THE EDINBURGH Fringe Festival is with us and this year, more than ever comedy is king.

Yet, this year, more than ever, stand-up comedy rules supreme, and it’s to be expected. Not only is the nation on the search for post-Brexit referendum, negative interest rates, pre-President Trump laughs, it’s on the search for cheap laughs.

That is, recession laughs, shows which are relatively cheap to stage.

There are less of the big budget production comedy plays with casts of double figures on show this year because producers simply can’t afford to take the chance on bankrolling them.

The costs of advertising at the Fringe, the cost of hall rental haven’t gone down, but the money audiences have to spend has. As a result, your laughs are more likely to be delivered by one man/woman up there on stage.

That’s why you won’t get a full cast of One Foot In The Grave, however you will get Richard Wilson re-incarnating his character in I Don’t Believe It: An Evening With Victor Meldrew, at the Assembly Roxy.

You won’t get Alistair McGowan turning out with an ensemble TV cast but his 12th Impressions show will see him perform solo, offering up the likes of Andy Murray, John Bishop, and “football’s man of the moment” Harry Kane at the Gilded Balloon Teviot.

There won’t be a full cast of BBC Scotland success story Burnistoun, however Robert Florence and Iain Connell will offer a full complement of comedic characters, also at the Gilded Balloon Teviot.

It’s not a criticism of the Fringe that comedy is appearing in concentrated form. How can fans of Arthur Smith object at the idea of seeing his Mindlessness – A Beginner’s Guide, in which you know he will satirise the trend delightfully, at the Pleasance Courtyard.

Or those of Al Murray, Pub Landlord with his Let’s Go Backwards Together. It doesn’t matter if many don’t appreciate his character isn’t actually real, or xenophobic, and don’t see his post-Brexit challenge of mapping out a future “for our beautiful country” to be stand up at its most Brechtian. They like him regardless.

That’s not to say however the Fringe will be devoid of full-blown productions. There are still plays to be seen such as Twenty Seven Wagons Full of Cotton by Tennessee Williams, at Greenside, Infirmary Street.

There are still great ensemble pieces to be enjoyed such as Radio Active, the stage version of the successful eighties Radio Four satire, featuring Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood, Michael Fenton Stevens at the Pleasance Courtyard.

You can see take the kids to see the classic musical Bugsy Malone, at the Famous Spiegeltent.

And there is still the quirky, the off-the-wall theatre that the Fringe is synonymous with such as Luke Kempner’s Judi Dench Broke My Heart in which Kempner follows up his delightful The Only Way is Downton with a show about his celebrity-assisted quest to marry Dame Judi.

And who would not wish to see Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, with the internationally-acclaimed actor turning out to sing the likes of Keane’s Someone To Rely On and tell funny stories?

But just don’t expect Cleopatra-sized casts.