Will Adamsdale (right) and Fraser Ayers star in 'Stuart: a Life Backwards'

My Edinburgh: Will Adamsdale, comedian/actor

Look, Edinburgh's insane, it doesn't make sense at all as a viable idea. If you try and understand it rationally, you're liable to end up swaying on a bench half way up Arthur's Seat, half-crazy. They should stop calling it the Edinburgh Fringe. There are fringes on the fringe and fringes on the fringes of the fringe. Sometimes it's brash and gaudy, other times handmade and naive and great. It's everything. It's maddening but beautiful. It is also – as a pal once said – all we've got.

Will Adamsdale and Fraser Ayers in Stuart - A Life Backwards

Edinburgh 2013: Stuart: A Life Backwards - Fraser Ayres gives an electrifying central performance

There is a stunning performance at the heart of this theatrical adaptation of Alexander Masters' award-winning biography. Fraser Ayres plays Stuart Shorter, a chaotic, garrulous homeless man who has spent his life fighting - abuse, muscular dystrophy, drug addiction, poverty.

Shortlist for the 33rd Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards in full

In a bumper year for comedy, the following shows have been nominated from a list of 578 eligible shows. Since the start of the Fringe the Panel has made 1,454 individual visits.

Mathew Baynton

My Edinburgh: Mathew Baynton - Why the Fringe is a good place to wear a gimp mask

Yesterday, in Edinburgh, I was walking alongside a lady wearing high heels and a gimp mask. Her, not me. No-one walking past batted an eyelid. She had no flyers in her hand or any evidence of being in a show. I think she’d worked out that Edinburgh in August is a great place to be if you want to dress up oddly and not get funny looks.

Max and Ivan: The Reunion

Edinburgh 2013: Max and Ivan: The Reunion - Ingeniously plotted and zingily executed

Sketch shows take one of two forms - a high-speed rattle through random gags or a narrative arc structured around more-or-less random gags. The latter can be tortuous, if not nonsensical but like Pappy's last year, Max and Ivan have hit upon the perfect vehicle for their sketch story this year. Their school reunion rom-com has plot and heart enough to stand alone but leaves space for plenty of playful messing around, too.

Ivo Graham

Edinburgh 2013: Ivo Graham: Binoculars - A very convincing set from this erudite comedian

Having won the So You Think You Are Funny award in 2009, at just 18 years old, Ivo Graham had previously seemed to me to be a vanilla poshboy comic. His debut show proves the contrary.

Bryony Kimmings and her niece Taylor in Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel

Edinburgh 2013: Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel - A bold, brilliant show from Bryony Kimmings

A grown woman and a nine-year-old girl, in matching lace-trimmed page-boy outfits and long blonde hair, perform a sexily choreographed disco dance to Jessie J in front of a glittery, woodland backdrop. It’s ridiculous and funny, both like a fairytale and very modern, and a bit unsettling: an accurate description of the whole of Bryony Kimmings’ show, performed with her little niece Taylor. It’s also wonderfully, heart-burstingly righteous.

Dance Derby. Scottish Opera and Company Chordelia

Edinburgh 2013: Dance Derby - An intelligent, touching show

Dance Derby is a tragedy, a look back at the desperation of the 1930s Depression. This dance marathon is a last chance for many of the couples in Kally Lloyd-Jones’ production for her own Company Chordelia and Scottish Opera. The jazz tunes are bright, but the competition is cruel.

Edinburgh 2013: There We Have Been - James Cousins' choreography is inspired by the novel Norwegian Wood

There We Have Been starts with dancer Lisa Welham apparently floating in space, her head and shoulders picked out by a spotlight, high above the stage. As the lights come up, we realise that Aaron Vickers is holding her up. For the whole of this long duet, an intense relationship drama, Welham literally never touches the ground.

Edinburgh 2013: Tig Notaro - It may be her Fringe debut, but this is a comedy masterclass

Almost exactly a year ago, the American comedian Tig Notaro walked out onto the stage at LA's Largo Theatre and announced that she had breast cancer. The ensuing set went viral and topped the Billboard comedy chart thanks largely to Louis CK who declared it to be one of a handful of "truly masterful performances" he had seen in his 27 years of comedy.

Radicalisation of Bradley Manning

Edinburgh 2013: The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning - Tim Price's play is a sympathetic portrait of the Wiki-leaker

“Wales is a radical country,” declare TV screens in the four corners of an Edinburgh school hall. And “Bradley Manning is Welsh” we are also told - as a definitive full-stop to a litany of descriptions of who and what kind of hero or traitor, dumb kid or torture-victim the Wiki-leaker is.

Oscar-nominated American actress and singer / songwriter Elizabeth McGovern, star of Downton Abbey

My Edinburgh: Elizabeth McGovern - Goodbye, Lady Cora, I'm all ready to rock the festival

On Saturday morning, one day after wrapping Season Four of Downton Abbey, I gently laid Lady Cora down, and put her  to bed for a while. (In a lovely Four Poster, His Lordship, securely by her side). I then packed my bags, and headed  to Edinburgh to perform with my  band "Sadie and The Hotheads". We have played with each other, on and off, for a decade, but this is the first time we have performed at the Fringe festival.

Dan Skinner

My Edinburgh: Dan Skinner on the wonderful, glorious, unholy mess that is the Fringe

The Edinburgh festival is like the Death Star. You can try and escape, but you are eventually, inevitably, dragged back in by its powerful magnetic force. I am preparing to ‘go up’ again, to use the industry parlance. I decided two years ago that I wouldn’t for a good long while, but I went up last year as a punter and I’m going up again this year to perform in a show called Classic Entertainment Starring Mr Winchester and Tommy! Since you’re asking. It’s on at The Pleasance at 8.20. Since you’re asking.

Banksy: The Room in the Elephant

Edinburgh 2013: Banksy: The Room in the Elephant - A self-referential take on a troublesome truth

Tachowa Covington lived in a water tank in the Hollywood hills for seven years; then British graffiti artist Banksy sprayed “this looks a bit like an elephant” on it, and he was thrown out: it’s valuable art now. This is the basic, if troublesome, truth - first reported in The Independent in 2011 - that Tom Wainwright’s play takes as its starting point.

Edinburgh 2013: Squally Showers - Like a low-budget Eighties soap opera, but more vacuous

There are glitter curtains and mullet wigs, an overhead projector and exercise video workouts. Welcome to the Eighties! Little Bulb, a young company of five actors, take us back the decade of greed and into the offices of a booming television company.

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