Comedy, Reviews

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Crackanory

19 Sep 20144 stars

Iconic TV show returns for new series featuring Vic Reeves and the late Rik Mayall at his best

When Rik Mayall appeared in a 1986 episode of Jackanory reading George’s Marvellous Medicine, his idiosyncratic take on Roald Dahl’s tale was, inevitably, loved by the kids, and pooh-poohed by a small number of parents. ‘Dangerous and offensive’ they…

Think Like a Man Too

15 Sep 20142 stars

Comedy sequel starring Kevin Hart is watchable but lacking in big laughs

As its awkward-looking title suggests, ensemble rom-com Think Like a Man Too is a sequel to director Tim Story's 2012 hit. Based on a self-help book by Steve Harvey, the original film featured a group of women (Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P Henson…

Wish I Was Here

15 Sep 20142 stars

Zach Braff's disappointing, Kickstarter-funded second film features Kate Hudson

Like the struggling protagonist of Wish I Was Here, unemployed actor and father Aidan Bloom, writer-director Zach Braff’s follow-up to Garden State has considerable baggage. The easy charm and comedic melancholy of Braff’s 2004 debut created a cult…

TIFF 2014: Men, Women & Children

12 Sep 20143 stars

Jason Reitman's conservative comedy drama features a nicely understated Adam Sandler

Jason Reitman's cautionary, state-of-the-nation mosaic starts off with the promise of something Altman-esque like Nashville or Short Cuts, but winds up closer in tone to something written by Richard Curtis. Perhaps it is the fault of the extensive…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

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Joz Norris: Awkward Prophet

11 Sep 20142 stars

Claustrophobic comedy hour lacking everyman appeal at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When it comes to Joz Norris’ material, it’s unapologetically bright, colourful and not a little garish. Sadly, this particular material is related more to the Hawaiian-style garb on his back than the stuff that comes out of his mouth during the…

Eleanor Morton: Lollipop

11 Sep 20142 stars

Comedian at the early learning stage of her comedy development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Making your audience uncertain as to whether they are in fact witnessing a well-defined comic persona in action is a real trick to pull off. The tension between what’s real and what’s not has stood many a fine comic creation in good stead, and Eleanor…

Scott Capurro - Islamohomophobia: Reloaded

10 Sep 20143 stars

A comedy mish-mash of new bits with tried and tested material at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Entertainingly catty as ever, the San Francisco comic is proud to boast a new husband, but you wouldn’t know it given the amount of undermining of his betrothed that is uttered here. Scott Capurro’s chap is Brazilian and therefore an inspiration to…

Pride

8 Sep 20143 stars

Bill Nighy and Dominic West star in a fizzy, feel-good take on an inspiring 80s campaign

Imelda Staunton rolling around a bed with a red dildo laughing is one of the gleeful high points of Matthew Warchus’ unashamedly fizzy, cheering take on the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign which involved a unique coming together of two…

Sex Tape

1 Sep 20142 stars

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel head up a slapstick heavy sex comedy that's light on laughs

Few sub-genres are as moribund as the sex comedy; since the 70s, audiences rarely seek laughs and voyeurism at the same time, and certainly not at the cinema, with dedicated internet sites allowing them to indulge both humour and libido in…

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They Came Together

1 Sep 20142 stars

Gifted comics Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler are poorly served by a so-so rom-com parody

If ever there was a genre that was ripe for parody, that genre is the Nora Ephron-style romantic comedy. That's the conclusion drawn by writer-director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) and co-writer Michael Showalter, whose new comedy sets about…

Life of Crime

1 Sep 20143 stars

Jennifer Aniston impresses against type in this crime comedy based on Elmore Leonard's The Switch

A prequel of sorts to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, in that it features three of the same characters (albeit played by different actors), Life of Crime is writer-director Daniel Schechter's low-key adaptation of Elmore Leonard's The Switch. Set…

Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie and I

1 Sep 20143 stars

Enjoyably bitter observations about love and shame at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Richard Herring once did a show about how anxious he was feeling at having just entered his fifth decade. You can really sense that something similar is on the horizon from Dan Clark who can’t quite believe how he has managed to get this elderly (he’s…

Al Donegan: The Five Worst Things I Ever Did

1 Sep 20143 stars

Technical comedic skills and stories to burn at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

You have to admire the brave act who makes that their show title. It’s practically an open-goal invite to any cynical hack looking for an easy ‘in’ to give that show a kicking. Thankfully (or annoyingly), Al Donegan has technical skills (he’s a…

Hayley Ellis: We Need to Talk About Kevin

1 Sep 20142 stars

Amiable hour too timid for impact at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As amiable as they come, Hayley Ellis has a show which occasionally bears some rather sharp claws, but is ultimately a little too timid to hit home fully. Initially stunted early on in the run by not being in possession of a licence to have a dog on…

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Charlie O'Connor: Dandyisms

1 Sep 20141 star

Limp musical comedy and flat jokes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Charlie O’Connor is a guy who looks like a girl and is often mistaken as such. This leads to awkward moments with bigoted cabbies and confused women in supermarkets, and we seem to be off to a decent start. Even if he hadn’t told us, it becomes patently…

The Grandees: BaBoom!

28 Aug 20142 stars

Childlike comedy in need of a revamp at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A man who can make emit an earth-shattering sound. The parliament of owls. Projectors in hidden realms. Welcome to the wacky, wacky world of the Grandees. Perhaps BaBOOM! and its over-arching daftness is something you just have to get onboard with…

Rhys Mathewson: Hombre Lobo

28 Aug 20142 stars

Charmingly likeable comedy in need of stiffer writing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It can’t be easy performing to three charity workers, your own dad, a reviewer and a dog. That might sound like the set-up to a decidedly poor joke, but it was the stark reality of his evening. At the tender age of 23, Rhys Mathewson has been up on…

Chris Coltrane: There's No Heroes Left Except All of Us

28 Aug 20143 stars

Strong political comedy from committed activist at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

There’s no denying that Chris Coltrane is a man who has the cojones to back up his beliefs. A self-proclaimed ‘Maltesers Marxist’, he has doorstepped the Daily Mail editor (he wasn’t in) and larked around relentlessly at a BAE Systems shareholders…

Ed Gamble: Gambletron 5000

28 Aug 20143 stars

Blokey but non-laddish stand-up from Almost Royals star at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This feels a little like Ed Gamble’s break-out year. Having worked closely for years with Ray Peacock, he can now be seen on E4 screens in Almost Royal as a (very) minor heir to the throne making a posh twit of himself in the US while here he has come…

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Get Divorced and Join the Circus

28 Aug 20143 stars

Harp playing comedian unique to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There’s little doubt that Ursula Burns has a unique selling point for a Fringe comedy show. She has a harp and she’s not afraid to use it. Remarking from the off that being placed in the comedy section is merely a ploy to get people into her show, Burns…

Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues

28 Aug 20143 stars

Hayley Sproull's monstrous music-teacher creation hits the right note at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Dubbed as the new Tim Minchin or Flight of the Conchords, it’s little surprise to learn that Hayley Sproull is of antipodean extraction and can bash out a mean tune on her keyboard. But her Miss Fletcher music-teacher creation is a more fully-formed…

Clever Peter: The Dreams Factory

28 Aug 20142 stars

Lukewarm sketches from comedy trio at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Clever Peter have been tagged as one of the brightest sketch trios to emerge in the past few years but there seems to be no real evidence to back up that claim here. The Dreams Factory is a hotchpotch of bits and bobs and predicated on pretty shaky…

Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

27 Aug 20142 stars

Disappointingly mundane and occasionally mean-spirited show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

While he wets the palette of an audience member by offering them a free shot of Jameson’s, Welsh comic Tommy Rowson’s deadpan delivery is dry as a bone. In itself, such a laidback presence and limited-tone presentation is far from a stand-up crime…

Brydie Lee-Kennedy Repeats On You

27 Aug 20142 stars

Uninspired comedy in need of editing at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Even though this is a free show, it’s still bad form to leave after less than five minutes as a trio did here, one of whom rather rudely waves at our comic for the hour. But the sympathy vote towards Brydie Lee-Kennedy soon dissipates as her tale of LA…