Jamie MacDonald is a Glaswegian born-and-bred wise guy whose
biggest problem isn’t the fact he can’t see, but the people he meets on his
travels. With a sharp wit, relaxed and charming attitude and great stories to
boot, MacDonald is a comedian not to forget in a hurry. His forty-minute set,
That Funny Blind Guy, is a real joy to watch.
Taking us through his big trip to London after winning a
radio competition, MacDonald embraces multimedia as a means of verifying his
tale. With astute observations running from porn and taxi drivers to guide dogs
and the inhabitants of Leith, MacDonald’s set has people roaring with laughter
Empathetic and warm without appearing overly sentimental,
MacDonald is a relatable stage presence and manages to instantly get his
audience on side. While at times the sheer downward trajectory of his London-bound
ventures makes it seem slightly awkward to keep laughing at his misfortune, the
lasting sentiment of MacDonald’s finale gives a lasting impression of his zest
for life and humour in the face of misery.
For a free show, this is unmissable and a joy to watch.
That Funny Blind Guy, White Horse, 00.15
Those arriving to see Piff the Magic Dragon expecting a man in drag might be disappointed to find a man in a dragon. But doubters will soon be won over.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:20
The stage has a small table, a photo of a young boy with his grandfather, an old armchair and a rug. A very quaint, familiar scene not too dwarfed by the stage. Suddenly, an informal and friendly interview rings out around the room: questions between a young boy (Tom) and his grandfather, Cecil.
Clearly a natural at winning over an audience, David Morgan creates a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere from the minute you enter the (quite modest) room in which he’s performing – he greets every audience member as they arrive, getting the banter going before the show even begins. His friendliness isn’t the least bit contrived, and is perfectly in fitting with his brand of amicable, genuine and immensely likeable comedy.
Inspired by the news story of a supposed lion-sighting in Essex last year, which in fact turned out to be a large house cat called Teddy Bear, performance poet Luke Wright knew the title of this year’s Fringe show before writing a word of it. Framed by a poem in which indignant campers repeatedly proclaim their sighting of ‘a fucking lion,’ the show is both witty and poignant, entertaining throughout and charismatically-performed.
Sean McLoughlin is beautifully cynical, like a Labour generation Dylan Moran, whining and moaning about his wasted degree and working in call centres, whilst always making it funny. He manages to do this while remaining a really likable guy, turning his personal angst into a shared experience; talking to his audience honestly and never once making the story feel insincere or scripted.
Four Screws Loose hurtle through songs, sketches, and the occasional dance routine with a remarkable energy and slickness, jumping from a Les Mis-inspired song about supermarkets, to a woman obsessed with cat videos, to their grand finale Disney parody. The audience goes with them easily as they don wigs and use props to give us a show that is mostly sketch comedy, but with a little more meat.
When the comedian emerges before the show to greet the queuing people, taking a roll-call and vowing to remember every single name, it’s always a sign that the imminent hour of stand-up might not be the most conventional. In the case of Jonny Donahoe, however, it’s that personable ease with which he glides through the material that makes him stand out from the crowd.
Now appearing in their 33rd Fringe, the Newsrevue team once again produce an outstanding piece of satire that leaves the audience begging for more hilarious quips and sketches.
It is often said that all comedians secretly want to be in a band. This year, a pattern has emerged that challenges this belief. It would appear that all comedians actually want to be a rapper. Admittedly, this is a half-baked theory, but I’ve seen a suspicious amount of shows this year where the act has given the whole hip-hop thing a jolly good try. Gordon Southern is one of those acts. He’s no Kanye. He admitted that he’s a sweaty forty-something year old man vainly trying to impress the ‘kids’, and it’s a valiant, if futile, effort. Thankfully the rap only takes up a few minutes of the hour, and the rest of it is much funnier.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:51
If there’s one thing of which Tig Notaro is not afraid, it’s audience interaction. I suppose having kicked breast cancer’s ass into remission, a bit of give-and-take with an Edinburgh audience ain’t no big thing. But the American comic builds a good deal of time into her act to discuss spelling, laughter and anything else that happens to crop up with the crowd.
The windows are open and the blinds are down. The room is dark but breezy, and atmospheric noises from the adjacent street (buses, car alarms, reversing-sirens) begin their attempts to drown out the resident comedian, Mike Wozniak. He handles it deftly, though, and the spark of wit to riff on his less-than-ideal surroundings sets the tone for the rest of the show.
The press release for this show claims that this is a reflective, uplifting piece that tackles the question, what shapes a man’s life? Hughes' answer may not uplift you as much as he’d like. His new Fringe hour seemed to be shaped predominantly by failure and regret. There was plenty of wistful nostalgia; stories about growing up, particularly those sticky adolescent years. There was even some mild observational comedy about the state of today’s youth that touched a chord, but overall there was a mellow, almost sombre manner that could be off-putting.
One of Edinburgh Festival Magazine’s Ones To Watch, Joseph Morpurgo’s Free Fringe show is stupendous.
Lucy Porter is once again her utterly charming self, this time bringing into the mix the palpable North/South divide in the UK. Having always wanted to be a Northerner, although she was born in Croydon, Porter lived in Manchester when she moved there for university. Opening gigs, Porter would find herself saying she was from Manchester because people found her funnier. All was going well until she went to Lancaster and they told her to fuck off.
The Rubberbandits: awkward rap comedy for the soul. With gems like ‘Roisin, I Wanna Fight Your Father’ and ‘Spastic Hawk,’ these two Limerick lads will have your gut sore from laughter. Sporting chicken-like dance moves and plastic bags serving as masks (this writer notices a Boots bag), these goofball gangsters keep character to side-splitting perfection. They insist they are not a comedy act but are, in fact, “hardcore gangsta rappers.”
Last Updated on Monday, 19 August 2013 21:06
Prigs, prudes and people with weak hearts beware of ‘Briefs: The Second Coming’. This outrageously camp cabaret full of x-rated clowning, disturbing mime and genuinely awe-inspiring gymnastics is at once raucously funny and satisfyingly shocking.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:50
Charmian Hughes’ autobiographical performance has potential to wow, but a combination of poor delivery and a relatively uninspiring narrative makes one think that perhaps an hour could have been better spent.
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 21:12
The nation's favourite Northern comedian takes to the stage of one of the Fringe’s ‘comfier venues’ in his new show for his 2013 tour, ‘First World Problems’.
Irish comedian Aisling Bea is last year’s winner of So You Think You’re Funny? in 2012. Selling out fast for her debut show, ‘C’est la Bea’, it’s clear to see that Bea’s not keen to rest on her laurels. She works damn hard for this show.
An incredibly long queue runs almost the length of West Nicolson Street for this exceptional free show. Entirely improvised every day, Austentatious runs on audience's suggested titles for lost Austen novels. The talented cast are surprisingly adept at twisting these titles - often somewhat erroneous ones - to Jane Austen's conventions.
Last Updated on Monday, 19 August 2013 20:42
After a 20-minute delay due to what he would later attribute to the venue’s preparation for ‘something after that involves a large tank of water’, David Sedaris took the stage and was welcomed by an excited and energetic audience on Friday night. Dressed in a striped pale pink and white button-up shirt and floral tie, the renowned humorist wasted little time and quickly delved into his first story of the evening.
Mat Ricardo is an extremely affable gentleman juggler, with a smart three-piece suit and a stage full of props that wouldn’t look out of place in a fine restaurant or bar. From the start he has the audience side by admitting that he may not be able to do every trick first time, bringing a laugh but also setting up the show as an honest and relaxed hour. And that is more than ok, because while his skills are highly impressive, this show is less about his personal skills and more about the art of juggling itself. Mat takes us back to the heyday of vaudeville with stories of famous jugglers, tells secrets of street performance and even reveals his own creative process, making the show informative as well as exciting.
With free Fringe shows, there can be a tendency to expect little and then consider anything of merit a bonus. “Surname and Surname”, however, is testament to the unexpected gems to be found at zero cost, and will certainly raise my expectations for future free shows.
Foil, Arms and Hog, despite their winsomely youthful looks, offer up a surprisingly traditional hour of Irish comedy. Here you’ll find sketches that might be a little bit naughty, a little bit sly, but are ultimately good-hearted and all about the craic.
The Masters of Drip offer a surreal sketch experience that ultimately ends with the audience pondering why something so enjoyable would ever be free.
Meet the DWAGS, the wives and girlfriends of those generously proportioned, beer-swilling athletes, the professional darts players. This is a comic play about the great women behind the great sportsmen, and all the bitchiness and deal-breaking that can occur behind the scenes. The four women claim that all the DWAGS support one another and have each others back. Most of the comedy comes from the fact that this is plainly not the case.
Tom Stade is an Edinburgh Fringe stalwart, and this show is billed as a kind of ‘best of’, promising both new material and old classics from his career. His honest and raw stand up style is what you’d expect from a comic so long in the business, and he discusses everything from the reliable nature of travel comedy to personal family stories.
Alex Horne presents many lies in this show, the first being that he is dull and has nothing to talk about so needs the help from few special guests in order to entertain. This is far from the truth as he is a fantastic stand up comedian and the concept of the show is odd but hilarious. Horne has brilliant comic timing thoughout, and keeps the audience engaged and laughing.
Last Updated on Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:38
With her new show, Eclairious, comedienne Jenny Eclair demonstrates exactly the minimum level of competence you’d expect from such an established comic, and not an iota more. It’s essentially an hour of Loose Women meets The Inbetweeners, but with less originality.
Last Updated on Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:28
Performed entirely under the persona of a failing comic with delusions of grandeur, named Donny Donkins, Barry Castagnola’s new show is just about interesting enough to compensate for its many flaws. There were audience walk-outs, frequent technical errors and segments altogether lacking in cohesion, yet I was still strangely intrigued throughout.
The Red Bastard offers an incredible exploration of bouffon clownery with an oddly life affirming message, which leaves an audience begging for another dose of the Bastard.
Jonny and the Baptists are a duo with a host of Radio 4 appearances and award nominations, which seems to have confirmed them as 'rising stars' of that sometimes tricky in-between genre of comedy-music. They're also very, very funny.
Alexei Sayle was voted the 17th funniest comedian in a Channel 4 list of the top 100. This high-ranking number, according to his wife, is due to a mythos that has been built up around him because no one has ever actually seen him do stand up. For twenty or so years he hasn't been on the circuit, and it looks as though the venue itself hasn’t changed in twenty years, either.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 12:15
Spinning out their short comedy film into an hour, GibbensMagnusJones, aka The BoonTownTwats offer up Don't Drop the Egg, a sketch show built around three friends who play rugby for the fictional Clapham Falcons. Set in the changing rooms, they incorporate a few members of the audience into the action buy making them honoury teammates.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 11:45
Dancing along to a song
about vaginas, Tanyalee Davies sits centre stage, smiling as the audience trails
into the room. It makes a nice change for a comedy set to start with something
other than a spotlight on a lonely microphone. It gives the feeling of a
confident and unabashed performer; which is certainly what Tanyalee is.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 22:29
Even if you aren’t aware of her stand-up, or her nomination two years ago for Best Newcomer at the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, fans of Austentatious will recognise Cariad Lloyd immediately, despite the fact that she isn’t wearing a bonnet. For this all-too-brief run of shows, she joins Paul Foxcroft in an improvised sketch show that takes as its jumping-off point a simple audience suggestion: this time it’s ‘penguins’.
Gemma Whelan, best known for her role as Yara Greyjoy (the ball-breaking sister of Theon) on Game of Thrones, offers us the complete opposite with her character Chastity Butterorth. She is the very pattern of posh, a little eccentric and is dressed in that a stereotypically conservative manner. Contrasting with this persona she mainly talks about her drug taking antics, sex and her husband.
Loud and defiant, David Trent arrives at this year’s Fringe pushing upwards at the weight of considerable expectation heaped on his shoulders. Last year’s show, Spontaneous Comedian, attracted more stars than a ninja’s assassination target, and saw Trent nominated for Best Newcomer at the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. While Trent acknowledges that this is his ‘difficult second album’, he seems determined to force his way through and prove the hype is not just that.
That Pair, (previously The Silky Pair) return to the Edinburgh Fringe and the Caves with an incredible performanc: a pummelling, high-octane laughter-fest from start to finish. The sketch-duo of Katharine and Lorna are left to mourn their recently deceased manager Leanne in a series of sketches and songs. They dip in and out of new characters, woven into the life of their beloved Leanne, to an audience who were really up for it and were duly rewarded.
Chris Coltrane stands up on stage, no mic, notes in his hand, and this writer thought she’d already had him figured out. Anything but ordinary, Chris Coltrane takes a big step outside the sphere of general comedy, terming himself ‘the thinking man’s Stephen Fry’ along the way.
Colin Hoult’s Characthorse welcomed this writer into Hoult’s scizophrenic wonderland of characters the moment she stepped through the door. Patrick Stewart opens the show, informing you he is, in fact, Sir Patrick Stewart and “hold your belly.” And when I say ‘Patrick Stewart’ I mean Colin Hoult before he is interrupted by another of his myriad of mental characters. Although Hoult can’t seem to ever stop interrupting himself, Characthorse is a deliciously demented romp through a strangely affecting narrative of a young Hoult trying to save his mother from “Bill”, in truth being bills, the bane of every adult experience.
Davis stepped onto the stage and smiled at the audience: a big, genuine grin that made me like him immediately. He told us that his stand up set this year is a personal one, talking about his relationship with his girlfriend. Half of the audience perked up; the other half sank further into their seats, looking a little disappointed. But actually, Davis’ set had something for everyone, especially as he began to chart the demise of his 7-year relationship, which was apparently triggered by his two-year obsession with a video game: Football Manager.
With a title like that, you won’t be surprised to hear that this show contains a veritable torrent of bleak and desolate material. Refreshingly, though, there is no sweet end to the story, or some sort of redemptive arc to send everyone home with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. No, this is misanthropy and bitterness writ large, and is all the funnier for it. Admittedly, this kind of humour may not appeal to the casual comedy audience, but those seeking laughs from the darker, weirder end of the spectrum will find much to enjoy here.
Following the death of her husband, Annabelle (Joanna Tope) enlists one of his former employees, Jim Dick (Scott Fletcher), to help her “understand” her husband’s language, ‘kens’, ‘cunts’ and all. This isn’t groundbreaking work (revolutions were rarely begun so early in the morning), but it’s a pleasure to watch an unlikely friendship develop between the sixty something RP Annabelle and the foulmouthed Scot Jim. Both Tope and Fletcher seem to have a lot of fun over the course of the play’s taut forty-five minutes. The length is exactly right, actually, and, for those who aren’t morning people, the time of day is just about justified by a complimentary breakfast.
Though Chris Martin's 2013 Fringe show has only just begun its run, there's already an extra slot added, so he must be doing something right. The best of his outlandish and surreal observations reminded me of a pre-tv Russell Howard, comparing a pug to a 'furry shoe' and puzzling over how people who like baths are basically trying to go to bed in the shower.
The irony of Eastend Cabaret’s departing song ‘Danger Wank’, a light hearted ode to clandestine masturbation, was not lost on me but, due to having been subjected to the most excruciatingly awkward hour of my life sat next to a suspiciously vibrating bloke who had obviously been lured in by the show’s 18+ rating, I was unable to see the funny side.
For anyone who watched 90s American children’s show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Caroline Rhea will be immediately recognisable as Aunt Hilda. Those who didn’t can bet that they’ll be picked out from the crowd at her self-titled show to be given a full debriefing.
To me, acts in the main hall of the EICC would be the ‘headliners of the Fringe’ if there was such an accolade. They're the ones that sell out and get the big laughs. There are certainly many big laughs to be had at Jimeoin’s show and it’s mainly down to his face.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 21:26
Gary Delaney 2: This Time It's Not Personal sees the titular comic hammer the audience with a barrage of quick paced one liners, but is not for the easily offended.
Valdemar Pustelnik presents his opinions on the world. Some of these opinions are darkly humorous and worth hearing. The problem is - for the majority of the time - they're not delivered with enough skill to raise the laughs.
Felicity Ward rushes on stage after making her own announcement over blaring hip hop music, and tells us her job is ridiculous. And it’s hard not to agree as the show continues with her playing with loop pedals and autotune apps, but the cleverness of this show hides in its blatancy. She leads the audience gently to reach the true heart of the show, her own anxieties, using setups and devices to plant seeds early on so that the concept of the show never once feels forced upon us.
Charming, infectiously enthusiastic and sporting new glasses that make him look like a poet, Iain’s show revolves around the life changing commitment he has made by purchasing a house in London with his girlfriend. Comparing this new London life with his love for Scotland and Edinburgh, Iain tells us how much he misses casual swearing and the unique way of using nicknames abusively compared to a fairly anonymous London.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:22
Film used to have its own niche within the Fringe, but unfortunately that seems to have fallen by the wayside somewhat in recent years. Thankfully comedian Chris Aitken has put together an hour-long bill that offers some of the best underground short comedy films you’re likely to see this year, in the comfortable and mercifully air-conditioned surroundings of Sportsters bar, just next to Waverley Station.
There is no getting away from the fact that improv can be a risky proposition for both artist and audience. A low energy, or worse overly cocky, crowd can reduce the quickest of performers to cheap one-liners and a desperate rush to just get the whole thing over with. Thankfully Abandoman, aka Irish rapper Rob Broderick and his band, are faster than Usain Bolt when it comes to crafting a cunning line.
Somewhere between 3 and 5 stars
Oh really, what is this room I’ve been sequestered in? It’s so sterile and corporate, it feels like the prime location for a meeting on the re-branding of a teeth-flossing company, which is a shame because John Gordillo’s show, which transpires after the hour, is a lovely intimate affair in the discourse of human connection and the false connection major brands try so eagerly to assume.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:03
Stewart Lee has talked aplenty about alternative comedy and the importance of supporting it, yet when I watched the recording of his Comedy Central programme, I was left scratching my head, asking which part of the show could really be called alternative? Alternative comedy can be used these days as an almost dirty word for pigeonholing something, marking it as an act that is too hard to understand. Or, thankfully, in the case of Mister Susan, just stupidly childish, feel-good, whimsical fun that adds to the eclectic nature of what the Fringe has to offer.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 10:33
From the team that brought you 2009’s Fringe hit The Origin of Species, here is a musical comedy about another bright light of science, Albert Einstein. If you’re lucky, Mr Einstein may come out to shake your hand while you’re waiting in the queue, and what a jolly man he is.
Bo Burnham keeps telling his audience that we hate how moody and introspective he is on stage, but it is very clear that is untrue. From the opening mocking dance number in red satin trousers, to stories about frogs, and songs from the perspective of God; no matter what Bo does, his genius shines through, and we love it.
Tom Craine spends most of his life feeling like an idiot. Surprising, for someone who can count Mock the Week amongst his writing credits and name-drop the likes of Josh Widdecombe and Russell Howard into a set. But this declaration at the start of his show makes me instantly warm to him. Along with everyone else it seems, given that one man near the back punches the air.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:52
Brighton sketch troupe The Noise Next Door have sold out an astonishing
five Fringes already - a feat that seems incredible for such
fresh-faced lads. Luckily, the fact that they specialise in improv means
that they can keep things interesting for the sixth year in a row. This
year, they present the backstage shenanigans at ‘legendary’ venue the
Soundhouse, where mayhem and mystery are always a quick scene-change
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 17:29
As Lost Voice Guy, Lee Ridley’s fast and filthy mind satirises the preconceptions surrounding his disability to great effect. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Ridley is dependent on the us of an iPad to communicate with his audience. However, in Ridley’s hands this never seems like anything less than the most appropriate and effective vehicle for his killer sense of humour.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:51
Anyone who shares my love of classic Disney movies is OK by me, and Nathaniel Metcalfe is a member of that gang. Endearingly nerdy, Metcalfe enthusiastically takes us, in a very structured way (something he admits he likes to do right from the start) through his childhood and student years, a time of his life he spent watching A LOT of television.
With material as vague and varied as the title would
suggest, Ian Smith’s “Anything” succeeds in providing a quite brilliant hour of
comedy, and one that will surely elevate him to Fringe favourite status.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:00
I have to admit that I haven’t followed the career of Simon Brodkin, aka Lee Nelson, too closely since he stormed the Fringe several years ago with his selection of comedy characters. I’ve seen occasional bits of his BBC TV shows and laughed, but I obviously hadn’t seen any of his latest series, as I was completely unaware of the fact that he performs in full facepaint as a stereotyped African priest, with no clear sense of irony in sight. But more on that later.
Colin Hoult's Characthorse welcomes you into Hoult's schizophrenic wonderland of characters the moment you step through the door. Patrick Stewart opens the show, informing you he is, in fact, Sir Patrick Stewart and to "hold your belly". When I say 'Patrick Stewart', I mean Colin Hoult before he is interrupted by another of his myriad of mental characters. Although Hoult cant ever seem to stop interrupting himself, Characthorse is a deliciously demented romp through a strangely affecting narrative of a young Hoult, trying to save his mother from "Bill". In truth, this means 'bills', the bane of every adult experience.
I have to confess, this reviewer once thought Seann Walsh overrated - but this show has completely changed my mind. Walsh is now better than ever, delivering with casual ease this show of comedy genius.
Nadia Kamil's less-than-conventional routine provides an interesting insight into the - sometimes confusing - realm of alternative comedy. Through an interesting array of attempts to engage the audience, Kamil is able to create an an intriguingly funny, albeit haphazard, show.
Sandi Toksvig can no longer recall just how many times she's played on the Fringe. Cutting her teeth at the tender age of 21, she was part of the first (and, it should be noted, only) all-women Footlights troupe. Now, three children and a wealth of experience later, Toksvig stands before us to tell us of her life.
Dana Alexander brings a slice of Canadian humour to this year's Fringe festival. Alexander's hour-long set is a look back at her life with a whiff of nostalgia along the way. She mixes her live performance with pre-prepared video slideshows, which she has dubbed.
'Magic and jokes - what a deal,' Firman remarks, somewhat self-deprecatingly, yet concisely summing up what his show excels at; namely, the seamless blending of quality magic and stand-up comedy. It is a joy to watch. The show is quick-paced and well-timed, so there is never a lag in the entertainment, and the tricks are consistently impressive, performed with the excellent showmanship necessary to carry off some quite classic magic (think card tricks and needle-swallowing) in 2013.
You'd think an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe would find it difficult to warm to an intellectually arrogant, self-proclaimed boarding school boy with a penchant for historic board games, but Ivo Graham is, well, surprisingly likeable. It just takes a little while to get to know him.
and a half
The formula for Lee Kern’s show is fantastic; a mission to
be re-tweeted by a famous person and accepted into the elite folds of Twitter
stardom. As an audience, we are on his side and want him to succeed, and this
is true of his comedy as well, unfortunately he misses the mark a bit.
Combing vintage material with new work, Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens bring to life a well-crafted homage to the famous British comic double act, Morecambe and Wise.
Michael Che is far better than three stars, but he was just too cool and laidback to show it at times in this one hour show.
It's not for nothing that we chose this comedic legend to be our magazine cover this year. Ed Byrne has hit 41 and, with that, the ground running. Packing out one of the largest venues on the Fringe every night, dressed in a purple suit, he seems born anew and eager to tell his tales.
Dan Cook: Community Service is a wild, one-man sketch show, full of big laughs and surprises.
With writing credits such as 8 out of 10 Cats, Russell
Howard’s Good News and The Last Leg
on top of his own politically-based comedy show in London, it’s no wonder that
Forde’s performance in this year’s Fringe festival runs as smooth as silk. He
brings a confidence and energy to political satire that gives him an
authorative air and makes it hard to disagree with anything he says.
Your first impression of Jarlath Regan will most likely be his improbable quiff, which is not only stylish, but perplexingly bouncy as he jiggles his head around with enthusiasm throughout his performance. His gravity-defying hair remains upright despite the heat of the room and the engaging energy of his act.
Andrew Maxwell makes a big return to the Fringe this year with his new show, 'Banana Kingdom'. For anyone only aware of Maxwell through his many television appearances, or maybe unfamiliar with him altogether, he is a mainstay of the Edinburgh comedy festival.
With his genuine warmth and charm, Paul McCaffrey just about succeeds in elevating his poorly-structured, often generic material into an agreeable hour of comedy. His cheeky manner, whilst hardly unique, ensures he has a natural rapport with his audience, despite some poorly received jokes.
From the outset it becomes apparent that Jimmy Mcghie’s ideas of his own candour are anything
but delusional. With a range of topics in his sights, McGhie rarely takes prisoners,
with a particular disdain towards the multitude of nausea-inducing cooking
shows on our screens and the numerous irrelevant products that these ‘celebrities’
There are two parts to a Milton Jones joke; the first when
you get the punchline, the second when you’re hit with a visual image of the
punchline. This leads to a full spectrum of laughter after each one-liner, from
smug, self-satisfied guffaws to tittering girlish giggles.
Returning for their fifth year at the Fringe, The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek have an upcoming BBC2 show to their name. Their set includes sketches from both the series, as well as some Fringe favourites.
As a big fan of Adam Buxton since the old Adam and Joe days on Channel 4, I was heavily anticipating the show. On a par with the intelligent comedy of Daniel Kitson, this bearded comedian favours the clever comedy over the easy gags.
I'll admit that Jason Byrne's face didn't immediately spring into my mind before I arrived to join the huge queue, snaking around the impressive and somewhat unlikely Fringe venue, McEwan Hall. Why hadn't I seen him doing the rounds on TV before this?
It soon became clear however, as Byrne arrived onstage astride a space hopper - before proceeding to call space hopper-shaped men from the crowd to join him - why I didn't recognise the face of this big-time comic. Where other popular comedians make their names cracking gags on any show on TV with an available time slot, Byrne's integrally interactive comedic style is achieved through playing to live audiences.
Apart from a few lacklustre props which wouldn't have looked out of place on a Blue Peter set in 1975, 'Special Eye' relies heavily on guaranteed laughs: Scottish v English rivalries; ancient, farting relatives; mischievous children and testicular orchestras. Although many of the Scots-related jokes felt a bit too obvious, Byrne thankfully avoided mentioning the favourite topic of the Fringe's laziest (or most desperate) of comedians - the trams.
The audience rocked with laughter at Byrne's familial, silly humour and especially enjoyed his lengthy portrayal of unhappy marriages, in which the woman reigns supreme as her husband negotiates the slippery slope into old age without a smidgen of dignity. It's also refreshing to watch a comedy performance totally void of politically incorrect humour. Byrne proves a cock joke will more than suffice.
If you're hoping to watch a comedian with political humour or completely unexpected content, then look elsewhere (Lord knows there's enough to choose from). But if you're in need of a huge, uproarious belly laugh from a man who makes his name entertaining live around the world, then 'Special Eye' should be your first choice.
Jason Byrne: Special Eye, Underbelly Bristo, 9pm
Catriona Knox might not be a household name, but her
credentials precede her. A solo performer at the Fringe for several years, she
is also one-third of the all-women sketch group, The Boom Jennies. Known for
their energetic and upbeat shows, it’s with this buzzing confidence that Knox
greets her audience.
This pop-up comic bursts with confidence from the outset, as Zoe Lyons takes on pigeons, dogs in prams, the cult of celebrity and Alan Titchmarsh, in a show that never loses its pace. In the small, but beautiful, Studio One in the Assembly Rooms, her personality fills the space. The audience is filled with people familiar with her work, charmed by her inclusivity.
"Where Is My Mind?" is concentrated around Robins looking back on his life, having hit that milestone age of thirty. He reminisces on his favourite point in time and how his life has changed since, whilst revealing the highs and lows with great comedic effect.
As Chris Fitchew enters from the same entrance as the audience has only moments earlier, you could be forgiven for mistaking this curiously-dressed man as merely an extroverted latecomer, keen for a seat. It soon becomes apparent, however, that this is the first of many of Fitchew's larger than life - and somewhat exaggerated - caricatures.
An incredibly warm and personable comic, Suzy Bennett's style - while no doubt structured - feels like you're having a catch-up with a mate, with jokes popping in here and there.
If nothing else, “Gyles Brandreth: Looking For Happiness” is
a show that tickles the imagination and edifies the mind, without ever really
breaking out into the laugh-out-loud anecdotal piece it could have been.
After numerous on-stage costume changes and some witty
asides, he embarks on an overly tangential routine discussing what he believes
to be the 7 secrets to happiness. However, this mostly consists of comical anecdotes from his past, followed
by tacked on morals about how we must search for satisfaction in our lives.
When finally revealed, the 7 secrets turn out to be nothing more than what one
could find in a shallow motivational guide that comes free with the horoscopes.
In his storytelling, he also segues strangely from sombre
memories of deceased friends, to lurching about the stage with wide eyes and giggling
at the double-entendre to be found when a French person pronounces the word
“happiness”. However, despite being reserved in the number of killer
punch-lines he goes for, he does have impressive consistency in the laughs he
draws, with not a single quip falling flat.
He also carries a sprightly energy that belies his age,
especially given the relative youth of most of his fellow Fringe performers.
His delivery is strong and the material is executed very professionally, although
occasionally the way in which he projects his voice becomes more interesting
than the actual content.
It’s a consistently amusing show, with a surprisingly broad
appeal given the amount of time devoted to the works of Freud and Jung, yet it
never fully moves up a gear into the uproarious heights we might expect.
Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness, Pleasance Courtyard, 4.20pm
Katie Mulgrew walked onto the stage to the sound
of William Shatner’s unique rendition of Pulp’s Common People blaring over the
PA, which means she already has one of the best openings of the Fringe so far.
Shatner makes a few more cameo appearances during this well-structured and
charming show, along with other showbiz luminaries such as David Hasselhoff
and Michael Burke. Mulgrew’s act is augmented with a deftly-deployed powerpoint
presentation, which, during this first performance, is hijacked by a BT
internet popup, but she rallied well. “I’ve never been heckled by wifi before!”
This is Mulgrew’s first full Fringe show, and at times it’s easy to tell, but
technical difficulties aside Mulgrew acquits herself nicely with genuinely warm
and funny material.
Defining The Pajama Men can be something of an impossibility. Whilst at the start it seems as though you are watching a series of random sketches, their show cleverly builds and twists into a beast of a tale. Expect a 700-year-old King, sinkholes and a semi-talking motorcycle. Each role, no matter how diverse or ridiculous, is played by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez with such skill, you can tell the character by a simple expression or change of vocal tone.
Whist his show may not gain him major mainstream success, Ben Van der Velde's very likely to gain a cult following amongst those who appreciate his brand of wittily crafted storytelling.
Dan Nightingale is 32, has no hair to speak of (as he readily admits) and is very unlucky in love. His type, he says, are incredibly high-strung, manic actresses.
As audience members are led to their seats, an enthusiastic and eccentric-looking Diane Spencer's hysterical laughter fills the cosy, packed-out room in the Gilded Balloon. She waves the crowd in to take their seats. It almost feels like you're being welcomed into the warmth of your (albeit maniacal) grandmother's sitting room.
What do you think the 13-year-old you would say to the 40-year-old you? "What happened to your hair?" "How did you get so fat?" "Why haven't you kicked in Darth Vader yet?" If you're Christian O'Connell, that last one would definitely be a bone of contention, because as he approached his 40th birthday, he found a list of future hopes, written by his 13-year-old self in 1986 - and schooling Vader was dream number one.
An incredibly personable comedian, there's little not to like about Mark Dolan's general demeanour. His entrance is friendly with some light audience interaction that warms the room. Although it's not entirely clear where his warm-up ends and the meaty centre of his show actually begins, there are some big laughs to be had between his meandering facts and backstory.
Nish Kumar's show documents his journey through mistaken racial identity and his own experiences of Britishness through the medium of observational comedy. It is also very funny.
Kumar hangs his one hour show on people's inability to recognise the difference between himself (a non-Muslim Indian born and bred in Britain), Islamic fundamentalists and almost any other person from a non-white background.
"I'm going to marry him," giggles one teenager to her friend, as the pair linger in the Pleasance Courtyard after James Acaster's show.
Her friend, rather more practical, is already clicking away on her phone: "I'm going to tweet at him."
If I were to take one thing from Sara's new show, it would be that now I feel more inclined to use humane mousetraps, because as Sara says, 'mice are people too'. This, and many other quick and sharp witticisms, pepper a show that creates genuine intrigue in her subject matter - which centres around whether or not reality is real, or whether we're merely brains in jars.
Winner of the Chortle Student Comedian of the Year award, Phil Wang makes his confident début on the Fringe with his new show, "Anti-Hero". After making a confident entrance to the small Bunker stage in the Pleasance, within seconds his sharp observations about the venue has laughter rippling through the crowd.
Mary Bourke’s self assured comedy sets out to take on both
the timeless complaints of misogyny and women’s oppression alongside modern
phenomena, such as Twitter and Eamonn Holmes. Her confrontational, yet
conversational, style is as refreshing as it is funny; as she puts it so aptly
in her set: “Anyone expecting stories about body dysmorphia and self loathing
can fuck off.”
Bourke’s fun use of props and music give a consistent
narrative. Her frustration with the
position of women in society – and in particular the hostility with which
female comics are greeted online – gives an urging relevance to her set.
In his first Edinburgh show for sixteen years, Baddiel chose the subject of celebrity and fame, outlining a selection of true stories surrounding both himself and his (often more famous) friends.
There's a lot of charming name dropping: Russell Brand, Richard Curtis, Madonna. He talks of the way Twitter allows the masses to contact celebrities, offering the audience hilarious Power Point examples of Twitter 'trolling'.
Looking forward to this year and showing her son around the city, Sandi Toksvig has a lot of happy memories of the Festivals
What appearances will you be making this August?
Book Festival, I’ll be talking about my novel, Valentine Grey, which is going
to be out in paperback. It’s a novel about a woman dressed up as a man in the
Boer War in 1899.
doing my one-woman show: it’s a mix of anecdotes and silly stories. Also this
year, for the first time I’m going to be talking about manners, interacting
with the audience about what makes good manners and bad manners.
You do so much more than just make jokes – what keeps you
coming back to stand-up?
enjoy interacting with the audience, and every show is so different. You can
never quite predict what’s going to happen, so I think it literally keeps you
on your toes. Although at the moment, I’ve hurt my foot, so maybe this year
it’ll be some sort of sitting-down stand-up.
As a person who’s always lived in the countryside, what do
you like about Edinburgh?
Edinburgh, I think it’s a really, really exciting city. I love history, and it
seems to me that if you make sure you keep looking up in Edinburgh, you’ll
always see something fantastic.
How does the mania of the Fringe compare to the rest of your
honest, my life is mostly manic, but the Fringe is definitely crazy. If you want
to get in, you have to book early. I booked the first day the tickets were on
sale, because I’m going to see Martha and The Vandellas. Motown legends! I
can’t quite believe I’m going to be at the same festival as them.
Where would you suggest first-timers to go?
only going for a short while, for me a rite of passage is to walk down the
Royal Mile and see all those wonderful – mostly young – people handing out all
their leaflets. The stilt walkers, the jugglers, the clowns, people trying to persuade
you to see their one-man Hamlet.
How many times have you been?
times that I actually can’t remember. More than thirty. I first went when I was
with Cambridge University. I don’t want to say “it wasn’t the same in my day”,
but there just weren’t as many shows. I think it would now be impossible to see
everything that’s on offer. There are less free shows, which is a shame, but
the cost of living has gone up. Everybody has to pay their own accommodation,
their own entry into the Fringe brochure now. I think the days are gone where
you thought it was a holiday, had a laugh and slept on someone’s floor. Maybe
next time I’ll come up and do a free show?
How do you enjoy the Book Festival in comparison?
I go to all
the literary festivals, but Edinburgh’s is famous. It’s one of the
best-organised festivals. Sitting in a yurt in Edinburgh is going to be
fantastic. You can never tell which author is going to step through the
tent-flap, and it’s quite often someone I know. It’ll be lovely to have some
As a member of the first all-women show at Cambridge
Footlights, would you say comedy’s attitudes to female performers is improving?
I’d like to
say yes, but not particularly. If you look at most of the big shows on television,
and probably quite a lot on the radio, they’re fairly – as it were – boy-heavy.
It’s rare for me not to be the only woman on a show.
Does your family come with you to the festivals?
coming up this time. He’s at drama school, so he wants to see lots of shows. I
get to show him around, which will be nice. He’s really good fun.
Who were your role models growing up?
I grew up in
New York, so it’s mostly Americans. There was a brilliantly funny actress
called Eve Arden, I’m a big fan of Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball, Goldie Hawn when
she was in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Lots of incredibly funny women.
finished a new book, to be published in October, called Peas and Queues all
about modern manners, and I’m half-way through writing a musical about Dusty
Words Amy McGoldrick
When & Where
From the Norse's Mouth, Bailie Gifford Main Theatre, 11 August, 11.30am. From £8, Tel: 0845 373 5888
My Valentine, Pleasance Courtyard, 3 - 11 August, 4pm. From £13, Tel: 0131 556 6550
Former MP, author and comedy performer Gyles Brandreth is on the hunt for perfect happiness
In the course of researching his show
about happiness, Gyles Brandreth uncovered some new information about his
was Benjamin Brandreth and he was a medical man in the United States. He made a fortune. And he sold Happiness
his enterprising ancestor, Brandreth is not averse to flamboyant advertising
and claims watching his new Fringe show Looking For Happiness could change your
discovered the seven secrets of happiness, and I reveal them at the end of the
show. And according to some very serious research from Manchester University
people who are happy live nine to ten years longer, so this is a show that can
actually extend your life.”
Conservative MP, writer and broadcaster has been a fan of the Fringe since
2000, when he came and performed 100 musicals in 100 minutes. Three years ago
he came as a stand-up, but says his new show at the Pleasance is something
“I like to
do something different every time.”
describes the show, which was written with the late psychiatrist and
broadcaster Dr Anthony Clare, as: “part stand up comedy, part group
psychotherapy.” Inevitably it’s awash with celebrity gossip, with Brandreth
sharing insights about happiness derived from encounters with Frank Sinatra,
Elton John, Margaret Thatcher,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Queen.
his natural state appears to be absurdly ebullient, Brandreth reveals he is not
always as cheery as his public persona suggests.
who saw me in the 80s wearing the jumpers on TV AM and Countdown would think I
was annoyingly happy. And I have no reason not to be happy: I have
a good living, good health, a good wife.
“And yet I
haven’t always felt totally happy.”
that losing his seat as an MP in the great Blair Landslide of 1997 hit him
hard. Brandreth says: “It was the most satisfying working period of my life. I
loved being a Government Whip.”
the Fringe for the first time in 2000 was one of the things that helped him
find his feet again. It was also the experience which set him off on his quest
to understand the nature of happiness.
coming to Edinburgh was like a sea change.
It was very cleansing. I needed to rethink my life.”
performer promises an interactive show - in which he will talk to his audience
about their own experiences. As well as touring the show he is also planning to
turn it into a book.
ask him to reveal his secrets in advance. Like his great grandfather Brandreth
is a showman at heart. “You’ll have to come and see it for yourself.”
Words Claire Smith
When & Where
Looking for Happiness, Pleasance One, 31 July - 26 August (not 7, 14), 4.20pm. From £15, Tel: 0131 556 6550
Morrissey, Bonnie Tyler, Lady Gaga... is there no act immune to the power of the ukulele?
Brett McKenzie, the shorter half of Flight of the Conchords, has
been seeing other jocular musicians. Since 2005, he has been a member of the
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, a 12-strong ensemble (with one
double bass) which came together by osmosis when he and his friend Age Pryor
started jamming at their local café and were gradually joined by more
“The last person to join was Bek, the cafe’s
dishwasher,” says Pryor, “and it was like finishing a puzzle - we knew we had a
complete group from that point onwards.”
This motley ensemble aims to create “a
living room kind of feeling” at their hi-octane, humorous concerts. “Every
night is different, but somehow we always feel like we’ve hung out with the
audience for a while, as well as them hanging out with us. The ukulele has an
amazing ability to put smiles on people’s faces. It can also distil music to
its essence - whether you play Bon Jovi or Lady Gaga or Bob Dylan, you hear the
song in a simple, pure form, and you can appreciate it in an entirely
orchestra’s repertoire is packed with kara-uke standards from That’s Amore to It’s
A Heartache, ranges from Maori material to Africa by Toto and features
unexpected reworkings of I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man by Prince and
The Smiths’ This Charming Man, which responds particularly well to the ukulele
is a mysterious, unspoken process around our song selection,” says Pryor. “I
think some of our group are trying to create a fool-proof system so their own
song choices are always accepted by everyone else. But it’s like alchemy - and
woe to the sorry fools who mess blindly with such powerful magic.”
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra may be the only international
ukulele orchestra to emerge from Wellington, New Zealand, but they are not the
only uke orchestra to appear at the Fringe. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great
Britain already has some form in this area, with a couple of past runs at the
festival. But Pryor insists there is no ukuleles-at-dawn rivalry.
quite hard to be rivals around an instrument like the ukulele, everyone’s just
too nice,” he says. “The Brits are certainly an institution. We like to think
we’re completely different. They call us ‘anarchic’, we would call them ‘very
Wellington Orchestra’s most famous member is a Fringe veteran himself but won’t
make it over for this run, owing to Conchords and other commitments. However,
Pryor is philosophical about his buddy Bret’s sporadic attendance.
starting our group together, I suggested that he start a wildly successful
folk-comedy-parody-duo with Jemaine [Clement, the taller half of Flight of the
Conchords] and gave him a few top-level contacts at HBO,” he says. “Looking
back, I probably should have kept my mouth shut and had a jam with Jemaine
myself, but I guess you can’t have everything.”
Words Fiona Shepherd
When & Where
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, 31 July - 26 August (not 12, 19), Gilded Balloon Teviot, 6pm. From £12.50, Tel: 0131 622 6552
Physical comedy meets some serious circus skills in a visual extravaganza about escaping office life
They do things differently in Iceland. So when Kristján
Ingimarsson set out to create a theatre show he wanted to make something no one
had seen before.
is Blam! - a high octane mix of slapstick, physical theatre, circus skills,
puppetry and free running - which has been described as “Die Hard meets The
“What is a
blam? A Blam! is a game which becomes some sort of break out - or revolution.”
which has won numerous awards in Iceland and in Denmark, shows four bored
office workers break out of their daily routine and begin to act like action
equipment becomes body armour, filing cabinets become vehicles and the office
drinking fountain develops a life of its own.
buffs and comic book fans will enjoy spotting visual references to numerous
films - including Apocalypse Now, Iron Man, Superman and The Hulk.
ultra violent, the action is cartoonish - which somehow makes it joyful.
Ingimarsson says: “It becomes funny because you have these four boring office
guys who really want to live life. They are so serious about it and they go
really over the top.”
putting together the show, actor-director Ingimarsson, an Icelander based in
Denmark, put together an international cast with an extraordinary range of
Hajerslev, who plays the stressed out boss who flips into thinking he is a
super villain, is a classically-trained Danish actor and a devotee of extreme
sports and martial arts. Didier Oberle, is a parkour specialist who has helped
teach the cast to run up walls, while Lars Gregersen is another Dane with a
background in slapstick and physical theatre.
One of the
things audiences in Iceland, Denmark and Norway have loved is the way the show
celebrates boys being boys - or rather men being boys. As well as showing off some
extraordinary physical skills, Blam! also gives the four cast members the
opportunity to be ridiculously macho and outrageously silly.
audience reaction has been incredible. Seeing people laughing like that is
the cartoon violence is a serious question about why we spend so much of our
lives staring at a computer screen. “Working in an office is not natural.There
is nothing natural about sitting in a cubicle all day long. I want to leave
people with that thought.”
Ingimarsson hopes Edinburgh will love the show and give it the boost it needs
to become truly international: “I really hope we break through here. I want to
do this show for as many people as possible.”
Words Claire Smith
When & Where
Blam! Pleasance Courtyard, 31 July - 26 August (not 7, 13, 20), 5.55pm. From £13.50, Tel: 0131 556 6550
With our ears to the ground, here's the best up-and-coming bright sparks in comedy this year
Who is she?
half of sketch duo and Fringe favourites The Behemoth, the Welsh-Iraqi is a
Radio 4 regular and appears in Ruth Jones’ sitcom Stella.
What’s the show about?
smorgasbord of jokes, songs and characters featuring a unique tribute to
eighteenth century feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft.
WTF? She was in Baghdad when Sadaam Hussein was captured in 2003. She
received no reward.
Nadia Kamil in: Wide Open Beavers! The Stand Comedy Club III & IV,
31 July – 25 August (not 1, 12), 3.30pm. From
£6, 0131 558 7272
Who is he?
weird winner of the New Act of the Year Award and Chortle’s Best Newcomer 2012.
What’s the show about?
ridiculous tunes bookended by downbeat but stupidly inventive gags.
avid angler who can’t drive, he asks taxis to stop at a particular tree on the
Pat Cahill: Start, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 July – 25
August (not 12), 5.45pm. From £8, 0131 556 6550
Who is he?
The most excitable member of late, lamented sketch
What’s the show about?
mix of sketches, songs and hyperactive acting, Cook has committed a petty crime
and been sentenced to perform this hour of nonsense as recompense.
visited the set of defunct soap opera Eldorado. Twice.
Dan Cook: Community Service, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 July – 26
August (not 13), 4.30pm. From £7, 0131 556 6550
Who is he?
TV and character comic, previously of double-act Lick and Chew.
What’s the show about?
series of larger-than-life, recognisable creations, including Tom Cruise and
is obsessed with both historical disasters and global catastrophes.
Chris Fitchew in Jack of
All Trades, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 31
July – 26 August (not 7, 14), 3.45pm. From £8.50, 0131 622 6552
Who is she?
You Think You’re Funny winner, appeared in the sitcom Dead
Boss and the sketch show Cardinal Burns.
What’s the show about?
90s dance moves, horse riding and trying to explain London life to her Irish
on a stud farm as a teenager, it was her job to show tourists the horses having
Aisling Bea: C’est La Bea, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 31 July – 26
August (not 13), 6.30pm. From £8.50, 0131
Who is he?
witty and original performer with an engaging, jovial style.
What’s the show about?
obscure set of hobbies and plenty of time spent unemployed to cultivate them,
Metcalfe champions Through The Keyhole and Danny Dyer, delivering a
memorable Disney theme tune in tribute to Uncle Walt’s dream factory.
beat up Bill Oddie in a radio play. “I was playing a bully and Oddie was
playing a school boy. Don’t ask.”
Enthusiast, The Cabaret Voltaire, 3 – 24 August (not 14),
2.35pm. Free, Tel: 0131 226
Who is he?
only began performing in 2009 but the New Yorker has already been tipped as one
to watch by
Rolling Stone and the New York Times.
What’s the show about?
greatest hits compilation of his best bits so far, expect insights into
relationships, race relations, gay marriage and world hunger.
The only sport injury he’s ever
sustained was two broken fingers while bowling.
Michael Che: Cartoon
Assembly Rooms, 31 July – 25 August (not 1, 12), 10pm. From
£9, Tel: 0844 693
Who is he?
Funniest Person on Twitter by Comedy Central, the strapping American is
unfailingly honest and brutally frank about his sexual predilections.
What’s the show about?
startling confessions of a comic who hit rock bottom and is now a proud parent,
veering between horrific and endearing.
Jennifer Lopez in a triathlon. Not impressive because she’d had twins earlier
that year and he hadn’t.
Rob Delaney Live, Underbelly,
Bristo Square 20, 21 August, 7pm. From £18.50, Tel: 0844 545
Who is he?
and character comic.
What's the show about?
World aged 9 with his sisters, testing the first
commercially available digital TV box. They made a pyramid of Beanie Babies
Joseph Morpurgo - Truthmouth, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 1 – 25 August
(not 13), 3.45pm. Free, 0131 667 7533
Who is he?
and stand-up with a relaxed, understated delivery that belies his quirky,
What’s the show about?
sum total of everything he’s learned from life thus far, a collection of
anecdotes steeped in embarrassment and frustration.
collects Monster in my Pocket toys.
Ian Smith - Anything
Courtyard, 31 July – 25 August (not 12), 5.45pm. From £6.50, 0131 556 6550
Who is he?
of the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio.
What’s the show about?
race to complete the list of dreams he had when he was 13, including
challenging a pensioner and dating his 80s heartthrob, all before his first
only man a PM has ever sworn at during a live interview. That was Tony Blair,
Christian O’Connell: This Is 13, Underbelly, Bristo Square 31 July –
20 August, 8.40pm. £12.50, 0844 545 8252
van der velde
Who is he? Quick-witted, engaging ‘Jew Geordie’ with an
impressive trove of sharply written gags.
What’s the show about?
Overwhelmed by social media, he’s
trying to revive the epistolary art with a chain letter ...
WTF? Allergic to alpacas, llamas, donkeys, cats, horses,
dogs, camels, mules, ponies and pumas. And has evidence to prove it.
Ben Van der Velde’s Chain
Letter, Underbelly, Bristo Square 31 July – 26 August (not 12), 4.10pm. From
£9, 0844 545 8252
Who is she?
engaging, cynical storyteller
What’s the show about?
she never wanted to follow her father Jimmy Cricket into comedy and instead
hoped to become a hairdresser, Jet from Gladiators or
10, she spent a month in a wheelchair after her mum spilt chicken and white
wine sauce on her feet straight from the oven.
Katie Mulgrew: Your Dad’s Not Funny, The Stand Comedy Club III &
IV, 31 July – 25 August (not 1, 12), 1.10pm. From
£6, 0131 558 7272