FRINGE PREVIEW – Helen Arney’s Songs for Modern Loving (Just The Tonic @ The Caves)

7th – 29th August (not the 17th)
Just the Tonic at The Caves, 7.35-8.35pm

Helen Arney

Helen Arney


It looks like the ukulele could be the instrument of the Fringe this year. Musical comedian Helen Arney brings hers – and a great singing voice – to Edinburgh for her first full show next month.

Songs for Modern Loving will feature Helen pondering the complexities of finding true love in today’s fast-moving world. A favourite of the festival circuit, Helen will be arriving at the Fringe fresh from the Latitude festival with her collection of bittersweet and engaging songs.

Based in London, where she runs a twice-monthly comedy night called the London Air-Accordion Society, Helen’s credentials – and her ukulele – equip her well to amuse and entertain at Just the Tonic in August. She will also be appearing in James Campbell’s Comedy and Songs For Kids at the Assembly, where she’ll be accompanying James on the piano.

Here, Helen tells us a little bit more about the show and her plans for the Fringe.

Tell us a little bit about your show – where’s it happening, what’s it about, why should people come to see it?

It’s my first hour of unusually funny and original songs about the highs, lows (and really lows) of looking for that perfect someone. At the Caves at 7.35pm every night, I’ll be playing an electric ukulele like you’ve never heard it before… You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll snigger like a teenager and one of you will perform a solo on miniature harmonica. Fact.

How will you be promoting your show?

Handing out flyers with just the words “Lovely show”. Some would say it’s not the best way to market a comedy show. But if you’re not interested in seeing a lovely show, well I don’t think you deserve to find out how funny it is as well.

What are you most looking forward to about coming back to Edinburgh?

The hills.

And what are you hoping for (this year)?

I’m doing 3 shows a day, so shins of steel by September is my aim.

If money was no object, what publicity stunt would you do to promote your show?

Hire the Edinburgh EICC and book Ben Folds and Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy to headline with my arrangements of songs for piano duet and gospel choir. I’ll do the support slot.

Who else are you planning or hoping to see?

Nat Luurtsema “In My Head I’m A Hero”, Broderick Chow “Easy Tiger”, and Tom Goodliffe in the Pleasance Comedy Reserve. We were all in a stand-up show together in 2008, the now-legendary “Homework for Heroes” They’re all brilliant, and all enjoy a good game of potato conkers. Ask any of us how to play it and we’ll give you a demonstration *.

Also Josie Long, Sarah Bennetto, Grainne Maguire, Tara Flynn, Bridget Christie, Charlotte Young and Roisin Conaty have mind-bendingly good solo shows this year.

(* please bring your own potatoes, string, protective goggles and public liability insurance)

What do you have planned for after the Fringe?

Performing at End of the Road Festival, a month of laryngitis then 2 weeks on a beach in Bali.

Sum up your show in three words for us:

Not just ukuleles…

You can buy tickets for Songs for Modern Loving on the Fringe website

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