This is the biggest cultural extravaganza on the planet bar none. For you ticket buyers that can result in the fear that the show in the room next to the one you're sitting is where the really big laughs, dramas and wonders are to be found.

Meanwhile for the thousands of performers in town the main fear is that the show in the room next to the one you're performing in is where the really big laughs, dramas and wonders are to be found. Though for Fringe stand-ups, there are plenty of other worries to be dealing with too. As Sarah Campbell explains in her top five Edinburgh worries. Click here to read the column.
And so, while the Edinburgh Fringe officially kicks off on Friday with an opening address at Fringe Central – the deliverer of which will be revealed later today – the world's largest festival actually gets underway this morning as various Fringe venues open for business with shows galore in preview.

Some of those venues stage official launches today too, with Greenside seemingly the first to do the official press launch thing at their new base on Nicolson Square. Just The Tonic, the Free Festival and the Assembly empire also have launch events today, the latter the customary gala show over there at the Assembly Hall.

As the venues open, you will also be able to pick up your copy of the ThreeWeeks Preview Edition, which has already been delivered direct to thousands of homes across Edinburgh, and which will be sitting in our blue stands across the Fringe.

Check it out for interviews with the likes of Zoe Lyons, Susan Calman, Dan Schreiber, actors Apphia Campbell and Lucy Benson-Brown, director Ramin Grey and choreographer Natasha Gilmore, plus a flood of show recommendations from Co-Editor Caro Moses and past winners of the ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards.

As the venues open, the ThreeWeeks review team will also be out there taking in early performance of shows. Look out for those reviews going online here every day from next Tuesday, and in the Week One edition of the ThreeWeeks magazine next Wednesday.
Time for some more comedy tips everybody? How about three top sketch troupes for your enjoyment? Here's ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses with some more recommendations.

Clever Peter (pictured)
Our team have always been fond of the antics of award-winning and critically acclaimed sketch team Clever Peter, who you may have heard on Radio 4. If you listen to Radio 4. If you don't listen to Radio 4 and are thus far unacquainted with this particular troupe, then you should seek this lot out. They're doing two shows, too, so you've got no excuse. The first, at the Pleasance, is called 'The Dream Factory', the second, 'Free For All!' is free (see what they did there?) and sounds like it's a mash-up of some old and some new material.
Clever Peter: Free for All!, Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, from 31 Jul until 24 Aug.
Clever Peter: The Dreams Factory, Pleasance Courtyard, from 31 Jul until 24 Aug. Tickets here.

The Grandees
I've been aware of The Grandees for a long time, but never actually saw them until last year, when I ventured out in the late evening on my own (this has been quite a rare occurrence these last couple of years), watched their show, laughed and smiled, and wondered why I hadn't made the effort before. You can take a look at my review on the website for further proof of how funny and engaging they are. Or you can just trust me and go see one of the two shows they are doing this year (another with two shows... is this a thing with my favourite sketch comedy troupes this year...? Did they get together and organise it?)
The Grandees: BaBoom!m Underbelly, Cowgate, ​from 31 Jul until 24 Aug. Tickets here.
The Grandees: A Creepshow, Heroes @ The Hive, from 31 Jul until 24 Aug.

Ladies Live Longer: Volunteerology
I have no scientific proof of this, but I feel as though sketch comedy is an area of entertainment irritatingly dominated by white male trios. So it's good to nominate a female duo (two out of three ain't bad, I suppose) to be one of your viewing choices this August. They came to my attention because certain members of a previous ThreeWeeks team became enamoured of them, then the reviewer we sent in adored their show and gave them a resoundingly glowing review and a 5/5 rating. So frankly, they must be good.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, from 6 Aug until 22 Aug. Tickets here.
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