to get exceptionally good at: stand-up comedy. Book a ticket to discover why Ollie found the Apple Store to be a terrible place for a stand-up gig, the heckles Ollie could never find a good comeback to, and why gigging in a brothel wasn’t so bad. Find out how none other than Joe Pasquale gives Ollie the perspective he needs on his chosen profession.

‘Pure comedy’ (Times). ‘A natural’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Compelling and innately funny stories’ (Chortle.co.uk).

Show keywords: weird gigs, stand-up comedy, travel, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Joe Pasquale, meditation

Press release here. List of weird gigs here!

Images here.

Images credit: Gabrielle Boudville

Footage to follow.

Philipp Kostelecky: Daddy’s Home **DEBUT**

The Stand 2 @ 4pm

August 2-27 (not 14) – PRESS FROM 3rd AUGUST

Winner of Southend Comedian of the Year (2021) and a Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year Finalist (2022) Philipp Kostelecky is an exciting young Austrian-American-Slovenian comedian bringing his “pleasingly original”(Chortle) debut stand-up hour to Edinburgh. Daddy’s Home is a feel-good internationally accessible show about family, love, and pancakes. Rich in wonderful charm, brilliant jokes, and hilariously physical storytelling. As seen on Comic Relief, BBC, and Talk Radio.

Keywords: family, love, solitude, finding happiness, international

‘A pleasingly original take…his strait-laced demeanour conceals a strong sense of the weird. He made a strong impression.’ Chortle

‘Superb observations, confidence, and enough charisma to fill big rooms.’ Russell Kane

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Rebecca Need-Menear

Footage here.

Ed Patrick: Catch Your Breath

The Stand, New Town Theatre, Lower Hall

10-14, 16-21, 26-27 Aug @ 3.10pm

24 & 25 @ 1.30pm


Comedian, author and anaesthetist, Ed Patrick injects the Edinburgh Fringe with a gut-punch hilarious show about becoming a junior doctor, the NHS, the pitfalls of modern medicine and the power of questioning it.

Laughing gas has been banned, but not in the NHS, and Ed Patrick might be forgiven for feeling numb, what with chronic understaffing, junior doctors striking and many leaving the NHS. But he remains, despite a government that can burn (literally) millions of British pounds of unusable PPE but can’t support the healthcare workers to look after you. “I guess plastic aprons don’t strike or need a pension,” says Ed.

As we’ll discover, there’s more to being an anaesthetist than simply being a drug sommelier with a bit of magic thrown in…

‘Packed with funny anecdotes.’
The Guardian

‘Extremely funny.’
The Telegraph

Show keywords: NHS, junior doctor, anaesthetist, strike, government, PPE healthcare

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit:

Footage to follow.

Ian Smith: Crushing

Monkey Barrel at the Tron @ 1.35pm

2-27 Aug (not 14) – PRESS FROM 4th AUGUST

Multi-award winning comedian Ian Smith (Radio 4’s The News Quiz, The Now Show and Northern News podcast co-host) presents a show, ranting about stress, love and driving tanks with his hairdresser. Ian has been scolded by his jobsworth dentist for grinding his teeth. The solution? “Just stop being stressed.” Is that even possible!? Join Ian for the only show combining dental problems and a Slovakian car demolition experience!

‘One of the best you’ll see at the festival.’ ★★★★★ Mirror
‘Effortlessly brilliant stand-up.’ ★★★★ Scotsman

‘One of the best podcasts of 2023.’ – The Guardian on Northern News

Show keywords: stress, anxiety, anger, ranting, love, new relationships, teeth, body image, tanks, holidays, friendship, stress relief, demolition, The North, working class, small town life.

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Matt Stronge (unless otherwise labelled!).

Footage to follow.

Darren Walsh: 3rd Rock from the Pun

Bar 50 – Garden Room @ 1.45pm
Laughing Horse Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival

15-27 Aug – PRESS FROM 15th AUGUST

3rd Rock From The Pun is (probably) the first ever Edinburgh Fringe stand-up show created using AI. Everything in the show has been created by AI, the images, the music – but not the jokes.

What AI has to say about Darren: “As an AI, I don’t have personal experiences, but I am familiar with Darren Walsh. Darren Walsh is a British comedian known for his pun-based humor and one-liners, boasting a catalogue of 5056 jokes as of writing this. He has gained recognition for his performances in live comedy shows and on social media platforms, especially through his YouTube channel. In 2015, he won the prestigious Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Edinburgh Fringe award. Darren Walsh’s style of comedy often incorporates visual elements, animations, and wordplay, which appeals to a wide audience.”

Show keywords: AI, the universe, science, scientists, puns.  

‘The most pun you can have with your clothes on. Punbelievable!’
★★★★★ The Mirror

‘Unstoppable tsunami of stupid puns.’

Press release here.

Images here.

Images credit: Alexis Dubus

Footage here.

Bilal Zafar: IMPOSTER

Underbelly Bristo Square (Friesian) @ 3.50pm

2 – 28 Aug (not 14) – PRESS FROM 3rd August

As seen/heard on his very successful Twitch channel, BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4 and BBC Radio, the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee and New Act of the Year (NATYS) award winner, Bilal Zafar returns with the story about his housemate trying to get him arrested 5 times over 2 days.

Show keywords: marriage, mental health, sympathy, compassion, law, class, the housing crisis, the NHS, the cost of living crisis and scam artists.  

‘A personal and very funny story.’ **** David Pollock, Metro

‘Delivers big laughs.’ Brian Logan, The Guardian

‘Witty and absorbing…highly entertaining. I look forward to whatever Zafar cooks up next.’
Dominic Maxwell, The Times

Press release: here.

Images here.

Images credit: Leslie Byron Pitt