The free fringe tends to be something of a lottery, welcoming uncertified and invariably inexperienced performers holds an obvious and inherent danger. Consequently, when you stumble upon an act of real quality, the satisfaction feels somehow amplified. Yianni’s Numb and Number, is just such and act.
Inspired by Yianni’s recent discovery that he may be mildly autistic (the reason for his ‘mild’ mathematical genius), this is ostensibly a show about the performers love of numbers. A curious choice for comedy subject matter perhaps, but those of an arithmaphobic disposition ought not to feel discouraged, this is no maths lesson.
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Features and Reviews
The free fringe tends to be something of a lottery, welcoming uncertified and invariably inexperienced performers holds an obvious and inherent danger. Consequently, when you stumble upon an act of real quality, the satisfaction feels somehow amplified. Yianni’s Numb and Number, is just such and act.
The Set List is a hilarious addition to the vast array of late night stand-up comedy variety performances. As audience members take their seats, they have to fill pieces of paper with random suggestions. These are then put into a box that goes onto the stage. What makes this show original is the fact that all the comedians performing have to improvise. The topics appear on a screen behind them and they have to include elements from the suggestions within the box. You can tell that the comedians have not seen the topics before as a few misread the made-up words and then started to stumble over what to say.
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Before seeing this show I really had no clue of what to expect from Ian D Montford. The idea of comedy and spirit mediums combined made me cringe a little bit, nonetheless I was intrigued.
Whilst queuing for the show we were handed a piece of paper to fill out – A dead celebrity’s name, your name and your deepest, darkest secret. I was trying to imagine what Ian D. Montford could be like, I pictured a well-spoken, serious type in a suit – A Derren Brown alike. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Onto the stage came a flamboyant and extremely personable Ian D. Montford with a Northern accent, dressed a bit like Aladdin or a yoga instructor.
Free comedy shows are a hit and miss game, especially ones with several emerging comedians. Whynot comedy is certainly more hit than miss, but definitely needs to work on compering. On the plus side, this compere prepares the audience for something, anything better than the random swearing in place of actual structure and jokes.
Hanks and Conran are a female comedy double act, described in their promotional material as: one sweet one sour. This unfortunately does not come across, from the onset they attempt to make jokes supposedly offending the other about her demeanor, but neither seems to be the stereotype of what she is trying to portray. You would expect a duo to play off one another, but they just seemed to be mildly amusing friends having a go at comedy together.
Adam Strauss is both an amazing storyteller and stand-up comedian. This show concentrates on the story of his life at a time when he was experimenting with a variety of drugs after reading some then contemporary scientific research. Adam’s aim was to find that one ‘trip’ (experience) that might alleviate him from the everyday problems associated with having crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This makes for a very interesting, original and honest performance.
Consummately silly but wonderfully engaging, Chris and Paul combine slapstick comedy and clown-like buffoonery to create some superbly daft sketches.
The idea itself is appealingly quirky; a voice in your ear telling you some of the choice stories of Fringes gone by, harking back to the good old days and simpler, more drunken and ridiculous times interspersed with music and small tasks to perform while nobody else knows what you’re doing. And these little tasks really do make you giggle with a glint in your eye at the mischief you are up to and all the while nobody around you has a clue. It’s a fun way to kill forty minutes between shows and an interesting insight into the growth and history of the Fringe.
Suggs has always seemed like one of those people who could do anything he turned his hand to, without making too much of an effort. From his years as the charismatic front-man of Madness, to his TV presenting and even playing on top of Buckingham Palace, Suggs makes performing look easy. He doesn’t make appearing on a stage, offering an evening of storytelling and song, look quite so straightforward, but thankfully he offers enough cheek, fascinating stories and laughter to make this a very worthwhile show.
As a success story of the Edinburgh Fringe, Dustin Demri-Burns and Seb Cardinal have just finished their first series of Cardinal Burns on E4 (still on 4od). The boys are back in town doing a 6 night show in the Pleasance Dome. But how did it all happen?Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 13:54 Read more...
BGFAT hasn’t quite got the same ring to it, but this show could teach Britain’s Got Talent a thing or two. The structure’s the same – interactive audience-based voting system (laminated red and green card under seat), friendly-faced host (comedian, Liam Withnail), and a reel of hilarious characters… oh yeah, and talent!
David Trent’s ironically named show, ‘Spontaneous’, is timed with pinpoint accuracy aided by his computer and a projector, taking the form of a Powerpoint presentation. He has created small animations to introduce each topic and then uses videos to back up his statements. The fact that he is a teacher is not lost on the audience as at times you feel you are being lectured too, but maybe that is the point of his show. Attempting to break down the mystique surrounding stand-up comedy, his point unfortunately just doesn’t come across that well.
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After eleven years performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, Rob Deering has had time to polish his act and his latest offering, The One, runs like a well oiled machine.A one man band, he slickly loops his various instruments on top of each other to create a backing band for his various comedy numbers, charming and chatting with the audience throughout in an inoffensive, flirty kind of way. Despite this though, the gig somehow failed to captivate in the way that I’d hoped.
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Tony Law ticks all the boxes as far as comedy is concerned:If it’s musical comedy you like then if you count him half learning how to play a steel drum he is just that. If you like character comedy - he plays a pretty impressive Cotswoldian. If you prefer sketch - Tony Law can be a five person sketch group all in one minute. If you are partial to anecdotal comedy - Tony loves telling people about his Viking Uncle taking him on a Viking raid. And do you like Elephants? Well, if not then this show is probably not for you.)
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Self proclaimed internet phenomenon and Agony Aunt extraordinaire, Rachel Stubbings, invites you to share her gift at her fringe debut.Qualified through her general “awesomeness”, no trouble is too great or anguish too severe, that it can’t be “stubbed out” in one dismissive sentence from the lofty pseudo-therapist.
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Welsh comedian Elis James’s timeslot has meant that he had had to compete for audiences with the world’s fastest man. He has triumphed, as the night I watched his show there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. He begins his show with a rant that he has been holding back for 12 months, regarding a stag do of Rangers fans ruining his first performance at last year’s Fringe, in front of his parents to boot.
James Acaster draws attention to his slow, laid-back accent: the kind typical of Kettering inhabitants. He uses this factor to his advantage by introducing lots of pauses for comic effect that seem effortless. This well-mannered, unassuming man starts the show with a song about his hometown, which sticks in your head long after the show has ended.
It’s been a while since Mark Little has appeared on the Fringe. About seven years to be precise. You would think that he would have been working on his act, honing his material and developing his craft to bring something professional and entertaining to Edinburgh. But much like his shows title “The Bullshit Artist”, he’s basically conned his audiences into parting their cash for this half-baked excuse of a show.
I had seen John Robins in the preview day for just the tonic and had written next to his name: he is adorable and really rather good – how have I not heard of him before? Well, last year he was named by the Skinny as ‘comedy’s best kept secret.’ Frankly, that is just selfish of comedy, imagine if Music had kept, say, Adele all to itself? (exactly)
This award-winning double act return for their third year after sell-out shows in 2010/11, but I’m just not sure if the old adage ‘third time lucky’ completely plays out for them this year. This duo is undoubtedly entertaining, but the show has a mixture of moments of genius and moments of awkwardness interlaced together to bring an almost-hour of almost-four star comedy.
Intelligent, charismatic and confident; it’s hard to believe this is Nish Kumar’s solo debut at the Edinburgh Fringe (the 42-seater blacked out venue is the only real give away), not to mention the fact that he’s been single for 6 years.One half of the acclaimed sketch duo ‘Gentlemen of Leisure’, Kumar’s return to the Fringe proves himself more than able to hold his own during this entertaining and engaging hour-long show. His subject matter covers the much trodden ground of comedic poverty, sexual failures and racism, but does so from a refreshing and unique perspective.
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A farm in West Wales is the setting of this musical comedy about a country girl set on moving to the big smoke. The Harri-Parris and their Slovakian farmhand have invited the audience to Anni’s leaving do in order to share their cake, regale them with songs and talk them through their various agricultural show awards.
Experimental comedy doesn’t get much odder than the work of Ben Target (pronounced Tar-jaay), which seems to be half-stand-up, half-art project.On entering the room, we are greeted by several assistants in white boiler suits, who offer us very nasty cinnamon sweets and lead us to our seats. Target is then announced and bounces on to the stage wearing a wooly hat and sporting a half-maddened stare that suggests that the audience should be ready for anything.
For me, the name ‘Jimmy Cricket’ immediately transports me back to a simpler time, of Saturday nights with sausages, mash and peas for tea, allowed for that one night of the week to eat off our knees in front of one of the many variety shows that populated the TV schedules of the early Eighties. There Jimmy would be, the man of the hour, resplendent in his silly hat and backwards wellies, telling jokes and reading letters from his beloved “Mammy” back home in Northern Ireland. So when I heard about his one-off gig with fellow veteran Mick Miller, part of a tour the pair is doing around the country, I was immediately curious. What would have changed for the star of And There’s More? Would he have abandoned his wellies and hat in favour of dirty jokes and a world-weary attitude?
‘Andrew O’Neill is easily distracted’ explores the ways in which Andrew’s borderline ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects his life and work. Being self-employed, he often meets the temptation of the Internet: “Andrew, Andrew, Andrew, Andrew, someone posted this and thought you would like it”, citing it as a curse for those who want to concentrate but can’t.
To some, Diane Spencer’s topics may be considered bad taste. However, I just found them hilarious. If she says something quite outrageous, she showers the stage with a puff of glitter to keep the audience on her side. A beautiful redhead with big eyes, she initially looks sweet and innocent – so when she opens the show talking about ‘female wanking’, you feel a little shocked. As the show continues, you realise that she has taken you on an absorbing comedic journey, so that by the end you don’t feel shocked by anything that she says.
What do you get if you cross the sartorial sensibilities of a smartly dressed elder gentleman and the humorous anecdotes of a modern city dweller? Drop in more than a touch of political satire and you’ve got Alistair Barrie: Urban Fogey.
Nick Helm returns to Edinburgh as last year’s title-holder of Dave’s Best Joke of the Festival. Rather than caving under the pressure to repeat this glory, he incorporates it into his show, “This Means War”. Of course there are a few classic gags but the majority of his show is a manic mixture of poetry, rock music, singing and audience interaction.
Perrier Award Nominee, Sarah Kendall, returns to the Fringe for the first time since 2007. Since this time Sarah has been endowed with the joys of motherhood and it is with this that her new show, Get up Stand up, is largely concerned.Sound a little banal? I’ll admit I was concerned that this show might be somewhat divisive. It’s well documented that new parents are exceptionally tedious when it comes to their children and nobody wants to be barraged with baby stories for a full hour.
So it turns out Germans can be really funny. I have to admit I was surprised, but that was my own fault as I was mainly thinking of the stereotypes. Micheal confronts this head on in his show, breaking down the misconceptions held by many. He doesn’t stop with just German stereotypes, but continues onto those of different nations.
Cariad Lloyd is a little gem. The Fosters Best Newcomer nominee is back this year with more hilarious and silly characters – Moomin Mama, Cockney Sam, Head of Health and Safety in Asda Kitty, Joooooey Bechamel, and little Andrew (oh little Andrew why did you make me laugh so much?).
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Bristol University has produced some cracking comedians in their time – David Walliams and Matt Lucas both went there, Simon Pegg, Marcus Brigstocke and after four and five stars across the board in 2011, the Bristol Revunions are back with a younger cast and on a slightly bigger stage (I think). This year’s show is “Destination Adventure”, a kind of British take on Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, set in the similar Scout/cadet camp but with yellow hotpants and British Accents.
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Disturbing, funny and beautiful all at once, Steven Banks’ Billy the Mime is an oddly satisfying experience.
To be honest I was particularly sceptical about this show, it’s been about a century since mime was last in fashion and when you see the guys out on the high street it’s easy to see why.
I have recently become a little bit obsessed with the idea of cults, believing all the slightly sensationalist but topical celeb gossip about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and the crazy world of scientology. I did not realise that Jehovah's Witnesses are in a cult. I did not realise that Deborah Frances-White used to be in this cult. This is her - cleverly told - story of her days spent knocking on doors (but not doing yoga) and why she finally realised that being a Jehovah’s Witness was not really for her.
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Tim Vine is unarguably the grand master of the cheeky one-liner. Some may think it a cheap form of comedy, but Vines delivery is so perfectly spot-on that year after year sell out crowds will watch him spit out twenty pun-riddled gags a minute for a full hour and love every second of it. This is what Tim Vine does, and he’s brilliant at it.
Apocalyptic American Eddie Pepitone makes his Edinburgh Fringe debut with his new show, Bloodbath, a roaring tirade on the absurdities of himself, his life and the world in general.Incidentally, if you’re of a nervous disposition, try not to let title put you off. While Pepitone is certainly something of a misanthrope, there is nothing offensively acerbic or intimidating about the ‘Bitter Buddha’. His delivery, while load and exuberant, is also somehow jovial and you get the sense he’s having just as much fun as the audience.
Its traditionally tough for a US comedian to do well at the Fringe – they’re already up against it before they even start. Not having an existing presence in the UK market and a lot of the potential audience might not be overly adventurous and will go for a name they recognise.
Television presenter and the subject of Confessions of a Sex Addict, Jeff Leach, brings us a stand-up show dealing with his experiences of addiction and reformation, and the hope that he can one day provide the genuine ‘boyfriend experience’. Unfortunately, the experience doesn’t quite do it for this audience, as a lack of material, weak characterisations, poor taste jokes and the odd multimedia clip fail to satisfy.
Mark Restuccia has spent £5,000 on internet dating sites. £40 a month it’s cost him, over the space of ten years. He has been on dates with over a thousand women in that time. You would think that perhaps some of these dates would result in a funny anecdote, perhaps a mishap, a misunderstanding; the comedic potential should be boundless. You would think. Unfortunately Restuccia’s show “How to Succeed at Internet Dating” is amateurish, unfunny and most crushing of all, boring.
After his emotinally personal and unarguably brilliant show ‘My dad was nearly James Bond’ which he performed at the festival the past two years, Des Bishop admits he was always going to have to do something dramatically different this year, for himself as well as the audience. His new show ‘Des Bishop likes to bang’ is certainly this. However, don’t be fooled by the title into thinking this is going to be some bawdy look into a cocky comedian’s sex life, it is in fact about his new found passion of hip hop and learning to play the electric drum kit. Prepare yourself for the best music lesson you’ve ever had.
Aisling Bea is starring in successful new production, The Intervention but this fun young Irish beauty with the shiny hair and great eyebrows (she wanted me to mention the shiny hair, I added the bit about the eyebrows) is a self proclaimed ‘Jack of many trades’ and currently has her artistic finger in many many pies.
Coming at you with a name like a pickled festive holiday, Jarred Christmas is here to dazzle you with his energetic dancing skills and prove that hairy men with New Zealand accents are sexy. Or something.
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“Life is Pain” might almost have been the motto of Alan Davies’ alter-ego, the killer-hunting Jonathan Creek. Still, it’s been a long time since Davies lived in a windmill and investigated macabre crimes, and his place as the nation’s favourite floppy-haired detective has been usurped by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now you’re more likely to find him deliberately giving the wrong answers as Stephen Fry’s sidekick on the perennially beloved QI. So is his return to the stand-up stage that he first haunted in the 1990s worth the wait?
Neil Delamere has delivered a polished, accomplished hour of stand-up comedy in his new show DelaMere Mortal. His template is very much par for the course, there is nothing particularly new here. He is, however, very, very funny. His material is consistently strong; he easily develops a rapport with the audience and manages to tie them into the show, without ever appearing as if it’s a mark of desperation or due to suspect material.
In Hannah Gadsby's new show "Hannah wants a Wife" she deconstructs the concept of marriage, through a mixture of art and comedy. While admittedly that may sound a little too scholarly for the Fringe, it's a surprisingly entertaining, if flawed show.
If Britney Spears, during her head-shaving, umbrella-waving days, had had the luxuries of both honesty and more talent, she might have written songs that sounded a little bit like Loretta Maine.
There is no denying that Byrne is an excellent comedian, however, he did take a little while to warm up during his performance on Saturday –the first few jokes were a bit hit and miss, but once he got going – it was back up to his usual standard of brilliance.
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Returning to the Fringe more bitter and jaded than previous years - at about half way through the performance, David O’Doherty proclaims that his show this year is “about depression that ends in murder but they couldn’t put that on the flyers.”
One of this year’s best fringe shows is performed not in front of the heaving crowds of Assembly Hall or in the big purple cow, but in a crowded room above a pub on the Free Fringe.
Love and comedy understandably go hand in hand and in Kevin Tomlinson’s show Crazy Little Thing Called Love! they are mixed with improv, masks and a heavy amount of audience participation to make the show what it is.
A pair of likeable lads with the looks and wit to carry a decent hour of sketch comedy, Totally Tom are well on their way to a future of mining comedy gold. The Toms were nominated for last year’s Best Newcomer Comedy Award, and it’s easy to see why.
As I entered the venue, the rather loud and, I thought, speaking a little bit out of turn, sound and lighting guy welcomed us in and told us to turn off our phones whilst he got excited when he changed the lighting on the stage to reveal the Patopotamoose head on the microphone stand. Eventually I realised that the Sound and lighting guy was not a sound and lighting guy but was actually Pat Burtscher messing around. He continued to mess around by singing the Patopotamoose theme tune in beat to the light changes then clambered over the seats down to the stage. As soon as a latecomer came in – he ran back up and started the whole thing again, which made me giggle uncontrollably.
It’s been over a decade since Canadian comedians Craig Campbell, Glenn Wool and Stewart Francis first played at the Fringe. They have been reunited in 'The Return of the Lumberjacks' but on the evidence of this performance they really shouldn't have bothered.
Slightly hampered by a showing time in the middle of the day, this show was not hugely attended which was a shame as I think the quality of the comedians and the concept would surprise audiences.The basic premises of the show is that we join the committee meeting of a workingman’s club in Wales and as the audience are members of the committee, there is some audience participation required. There was just the right amount of this – you can definitely have too much but they had a good balance. It also lent structure to the show as we had a clear agenda to go through.
Jonathan Donahoe, Amy Butterworth and Paddy Gervers are Jonny and the Baptists, a clever and talented satirical band who don’t shy away from the important and controversial topics, including library closures, Scottish independence, racist grandparents and laws that prevent gay men from donating blood.
I have a rule never to see a comedian two years in a row. Comedians like Adam Hills are the reason I continue to break this rule; funny from start to finish, and no two shows are ever the same.
Heath Franklin’s version of Australian ex-criminal Mark “Chopper” Read comes to the Edinburgh Fringe to give us a stand up comedy show with helpful advice on how to be a “hard bastard” in modern times. Equipped with aviators, crudely drawn tattoos, a handlebar moustache and a can of beer, Franklin is here to tell us about everything that is wrong with society today.
Trevor Noah has won stand-up comedy awards in his home country and is the first South African comedian to appear on Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he is also one of two comedians being presented to the Fringe by Eddie Izzard this year.
Peacock and Gamble are an endearing pair, radiating raw talent alongside excellent comedy timing and a clear close working relationship which really adds to their performance, there is certainly a lot of potential here but there are a few small things that didn’t quite bring this to a five star performance.
It would be fair to say that Brendon Burns quite likes AC/DC. If you want to re-use the old cliché of comedy as the new rock'n'roll, then if his watershed Perrier award winning show was his Back in Black, his new one “Home Stretch Baby” is his Black Ice. He’s a bit older, a bit wiser, but he still knows how to put on a show.
One of two comedy shows Sean has at the fringe this year, Life Becomes Noises is more a performance comedy, his very own costume comedy if you will and his chance to dedicate a show to his relationship with his father who has recently died of cancer. But this theme did not darken the mood - Sean is just as silly as ever, particularly when discussing his own grief.
With his laid-back style and understated delivery, Hannibal Buress was just as hilarious as I expected, and a refreshing change to the typical flamboyant comedians of the fringe.
It has been a tough few years for Shapiro. After a hit Fringe debut in 2007 he was involved in an amnesia-inducing car accident that left him in need of serious rehabilitation and earlier this year a cardiac episode saw him re-admitted to hospital for some months. This is Shapiro’s first stand-up routine since re-learning his trade, lending certain poignancy to the show title “rebirth”.
After two sell-out years and news of a TV pilot on the way, The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek had a lot to live up to. Fortunately this year’s crop of extremely silly, often surreal and always funny sketches should satisfy most expectations.The trio fly relentlessly through scene after scene of organised madness, making the 1 hour show seem very short indeed.
Charlie makes you smile. His new show, which I may say - has nothing to do with bread, includes all his incredible talents – his singing (where did that lovely voice come from?!), his tap-dancing (both American and British... Show off!) and his grand ability to tell funny stories in the most charming way.
When you think about it, we are all lucky to be here. In each of our various circumstances, luck, or chance, has had something to do with our family life, our personalities and even where we are from. So many variables could have altered the way our lives have turned out. This is the kind of luck Chris Ramsey talks about in his fringe show. But it is definitely not just luck that has caused me to award this comic from South Shields five stars. No, Chris Ramsey has real comic talent.
Felicity Ward bursts onto the stage with a brash Australian energy that immediately hooks the audience. Within seconds genuine, unabashed laughter announces the success of the raucous anecdotes that tumble from Ward’s mouth. She looks like a young, energetic Mrs Haversham – slightly dishevelled and manic - in her old Wedding dress, but that’s all part of the act.
Susan Calman wasn’t always a comedian; she was originally a lawyer but packed in the legal profession to become a comedian. In her new show “This Lady’s Not for Turning Either” she recounts the experience of her recent civil partnership and asks the simple question ‘why can’t she be married? ‘
Michael Winslow has made a career out of utilising his mesmerising ability to reproduce sounds using only his mouth and a microphone. To those of a certain vintage he will forever be known as Sgt. Motor Mouth Jones in the Police Academy movies, puncturing his commanding officers egos with an aptly placed sound of a bodily function. Ah the 80’s, such innocent times.
What show, narrated by a weatherman, features Lucky Cats, an Ikea flatpack coffee table, shaver jingles, flower eating, a subliminal owl and a Spanish prostitute named Chocolate Graham? It has to be the latest show from the Australian surrealist comic with the over-sized moustache, Sam Simmons.
With the fastest selling show in the history of the Fringe - tickets went in minutes - Daniel Kitson has returned from a years break to the home of comedy in Edinburgh, The Stand, with his new show “Where Once Was Wonder”. When he takes to the stage, not sans beard, but shorn and looking trim, it’s like he’s never been away.
Adam Kay used to be an anaesthetist, but there was no chance of him putting his audience to sleep in this dark, deadpan and deeply funny show.
With a drink in his hand throughout, partly addressing the audience at the front of the stage and mostly sat at his grand piano, Kay’s hilarious re-creations of rock and pop favourites shows he’s as talented a comedian as he is musician.
It’s easy to see why Seann Walsh has become a television favourite, appearing on shows such as Stand up for the week, Live at the Apollo and 8 out of 10 cats. His charisma instantly won over the audience and even a slight problem with the microphone didn’t faze Seann – keeping the show going with improvisation made him even more likeable.
What do Lisbeth Salander, Mrs Beaver from The Chronicles of Narnia and Madame Bovary have in common? They are just a few of self-proclaimed bookworm Jessie Cave’s most inspirational fictional female characters.
With a head full of robots, science and fiction, Helen Keen taps into a retro-futurism view of the world to deliver one of the more cerebral performances in this year's fringe, with her new show, Robot Woman of Tomorrow.Once upon a time, not so long ago, to be a geek did not have the kudos it has nowadays, a social outcast would be a more appropriate description. With the rise of the nerd, seemingly geeky subjects are now the domain of the mainstream. Keen, however, takes a sideways view of the more traditional views of science fiction exploring some of the more lurid aspects, in a format that could be best described as an interactive episode of QI.
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The Sheeps: Liam, Johno and Al are baaaa..ck!Firstly I am going to appeal to whoever sorted out the comedy awards last year and did not give these three a thing... Last years show was probably the best thing I saw. I still have their country-song stuck in my head and I still have the picture of Al (the tall one with glasses) doing the mad old lady who makes up songs face, in fact I am pretty sure I have withdrawal symptoms. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, word on the street is that they are making a pilot for BBC three of it!
(and a half)Tom Stade was married seventeen years ago in a white chapel in las vegas in sandals and a cowboy hat to a woman he has known for three months. At the beginning of the show, he plays the dodgy nineties footage of them (actually) getting married - I wonder how his wife feels about this. Luckily the minister has a silly line about trees that fills the silence that the too-long introduction produces.
When I was given Marcus Brigstocke to review I was concerned that I would be disappointed in his stand up having seen him at ease on TV panels by bouncing off others. Thankfully I wasn’t, and I am relieved to say that he is as funny in person, on stage on his own as he is with his contemporaries.
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Abandoman (Rob Broderick) is the Irish comedic rap artist who uses improvisation, beats and audience interaction to create quick paced hilarious rhymes. He has recently been on tour with Ed Sheeran and has been making a name for himself at various music festivals around the country.
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Rhys Darby is an exceptional comedian – from the opening sequence of the show to the final dance as the audience leave – there is never a let up in the infectious energy of his performance and the audience were in stitches with his clever balance of witty banter and physical activity.
After the success of Matthew Osborn’s ‘cul-de-sac’, in 2011, Shopping Centre has generated some understandably high hopes and, with Osborn’s decision to perform his play as a monologue, expectations have been fuelled further (he being an award-winning stand-up in his own right).For me, however, Shopping Centre did not entirely deliver on the promise it held. There is no doubting Osborn’s considerable dramatic ability and the play is certainly not without humour, but anyone looking for the enjoyably offensive, upper-class toff from his stand up shows should perhaps look elsewhere.
Geeky songstress and physics graduate Helen Arney, the experiments guy Steve Mould and stand-up maths comic Matt Parker make up the trio of self-proclaimed nerds that guide us through the Festival of the Spoken Nerd. The specifically scientific jokes create the kind of laughter that only intellectual comedy can provide, the kind that leaves you looking around smugly to see who else got the joke. Although the show is broken up into individual sets based around each performer, the troupe have a friendly camaraderie throughout that is infectious, spreading through the audience. Sly asides and raised eyebrows from the two not performing fend off any lagging moments.
Matt Parker is the kind of guy you wish was your maths teacher, especially since his set somehow ends in a minor explosion, much to the delight of everyone in the room. Helen Arney’s ukulele-based songs provide a charming humanity and vulnerability to the in-depth physics topics she covers. Steve Mould provides more fire (literally) with his enthusiastic explanation of harmonics with several ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience. The show ends on an energetic musical number, combining all three performers with more fire and chemistry (both literal and figurative), ending the show on a high note.
Festival of the Spoken Nerd is an exceptional example of what a show about science should be; informative, but also human, vulnerable and exceptionally witty and funny.
Festival of the Spoken Nerd,
Venue 150 (EICC)
1-7 August, 20.30
No subject is safe in this adolescent sketch show that takes on paedophilia, premature ejaculation, suicide, infanticide, pantomime and, of course, gimps. A regular act at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2009, it’s a bad taste show that is often funny, sometimes not so funny, and almost always offensive.
It takes a certain crazed genius to concoct a show based on a wager over whether it is possible to make a letter travel 50 miles within an hour using only methods that were available in the 18th century. And Tim Fitzhigham, an endearing British eccentric, is exactly the man for the job.
Nominated for last year’s Fosters award Josh Widdicombe had some high expectations to meet, his mixture of stand up and improvisation was funny but may fall below some people’s expectations of the “one to watch”.
His punch lines were delivered well and you will certainly get a laugh at this show, however the pressure or the fact it was an early show at the Fringe left something lacking from the young comic. The self-confessed introvert started the show with confidence; although this ebbed during the show.
Fresh from hosting the 2012 Melbourne Comedy Festival TV Gala, Australia's favourite comedy duo return to Edinburgh with their newest production, The Inheritance.
It takes a certain artistry to turn puppetry and musical theatre into comedy gold. Fortunately, this multi award-winning Australian duo are more than up to the challenge. Inspired comedic timing and perfect scripting make this a must see show for anyone looking for a good chortle.
She has taken two years off from comedy having babies (pregnant twice in the same tax year no less) but Lucy Porter is back this year - thank goodness - for her show in the Comedy Stand. I thought it quite a small venue for such a big name, but the intimacy of the venue more than makes up for the lack of glamour.
As a first foray in to the world of stand-up comedy ‘Michael Jackson touched me’ is by no means a disgrace. Wright proves himself to be quite affable in an energetic, goofy sort of way, and even his worryingly serious obsession with ‘Jacko’ cannot detract from his likeability.
For most people (including me) the idea of watching a mime performance is about as tempting as opting for major dental surgery without anaesthetic. But The Boy with Tape on his Face (Sam Wills) will amaze you with his comedy and inventiveness, all the while with his mouth taped firmly shut.
Long time fan of Scrubs, I saw tickets for this appear months ago and ordered early – which I’m glad about as this performance was a sell out. Turns out acapella is cool.
4 charismatic men, with amazing (and, to some extent, unexpected) voices leapt onto the stage, full of energy, and proceeded to run through everything from 80’s classics to favourite theme tunes in their own inimitable style.
Tiffany Stevenson returns to Edinburgh with a show revolving around getting older and her fear of becoming invisible. Whilst the premise of her show may not be original, she often veers off topic, therefore not getting caught in the stereotypical trap of self-pity associated with aging. She touches on a variety of issues from racism, to the class system and magazine culture.
Funnier and more irreverent than ever this commander of comedy returns to the Fringe with a 5 star show.
Engaging the audience throughout, Jim Jefferies is a master of comedy. Very funny and charismatic, his brand new show “Fully Functional” dredges new depths of offensiveness as he reveals all the worst characteristics of his on stage persona – disrespect for women, racism, atheism, fattism, chauvinism and xenophobia.
Danielle Ward pours everyone a Gin and Tonic from a teapot at the front of the stage as the audience shuffle in. It’s a nice, quirky touch. The audience, sufficiently relaxed, settle back as she eases in with the performance. It really is a very slow ease, peppered with obscure film references that slightly sail over the heads of the audience. A quiet titter punctuates the conclusion of several flat punchlines, but Ward’s charming self-deprecation deters any awkwardness.
There is always a little tension when you first take your seat at an improv show; you are looking forward to the performance but at the same time secretly hoping you are not singled out and asked personal questions. However, this feeling disappears as soon as the members of The Noise Next Door come out. They burst energetically onto the stage and immediately put the audience at ease with their charismatic and endearing manner, creating an atmosphere of fun and laughter.
Chris Martin is a bit of a rough diamond, but he has delivered a breezily enjoyable show which has given him plenty of opportunity to sparkle.
One of the rising stars of the Edinburgh Fringe scene, Martin has followed up last years professional debut solo show Chris Martin: No. Not That One, which announced, "here I am, look at me", with Spot the Difference which leads on with, "okay, here I am again, what’s for dinner?"
Mark Watson is the Welsh, Jewish, London-born, ham-eating, novelist and comedian with the vast knowledge of stick insects, British monarchs and capitals of the world, who has made appearances on Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks (and certain ads for pear cider), has a sideline in teaching, animal management and multiplying numbers in his head and has encountered trouble securing a mortgage. Or is he? Surely a quick Google search ought to clear up the situation... but wait! Watson makes a shocking and rather serious allegation: Not all of the information on the internet is one hundred percent accurate.
Comic campaigner Mark Thomas brings his politics home, with tales of opera and his parents’ bungalow in his new show. Words Jackie McGlone
Comedian Tiffany Stevenson talks about living in the real world, women becoming invisible with age, and sitting on Annie Lennox's knee as a child. Words Jay RichardsonRead more...
Tiffany stevenson grew up surrounded by fame. Her father was Wembley Stadium's box office manager.
“So from an early age I was around celebrities,” she explains. “I don't get starstruck meeting anyone. I used to go into my dad's office, get out my pencils and paper, and sit on Annie Lennox's knee as she was getting ready.”
The affable Phill Jupitus is indulging in work overload with three very different shows. Words Mark Fisher. Image Idil Sukan
These days, we know Phill Jupitus as the affable team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a man blessed with an enthusiast’s knowledge of pop music and a maverick’s taste for anarchic comedy. Wind back the clock to the 1980s, however, and you’d find an entertainer who went by the name of Porky the Poet and was an active player in the Red Wedge alliance of left-leaning entertainers.
Success Stateside is one thing, but returning to stand-up at the Festival still puts Jim Jefferies’ on his mettle. Words Isobel PalmerRead more...
Here appear to be two Jim Jefferies the day we chat. No 1 is abrupt and a touch arrogant. Thank goodness for No 2 who is charming, self-effacing and a bag of rather sweet insecurities.
The current head bad-boy of comedy sounds half asleep when I first speak to him. Then, when I check if it is actually him, his response is a hissing and impatient: “Yesss. Who's this?” Oh dear. Not a great start.
Maybe the time difference isn't helping. Jefferies, the cutting-edge Australian stand-up adored by Brits, is now making it big in Los Angeles and is arguably the chief bad-taste stand-up of the moment. His publicity is emblazoned with warnings and adjectives such as 'caustic' and 'controversial'.
What we need is a great big melting pot of humour to tackle racism, according to Eddie Izzard. His work begins in Edinburgh with two shows he’s produced from two very different countries. Words Isobel PalmerRead more...
What comedy needs is a melting pot, says Eddie Izzard. He’s said it before, and he’ll probably say it again, but it seems very relevant right now, as comedy’s most successful transvestite forgoes his own show at Edinburgh this year, in favour of putting on shows for other people.
Rhod Gilbert, The Welsh master of the rant, is full of surprises – and they're not all funny. Words Julian HallRead more...
Award-winning comedian Rhod Gilbert would be much happier without comedy. “I wish I wasn’t like this” he says. “I would rather not be like this and give up all of comedy, yes. The person I have been makes me want to cry, and I would swap it [comedy] to be a calm, balanced person who was able to think and has a logical view of the world.”
He’s talking about his negative side and the combative nature that makes him continue an argument for hours, regardless of whether he thinks he’s right or not.
Alan Davies is back – and TV's court jester is a changed man. He's got married, had kids, and rediscovered his love of stand-up. Words Jackie McGloneRead more...
On 18 june, Alan Davies’ son Bob had his first birthday – “exactly six years to the day that my wife Katie and I went on our first date,” recalls the actor and comedian, his hangdog features all smiling contentment.
It’s difficult to imagine a show that caters more to audience satisfaction than Paul Merton’s Impro Chums. Performing twice daily in the massive Pleasance Grand, in an hour filled with audience suggestions, the Chums have found just the right approach to inducing big-scale laughs without compromising their crucial connection to the crowd.
Delete the Banjax may have left their pigs and ponies at home, but if this show is anything to go by they are more than capable of filling their allotted shed (the Beside) - no farmyard animals necessary.
Character comedian Colin Hoult promises another installment of his theatre-and-comedy blend at this year’s Fringe. Unfortunately, each genre falls short in his frantic sketch show, Inferno.
How do I love Claudia O’Doherty? Let me count the ways.
1. She has chosen a remarkably dull, incredibly niche topic for her show, i.e. soil erosion, and put together one of the most creative, funny and downright weird hours on the Fringe. And by God, she genuinely will give you a lot of facts about soil erosion.
I feel almost unfair writing a review of this show when there were so few children in the audience, and those who were there were so very young that they could hardly understand it, let alone thrive on it.
Craig Hill bursts on to the stage and out into the audience, throwing himself into a series of fantastic moves to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. If producers are looking for entries for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, Hill would be a brilliant choice. He claims he wants to dispel any doubts over his sexuality. With a reputation as solid as his, there’s really no need.
Nathan Caton is a burly-looking bloke but, as his show makes clear, judgments based on appearances are often deceiving. Indeed Caton is as charming as he is chatty and is as likely to punch a kitten as Rolf Harris is: yes, he may tell little girls they are adopted if they smash him at his own ‘your mum’ jokes battle, but that is as ruthless as this guy and his comedy gets.
Following the success of her 2010 Fringe debut, Andi Osho is back with her second stand-up show All the Single Ladies. As the eponymous title suggests, this confessional show is all about her solitary status and why, after three years, it still remains.
Last year, nobody was quite prepared for The Boy With Tape On His Face. An hour of mime? Isn’t that akin to having your brains slowly pulled out through your eyes, knowing all the while that you paid for the privilege? Why would anyone put themselves through that?
However, despite the tough sell, guest spots at a number of late night gigs plus rapturous reviews convinced audiences to give him a try, and saw the Boy become a sell-out on his first rodeo, with an inevitable return with the same show and a bigger venue for this year’s Fringe.
If there can be a comedic personification of “If love is wrong, I don’t wanna be right,” I'd like to nominate Edward Aczel.
I’ve seen Russell on TV before and I’ve never really been impressed – he comes across as slightly arrogant and even a little false, so I was prepared not to enjoy this show. However, I was really quite impressed with the way that he instantly charmed the audience and, despite a wide demographic before him, had everyone laughing.
Stuart Goldsmith is one of those comedians that an audience cannot help but warm to: he is the fleece-wearing, night-bus-fearing godfather who loves his godson Tom so much that he secretly plots ways to usurp Tom’s father so that he can “keep him.”
Whether he’s reading a story about a dog licking his nether-regions (Squirrel Seeks Elephant) or a youth sporting a ‘Funky Motha Focka’ T-shirt (Standing By), Sedaris still manages to do so intelligently, and, were it not for the farting airline stewards (aka ‘crop dusting’) and the infinite piles of sh*t rampant in China, you’d be fooled into thinking this talk was all a very civilised affair.
Lashings of talent all under one roof being streamed live can only mean one thing: Radio 1 is in town and ready to unleash their ‘Fun and Filth Cabaret’ on Edinburgh’s Fringe crowd and the nation at large.
Dressed to the nines in suitable ringmaster garb, Nick Grimshaw and Scott Mills will be your delectable hosts for the next four evenings, bringing you the best acts the Fringe has to offer. And, just to begin with, The Hoff is getting in on the act as guest host.
This voyeuristic comedy boasts a strong all-female cast, an insight into the nightly break-ups, break-downs and break-throughs that happen in the space of a toilet cubicle, and ‘Shewee’ as their proud sponsor.
When comedy is so moving, so dimensional, and so bloody entertaining that it requires six bows to satiate the audience’s laudatory applause, you want to do it justice. Thus, I’ll admit I am daunted by the task of adequately conveying the pleasure I experienced at Richard Herring’s What is Love, Anyway?
How did no one think of this before? Barry and Stuart’s concept for this year’s Fringe - a two-part show that focuses first on the ‘show,’ then on the ‘tell’ - is so simple it verges on sexy. Okay, so it’s highly unlikely that this is the first execution of this concept, but, boy do Barry and Stuart own it. From customized suits and well-coifed hair to trashy magazines and an overall sinister air, this duo is hell-bent on making magic feel fresh, and they are well-equipped to do so.
You know it’s been a good show when you hear the words ‘Good night everyone’ and it hits you with great disappointment, and a bit of disbelief, that it’s already over.
Alexis Dubus’s Gallic creation - bon-viveur raconteur Marcel Lucont - is back and ready to interrogate his guests for your délectation.
Some call him the ‘Prince of Polyester,’ others would say he is one of Australia’s finest exports - right up there with Ugg boots and Dame Edna. Whatever you think of him, Bob Downe is an undeniably entertaining performer who is currently shimmying his way up the estimation of the Edinburgh crowd one white-loafered footstep at a time.
Benet Brandreth appears onstage like a Jilly Cooper hero sauntering into a chapter: looking disarmingly dashing and causing quite a stir.
Finally a comedy that makes you really laugh! This may sound like an overstatement but having been to more underwhelming comedy shows than I care to remember this Fringe, here is one that is worth its weight in gold! Witty, revolting and charming all at the same time, McNeil and Pamphilon deserve bums on seats and your recognition.
Seeing Matt Green was an unexpected dream tonight. Regardless of your social status as a teenager, you surely remember the tireless struggle between the geek and the ‘cool’ guys, who - let’s face it - no one actually believed were cool. Accordingly, rather than vaguely delineate Green’s positive attributes or the widespread appeal of his show, I’ll let last night’s unplanned Revenge-of-the-Nerds-esque narrative speak for Green’s solid show.
Simon Munnery is not for everyone. That fact should be obvious the moment he enters The Stand I, cardboard top hat spewing bubbles from the crown and a mobile speaker and microphone strapped to a trolley. Munnery has a well-deserved reputation for being experimental, “almost impenetrably weird,” as Adam Buxton of Adam & Joe fame called him, and yet most of what he puts on stage here would actually appeal to a surprisingly broad audience.
Totally Tom are probably the most enthusiastic performers you are likely to find at the Fringe this year, and the most expected to be make the transition from leaky cave venue to the bright lights of your television screens. Having been given a spot on Channel 4’s Comedy Lab in its next series, this posh pair is forging their way to success, one audience at a time.
David O’Doherty himself admits that the most famous he is, is when he’s performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. He is undoubtedly one of the best-sellers: filling whatever venue he is given and making it quake with laughter. His fans love him and his cape-wearing-keyboard-plodding persona enchants those less familiar with his musical comedy. But, despite the furore he creates, I cannot help but ask if it is rightly deserved and not simply down to his gimmickry and past success.
This is Fred’s 23rd Fringe. This number alone is testament that he must be doing something right. As the throngs of supporters come into The Stand III thick and fast, one cannot help but admire MacAulay’s success and look forward to the hour ahead.
Robin and Partridge. They’re resident artists at Tate Modern, which is a cool start.
For the last 25 years Susan Murray has harboured a passion for collecting passport photographs: of herself, friends and complete strangers. The premise of the show is that every one of her precious pictures tells a different story, and, lucky us, we are about to hear them all.
Phill Jupitus. We know and love him from Never Mind the Buzzcocks as the friendly but perennially sharp team captain. Some of us (although far too few) tuned into his radio show on 6Music, listening enraptured to his hilarious take on the day’s events and enjoying his eclectic musical taste. So what’s in store when he returns to his original career, stand up? Surely it will be a storming mash-up of witty put-downs, sharp writing and good music?
A doofus is either one of three things, Dowdeswell tells us: an eccentric person, a buffoon, or an intriguing object (a ‘thingummy’). In the course of the show, his aim is to make us awash with doofuses of every variety, until we are blue in the face and cradling our aching ribs. Sadly this is just a pipe dream.
I am so happy! Finally, a show that I can recommend without qualification. Okay, so there’s an age restriction, which is there for the wondrously coarse language (come on, are we really still bothered by the mention of seeing you next Tuesday?), but the script is so intensely inventive that the four-letter words only accentuate the glorious prose spilling from Randy’s toothless, fabric mouth. And by such prose, what a narrative is formed! We’re treated to those rare gems: beginning, middle and end, but the structure never feels constricting, and though spatially limited, Randy allows himself plenty of time to explore the audience off-script. This can prove to be dangerous territory for lesser comedians, but Randy seems impossibly well-equipped to deal with each and every one of us.
The best kept secret in comedy? Well, you may not immediately recognise his name, but appearances on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and Dave's One Night Stand ensure that many will recognise his face and recall his fast-paced and often high-pitched delivery. Having no particular feelings either way, despite these prior televisual encounters, I was quickly won over and, while he isn’t necessarily the best kept secret, Andrew Lawrence is certainly one of the best stand-ups I have seen at the Fringe so far.
The cultured voice of comedy, Paul Sinha, former doctor, former public school boy, and current gay semi-professional quizzer, takes to the stage with an air of well-concealed nervousness. He’s playing to his biggest crowd of the festival thus far, you see, and is eager to please – which he does. The audience is eating out of the palm of his hand by the end of the show.
“Who’s Josie Long?” “Oh, you know Josie Long, she’s the female comedian that everyone loves, bringing her particular blend of innocent whimsy and the joy of simple things to a mildly-anarchic storytelling format. She’s the Etsy.com of stand-up.”
Relentless agitator and anti-authoritarian Mark Thomas decided to walk the length of the man-made barrier between Israel and the West Bank – as you do – and this show is the result.
Seymour Mace left the Fringe in a desperate place last year, unfavourable reviews and psychological burn-out being the proverbial straws that left him so enraged that even bins and kitchen sponges didn’t escape his all-consuming wrath. This year, as indicated by his title Happypotamous, things are starting to look up. This is the tale of his journey from prescription-drug hell to a perkier place of reflection.
Sally-Anne has an endearingly chirpy and chatty presence that is currently to be found at The Stand. While her natural perkiness suggests her jokes are equally innocent and upbeat, her butter-wouldn’t-melt façade is just that - a convenient disguise.
This show is exactly what you expect from the title: angry, self-serving, gratuitous rubbish. And that is me putting it nicely.
Here comes the man who “suckles chuckles at the nip of wit.” Yes, Andy Zaltzman is back and ready to face the moral vacuum that is currently Britain head-on. Well, as best as he can with an arrow shot clean through his frontal lobe. Conveniently enough, though, the prognosis is that he will remain alive for at least the next sixty-six minutes. Phew.
With his guitar in hand and a throng of (maturing) fans at his feet, the musical satirist Mitch Benn is more than ready to make his first solo Fringe appearance in twelve years. Also known for his work on BBC Radio 4’s Now Show and BBC1’s One Show, his admirers are plentiful. Should you be one of them, I’d buy your ticket now.
Back for the second year with another solo show is Joe Wilkinson, the ageing London lad with that affected London-casual, ear-flicking, hair-sweeping, mumbling swagger. What a Larry. He’s cool, though, because you can’t tell if he’s mocking all that or not. He starred in a BBC3 sitcom Him & Her, came runner-up in So You Think You’re Funny? and won Hackney Empire’s New Act of the Year award. He comes in for hugs from the audience.
I almost didn’t give Martin Mor five stars - he’s MY comedian and I don’t want to share him. But that would be unfair because he is absolutely brilliant.
We get to know a lot about Daniel Sloss in The Joker, his latest tag-line in a so-far trilogy of song-titled shows.The 20-years-young Scottish comedian loathes vegetarians, admittedly mistakes sticks for snakes, is certain that old people ‘f*cking hate’ him and has recently split up with the star of quite a chunk of his material, his girlfriend.
Alun is a rare breed of comedian, and it’s refreshing. He is humble, self-effacing and seems almost surprised at the level of success he has achieved – although there is no doubt he has worked very hard to achieve this.
Steve Gribbin loves his job, and he's good at it. The problem here, I suspect, is that only a select few are able to enjoy his show for its very specific goodness.
One of the easier aspects of reviewing a continually changing show that can (mostly) be downloaded for free is that spoilers aren’t really a problem, though it does mean I can’t guarantee the daily assemblage of guests will make you laugh as much as Glen Wool and Simon Munnery did me. What I can guarantee is that Richard Herring will work harder for your laughs than any comedian I’ve seen, and he’ll always end up getting them. The format for the show is a brief stand-up spot from Herring, followed by a chat with his first guest (in this case the highly underrated Glen Wool), and ending with a short routine from a second guest (today, the ever unpredictable Simon Munnery).
Bridget Christie enters dressed as a bishop with gorilla’s hands and throws wafers at the audience; you would be forgiven for thinking this show is going to be an assault on the senses and physically. Thankfully, she calms down after this and settles into her chatty and friendly routine.
Awash with identikit comedians, you can often leave Fringe stand-ups feeling a numbing sense of déjà vu. That is, of course, unless you have had the experience of sitting in the audience of Tony Law’s new show, Go Mr Tony Go! Expectant of an audience well-versed in the tropes of stand-up, Tony makes it his mission to turn every expectation on its heads, in a fabulously Mad-Hatter-and-the-March-Hare-like way.
Kerry, despite complaints about being exhausted, bounced around the stage like a relentless ball of energy, talking a mile a minute on topics that vary from her favourite parts of Wonder Woman’s outfit to the trials of family life.
Fresh from touring the UK with Milton Jones and Josie Lang, James Acaster's Edinburgh debut celebrates those little things in life that cannot help but raise an irrepressible smile. Seeing the sea, hiding, the fifth stroke in a tally and getting his pound back from the trolly all make him click his heals with joy. This is a wide-eyed offering that is self-effacing and quite delightful to witness.
Rugged up in his duffle coat, Danny is keen to share that “I done a show all about travel and places” whilst pointing to his green felt-tipped map of Britain. From the word ‘go,’ you’ll want him to be as funny as he is disarmingly endearing. Although he may be offended at the comparison to Paddington Bear, the appeal and wish to protect him is there. Thankfully Danny’s is a presentation which, every now and again, passes you a little pearl of wit.
‘The Man of 10,000 voices’ – it might sound like a ridiculously arrogant and unrealistic claim to make, but the title of Michael Winslow’s show isn’t far off the mark. The star of Police Academy (the aptly named ‘Sergeant Motor Mouth’) opens his act with an impressive one-man acapella comedy band. This show is perhaps worth seeing just to hear a human morph into a radio, a television, Snoop Dog and Jimi Hendrix - just to name a few.
Irish comedian Abie Philbin Bowman is a guy who has a lot of ideas about religion: the Catholics and Protestants, God, no God, and so on. It also seems that, unfortunately, he has more passion than jokes about it all.
The auditorium was packed; Ed Reardon certainly has a bit of a following. The audience were all older, wiser folk who got the jokes about Radio 4, The Archers, punctuation and Martin Amis. Everyone watched and listened eagerly. Thankfully I do dabble in Woman’s Hour so it didn’t all go over my head: Dame Jenni Murray got a mention, but he mocks young, enthusiastic and casual ‘writers’… like myself. Oh dear, he’s going to hate this.
It’s difficult to assess Mark Dolan as an unfunny man despite this largely unfunny performance.
If you have ever seen Ava Vidal, you know you will get jokes about celebrities, racism and her daughter. The Hardest Word does not disappoint.
Jeff Leach (Big Brother's Big Mouth/BBC Switch/BBC3/E4) invites you to peer into his world of perverse but unmistakably hilarious misadventures. Prepare to hear all about drug abuse, alcoholism, anal probing, heartbreak and a very unfortunate train journey where he cacked his daks. This is unabashed humour told by one of the UK’s emerging comic talents.
Tom is funny, that’s a good start. He tells his life story in a sort of pseudo blockbuster action movie, like he’s being the man he wishes he were and mocking the person he really is. That’s an overly complicated way of explaining it, and the style isn’t why you ought to go see his show.
Considering his credentials - he plays Jonny in C4’s Friday Night Dinner and is the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2011 - Tom Rosenthal and his show, Child of Privilege, were somewhat underwhelming. Despite the fact I was given a cushion and a chocolate upon arrival (sit on the right if you want the same treatment), Rosenthal’s debut proved less of a treat than I’d hoped.
Tattooligan was born when Radio Leicester’s most zealous listeners, a sweep of ladies aged between 50 and 85, were asked to describe in one line their impression of the tattooed bloke in the photograph before them. This bloke was Jim and none of their comments were nice - at all. This show is about discovering the man behind the ink.
DeAnne Smith just might be the sweetest girl at the Fringe this year, thus doubling the difficulty of writing her an unsavoury review. Still, as up for the ‘tough crowd’ defense as I am, an hour of Smith’s show convinced me that it need not apply tonight.
When you’re approaching the end of a fest-frenzied day of getting crammed into balmy little venues, when you’ve got big headaches and even bigger expectations, this is the man who will step up and bitch about the things that piss us off all the time. And we like it.
After an hour in Jason’s company, you are guaranteed to feel better than you did when you first took your seat. This is uplifting stand-up, well-crafted and beautifully presented by this more-than-affable Geordie.
Is Josh Howie a dick? You are invited to find out as he asks you to rate the “dick-ish” stories and to decide whether you think he is. Leading with, literally, a toilet joke then moving onto “rape and black guys,” Howie’s humour is not for everyone. This hard-hitting show may make certain viewers, like me, a little uncomfortable.
Henry Paker packs a lot of hearty punches into one hour of imagining what cabin fever would result to if stuck inside a cave full of strangers inside Kilimanjaro.
Last year's surprise hit, Late Night Gimp Fight, returns to the Edinburgh stage with a suitably rousing version of Lady Gaga's ‘Born This Way,’ with lyrics adapted to introduce our team of Gimps. The mostly young crowd goes wild at the appearance of their heroes, and everything looks set for an hour of big laughs and naughty bits.
With a table set for tea and bunting tastefully draped along the wall, this is intended to be the most civilised hour of chat, stand-up and party pieces you could hope to see this Fringe. The host for the proceedings is the prim Tom Allen, dressed in a fetching Neapolitan ice-cream inspired ensemble. How charming.
Taking its title ‘Principles and Deceptions’ from Arthur Buckley’s seminal text on practical manipulative magic, award-winning TV magician Ali Cook brings to the Fringe an impressive hour of magical illusions with a dash of comedy thrown in for good measure. Prepare for all manner of magic from the slight of hand to the sublime.
The content of Zeus’ Pamphlet is curious. The sketches are enacted by three women and two men, with the women as the butt of the joke in every sketch. It was quite smutty and silly, and it was a shame the large seating capacity of the venue was mostly unoccupied because, although I wasn’t laughing, the rest of the audience was.
Dana Alexander’s comedy is irreverent and outspoken. As the only black comedienne in Canada, she decided to swap Toronto for Tottenham and has been rolling in the material ever since. Bring on her Edinburgh Fringe debut: New Arrival.
This performance was painful: I knew it, the audience knew it, even Scott Capurro knew it – after all, he commented on it several times himself.
I wanted to enjoy this show: I love the concept, the Lady Garden girls are likeable, and there is some serious acting talent in there, with very occasional flashes of comedic genius. But, they are just not there yet.
Perhaps ending racism in an hour is a bit ambitious, but this ‘African-American’ certainly goes for it as he brings to light the shameless ways of the world; and it's funny, ‘cause it's true.
The transformers are three good lads with a very funny sketch show. It usually takes me quite a lot to actually laugh out loud in sketch shows, but last night I was the one with the embarrassingly loud laughter. That is an exceptional testament to what these guys are doing because I have the ‘Festival Flu’ already, which makes laughing painful, so I’ve been trying to resist...very inconvenient.
Grew Up in a Strip Club is a coming-of-age story, brilliantly told by Brett Goldstein. During a mid-life crisis, Goldstein’s father decides to buy and run a strip club in Marbella, which leads to an unlikely comical tale. He does highlight that his year there was not all fun, but he carefully selects some of the more amusing tales of his time there.
Fear of a Brown Planet is the brain child of Australian duo Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain. The self-defined 'brown people' took turns to stand up and give their opinion of the racial differences between the white and brown people. Sound familiar? I thought so, too; anyone who has seen the likes of Steven K Amos will have heard most of the jokes before, making the show very predictable.
This cheeky trio, less commonly known as Graeme Rooney, Paul Charlton and Kevin O’Loughin, enjoyed a sell-out run on the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and, with two shows on offer this time around, 2011 looks set to be just as successful. The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek: All New Show is targeted as a family show that is rammed with silliness but has forsaken the swear words.
Like the whistle of a boiling tea kettle, an involuntary, high-pitched squeal forms and streams out of an astonished mouth in the last row. In I Hate Rabbits, James Galea proves to dizzying effect that there isn’t a seat in the house—no matter the angle or distance from the stage—that can dilute his magic.
Morgan’s debut show is all about his love of musicals and his absolute need for the final bow. Able to sing, dance and act, he also sees himself as a triple threat because he is bespectacled, dyslexic and gay. Already one can see an all-too-recognizable, Alan-Carr-esque formula forming, and rather predictably it doesn’t break out of this typecast until the very last minute, by which point the show is practically over.
Kirshen has been making waves with his comedy both here and over the pond, so Wide Eyed is considered to be a pretty hot ticket this festival season. And, as one squeezes into the packed Underbelly venue, it is obvious that the audience is waiting with baited breath to see if he lives up to the hype that surrounds him.
Shock and Ahhh! is one of those rare comedies that leaves you feeling all warm and sentimental as you pop your brolly for the walk home through the Edinburgh rain—cue the “Ahhh!” The ‘shock’ part of the title, on the other hand, is somewhat misleading.
An audience intent on seeing a production featuring 4 Poofs and a Piano expects nothing less than a stage furnished with a furry, animal-print-covered piano, fairy lights and a disco ball; and so the scene is set for one highly-homosexual hour.
A week of stand-up may be a brilliant way to spend your time, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could jazz up the Festival with more than just another Udderbelly Pasture pint? Well, maybe it’s time for you to moo-sey on along into the Cow Barn, where Sammy J and Randy are ready to revive you with a brand of humour so cleverly and sharply executed they could surely spin even the pishest puns into comic gold.
Watching this series of sketches felt like the equivalent of being strapped to a chair and forced to watch Dick and Dom pull each other’s fingers. This could have been forgiven had it been advertised in the Children’s Shows section of the Fringe guide, but alas, as I checked my ticket, there was no such relief.
Playing the Stand with her brand new solo show Cavewoman, Tiffany Stevenson is keen to discover how far we Brits have come in evolutionary terms. The answer: from grunting cave-dwellers to bingo players, apparently.
If there is one word I could use to describe Margaret Cho, it would be this: polished. However, this wouldn’t be much of a review if it was only one word long, now would it?
If The Darkness, bitter but still hopeful after their ejection from the stadiums and festivals that they formerly headlined, lost their rhythm section and took up stand-up comedy (not a bad idea if you happen to be reading this, Justin Hawkins) it would probably look something like Rayguns Look Real Enough, a storming mash-up of great rock songs, tiger jokes and just a touch of pathos.
For anyone seeking thrilling adventure, unbridled imagination and the odd power ballad from a comedy sketch show, then Shamblehouse will prove to be just the ticket. Performed upon by one third of Fringe favourites ‘The Penny Dreadfuls,’ David Reed, the Pleasance Two stage looks set to be packed to its rafters for the next month—so get your ticket quickly.
The schtick of the show is this: It is Caroline’s goal to help the audience ‘exceed their wildest dreams’ by training them to complete a moment of silence. This is an odd aspiration, yes, but surely no one could take offence, right? Wrong. Never have I come out of a comedy and felt an audience’s reaction to be more at odds than at the end of Caroline Mabey’s One Minute Silence.
Rich Fulcher wants to fiddle with your moral compass. This is not to be a revolutionary recalibration, for poo and wee are still funny, and rape, we are assured, is still bad. It’s messing with the little things that Fulcher enjoys and, with this motivational presentation, he’s here to inspire us to do the same. We’re not going to dissolve any coalitions with these tiny acts, but we can certainly frustrate the idiots of the everyday with greater finesse.
No one in tonight’s audience could possibly doubt the fact that Carl Donnelly’s got it goin’ on. So comfortable onstage it ought to be criminal, Donnelly seems every bit the connoisseur of cool as he effortlessly owns the room, admirably never veering into the realm of cheesy or creepy along the way—just ask the front row.
The opening joke of ‘Money, Money, Money’ rang true as Keith Farnan explored the financial crisis in Ireland with his variety of well-timed one-liners and stories of the search for his own financial security. The show was a mixture of his life stories, how Ireland got into €85,000,000,000 debt and some ‘helpful’ suggestions for how to get out of it.
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