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.
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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.
(and a half)
“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.
(and a half)
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.
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