Edinburgh Festival Planner: Three Shows to See Today

The Guardian / Brian Logan and Lyn Gardner

Bilal Zafar: Cakes
3.40pm, Just the Tonic at the Mash House (until 28 August)

Bilal Zafar won the prestigious New Act of the Year award earlier this year, after which you might expect he’d hit Edinburgh eager to show off his acclaimed standup chops. Instead, he makes his debut with a gentle PowerPoint show, telling the story – illustrated by screengrabs from Twitter – of how a fake identity he adopted online attracted the ire of the far right. The show’s charms arrive in a fairly low key: the Islamophobic e-kerfuffle he kicks up is a minor one, and there are no great surprises in the revelation that Twitter is permanently manned by idiots. But Zafar’s wry circumspection is well-judged, and the material cribbed from his online persecutors duly delivers some big laughs. BL

How (Not) to Live in Suburbia
4.50pm, Summerhall (until 28 August)

Annie Siddons turns personal disaster into art with witty, engaging satire that sends up both herself and the inhabitants of Twickenham as she succumbs to fiscal failure and professional paralysis in the leafy suburbs. Of course it’s not really about suburbia but about a corrosive, creeping loneliness and depression. It’s dark, but it’s also playful and inventive with a lovely Jane Austen-style leave-taking spoof and a brilliant scene in which she is evicted from the book club for making everyone else feel stupid. LG

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing
10pm, Gilded Balloon (until 29 August)

The one-person show about a celebrity is the stuff of the Edinburgh fringe but Rob Crouch’s account of the life of hell-raiser Reed – star of Women in Love, Oliver! and many far more forgettable British movies – is genuinely intelligent and thoughtful as it considers the pitfalls of fame and the dangers of falling for your own myth. Crouch is just phenomenal as Reed, a swaggering, fist-swinging mess of a man trapped in the crowd-pleasing image of his own making and so doomed to endlessly repeat himself. LG