A MONTHLY entertainment showcase that attracted audiences and brought in acts from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to Bournemouth, is back for another year starting this weekend.

Mervyn Stutter, a comedian, satirical songwriter, actor, and scriptwriter also produces and hosts the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Show. The festival has been a regular fixture in Edinburgh since 1992, showcasing theatre, comedy, cabaret and dance.

Now Mervyn returns to the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe with his monthly showcase which starts again this weekend.

We caught up with Mervyn ahead of the new season of shows to find out what he has lined up...

How has a version of the Edinburgh review worked in Dorset? “When you have a lot of different types of show, it takes time to establish. For instance, the new season of shows is made up of music, comedy, theatre, cabaret and character comedy.

“What happens is that you start to build an audience and over time this starts to become recognised as a quality night out.

“All that I have asked is for people to trust me and I’ll bring the acts with whom I have built a solid relationship over the years.”

The 2019 season starts this Saturday, February 2 with Flanders & Swann. Why do you feel this is the ideal curtain-raiser for the new Pick Of The Fringe shows?

“This is a perfect Bournemouth show. I wanted to start the year with an audience pull around songs that go back to the days of dinner suited cabaret. To have a full house singing songs such as Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud is something we are all looking forward to.”

What are your personal highlights for 2019?

“Stand up comedienne Zoe Lyons is someone I have known for many years and the best comedienne out there.

“To see her career flourish has given me a great sense of fondness. She will be here at the Shelley on Saturday, March 2.

“Into April, we have a piece of theatre in Richard Parker, by Owen Thomas.

“When Owen performed at Pick Of The Fringe in Edinburgh, he then invited to the Hollywood Fringe and won a host of awards.

“He is resurrecting this story that is built around fate and coincidence.

“Musical cabaret takes centre stage on Saturday, May 4 with ShooShooBaby. Trained opera singers and a pianist who glam up in sequinned costumes sing watertight harmonies.

“We close the first half of the season with Tom Binns on Saturday June 1. One of the finest character comedians I have ever met.”

Mervyn adds: “This is my 28th year of Pick Of The Fringe and the premise has always been the same where I ask audiences to try something they may not have seen before.

“Being hosted in a true theatre that is evolving, helps to create a place called home. Following on from the success of last year, I am looking forward to the 2019 line up for everyone to enjoy.”

n Tickets for the Pick Of The Fringe from February are priced at £15 for each show.

Now you can buy March, April, May and June tickets in a special Pick Of The Fringe bundle for £50.

For more details, visit shelleytheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01202 413600.