Published: Fri 25 Aug 23

Success for Soho shows at Fringe First and Edinburgh Comedy Awards

Four Soho Theatre shows have been recognised at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s most prestigious comedy and theatre awards, this week.

Judges announced that Urooj Ashfaq’s Oh No! and Bill O’Neill’s The Amazing Banana Brothers are on their shortlist for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The award is a springboard for outstanding comedy performers, many of whom have since become household names.

Urooj Ashfaq, a trailblazing stand-up comedian from Mumbai, has been shortlisted for the award in her UK debut. In her taboo-breaking, intensely likeable show, she reflects on cultural differences, her experiences in therapy and her parents’ divorce. She is one of the six South Asian acts we have brought to the Fringe this year through Soho Theatre India

Urooj said the nomination was “surreal” and she “can’t wait to be back in Soho” for a one-week run from 30 October. Book tickets here.

The Amazing Banana Brothers is directed by the 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Best Newcomer Award winner Natalie Palamides, whose winning show LAID was also produced with Soho Theatre. Bill’s Fringe hit explores loss, failure and masculinity through 1,000 death-defying banana slips. Despite sold-out shows, he remains “surprised that people showed up”. He returns to Soho for a nine-day run, from 7 September. Book tickets here.

The Best Newcomer award winner will be announced at a ceremony on Saturday.

The Scotsman also awarded Soho production Ben Target: LORENZO and co-production Strategic Love Play their major Fringe First Award this week, which celebrates exceptional new writing in theatre. With Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s megahit Fleabag a previous winner, the award has a track record for unearthing future industry giants.

LORENZO was written by comedian Ben Target and directed by the late Adam Brace (Age is a Feeling; Liz Kingsman: One Woman Show; Alex Edelman: Just for Us). It is a life-affirming story about death, following Ben’s experience as the live-in carer for his uncle. He said the award “feels like magic, but the good kind – not the stuff magicians do.” Ben also paid tribute to Adam, who is “still here in the stories we share”.

His show will return to Soho Theatre for a three-week run, from 27 September. Book tickets here.

Strategic Love Play was written by Miriam Battye, and co-produced by Paines Plough, Soho Theatre and Belgrade Theatre, in association with Landmark Theatres. The sharp two-hander interrogates modern dating, and what we really talk about, when we talk about love. Miriam said: “I’m very very unrelaxed about this – and delighted that ten years after I brought my first show here, I’ve won a Fringe First. This is a seriously personal play and to be rewarded for this level of ridiculous oversharing is thrilling and probably very healthy.”

Her play will return to Soho Theatre from 6 September, for a two-week run. Book tickets here.