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Maths at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2019

As the hordes descend upon the city of Edinburgh for another August-ful of comedy, theatre, arts and culture, the question I’m sure you’re asking yourself is, ‘what about the maths?’ Zero problem: we’re here with a quick guide to some of the big pluses you’ll find in the Fringe Guide.

People We Know Who Are Great

Matt Parker: Humble Pi
Pleasance Dome (10 Dome), 8.20pm (1h) 16+, 2-26 Aug £12.50 (previews 31 Jul-1 Aug £7.50)

Aperiodipal and stand-up mathematician Matt Parker brings the show of his latest book (of the same name) to Edinburgh, sharing his favourite mathematical mistakes, from misplaced decimal points to combinatorial calamities – and the results, which vary from amusing to pretty serious. Truly a comedy of errors.

Kyle Evans

Maths Madness with Kyle D Evans
PBH’s Free Fringe @ Bar Bados (Room 7), 12pm (1h) 8+, 3-12 Aug (free, donation optional)

When he’s not teaching maths, superfriend of the site and 2019 Math-Off competitor Kyle D Evans is well known for playing mathematical songs on his guitar. For the Fringe, Kyle presents a family show containing stacks of audience participation and some mind-bending mathematical concepts.

Take a Risk logo

Timandra Harkness: Take a Risk
Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 11.15am (1h) 12+, 2-26 Aug £10 (previews 31 Jul-1 Aug £6)

Having previously brought an engineering comedy show, a neuroscience comedy show, and a comedy show about the mathematics of death, Timandra’s Fringe shows are a must for anyone mathematically minded. This time she’s aiming a probably not loaded pistol at the idea of risk, in a show that includes graphs and gambling, songs, jokes and electric shocks.

Not Strictly Maths But Still Great

Foxdog Studios

Foxdog Studios: Tomorrow’s Office
Heroes @ The Hive (The Big Cave), 5pm (1h) 18+, 1-25 Aug £5

IT rock ‘n’ roll superstars and Festival of the Spoken Nerd regular guests FoxDog Studios bring their latest inventions to share, including a musical mop, a souped-up sausage cannon and a pair of light-up bongo boots. Bring your phone to join in the fun.

Morgan & West

Morgan & West: Unbelievable Science
Assembly George Square (Gordon Aikman Theatre), 4.30pm (1h) 5+ (5-14), 2-25 Aug (not 21) £12.50 (previews 31 Jul-1 Aug £8)

Unbelievable Science is an interactive science show for the whole family, with live magical experiments. Magicians, time-travellers and all-round spiffing chaps Morgan & West secretly used to be proper scientists (I can also verify they’ve been known to maths occasionally), and now they’re bringing their knowledge to the stage.

Things We Found In The Brochure By Searching For The Word ‘Maths’ But We Don’t Really Know Anything About Them And I’ve Just Pasted In Their Blurb

Harry Baker: I am 10,000
Underbelly, Cowgate (Belly Laugh), 11.40am (1h) 8+, 1-24 Aug £11 (previews £6.50)

Mathematician-turned-World-Slam-Champion Harry Baker turns 10,000 days old, celebrating numbers, words and life itself. From winning his school’s Battle of the Bands competition with a Jay-Z maths homage, to his prime number poetry TED talk being watched by millions online, Harry’s love of language and logic has got him through literal marathons, seen him rap battle in front of Ice Cube, and now has him analysing the technical accuracy of So Solid Crew’s 21 seconds. He’s got 99 problems but maths ain’t one. 

Tom Cashman: XYZ
Underbelly Bristo Square (Clover), 8.10pm (1h) 16+, 2-25 Aug (not 13) £11.50 (previews 31 Jul-1 Aug £6.50)

Australian comedian Tom Cashman is bringing his latest stand-up show XYZ to the Fringe. It’s about maths, Italians and estate agents. Tom’s had a huge year – writing and featuring on the ABC’s Tonightly in Australia, until it was cancelled by the government for being too funny.

Blindingly Obvious
C Venues – C Cubed (Main Space), 9pm (50 mins) 12+, 1-26 Aug (not 13) £10.50

After an exciting year of nationwide festival debuts, Richard Wheatley returns to where it all began one year ago. Funny, fast and friendly, Richard mixes anecdotes from his unique life with off-the-cuff audience interactions for high energy hilarity. An hour with Britain’s funniest friendliest blind theoretical physicist turned award-winning radio newsreader and stand-up comedian is never dull, especially when he promises to keep the maths jokes to a minimum.

Not just comedy shows

Outside of the stand-up circuit, you might find yourself interested in this Introduction to Paper Folding workshop (White Stuff, 2nd floor workshop space, 1.30pm (2.5h), 18 & 21 Aug, £40). There’s also The Maths Magic Show (PBH’s Free Fringe @ CC Blooms (Venue 171), 12.30pm (55 mins) 8+, 3-25 Aug, free (donation optional)) featuring Jason Davison – a mathematical magician (mathemagician) who’s featured in some of the videos at the excellent mathematicalmagic.com – which promises some magic tricks to show your friends and an exciting new perspective on maths.

If you’re a fan of puzzles, I can personally recommend the Agent November Escape room games (31 Jul-25 Aug, The Stand’s New Town Theatre (Committee Room), various times 8+, £15) – hefted up from their usual home in London for the month, and with three different games to keep you busy (Major X Ploe Shun, Robyn Yew, and Murder Mr E).

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