Comedy, Reviews

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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…

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…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…

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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…

Darius Davies' HBÖ Special Uncensored

27 Aug 20142 stars

Confident performance fails to mask thin material at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is one of those gigs when almost everything that could go wrong on the night for a comic actually does. Even with just six in his crowd, including 90s Edinburgh comedy club legend Reg Anderson, Darius Davies feels he is up to the challenge.

Almost Royal

27 Aug 20143 stars

Amy Hoggart and Ed Gamble star in a gentle, Royalty-mocking romp

It’s easy for us all to say it in hindsight, but you’d have thought that the Americans would have seen regal siblings George and Poppy Carlton (heirs to the throne, albeit way, way down the list) coming a mile off. Sacha Baron Cohen had already made US…

Lords of Strut: Chaos

27 Aug 20141 star

Repetitive Irish duo have little to say at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Picture the Chuckle Brothers working from a script by Cannon & Ball and choreographed by New Art Club, possibly under the threat of blackmail. But only if New Art Club had forgotten everything they’d ever learned about dance and comedy. Then you’re…

Let's Be Cops

26 Aug 20143 stars

Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr

The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’s…

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The Grand Seduction

26 Aug 20143 stars

Likeable, Ealing-esque comedy starring Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch

Canadian screenwriter Ken Scott is no stranger to the remake treatment: his French-Canadian comedy Starbuck was remade twice (as Vince Vaughn vehicle Delivery Man and French version Fonzy) and now his French-language comedy La Grande Séduction (also…

Henry Paker: Unpacked

26 Aug 20143 stars

Rakish wit from one half of Golden Lizard at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For some reason, the ‘dressing-up box’ used by sketch groups has recently become a term imbued with negativity. Instead, Henry Paker comes on stage to show us the contents of his ‘memory box’, as he reflects on his inability to throw away the things…

Francesco De Carlo: Italians Do It Later

26 Aug 20143 stars

Pleasing, Eddie Izzard-inspired Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut from Italian comedian

There is an argument that you should apply the same critical faculties to all comedy equally across the board. It’s a dilemma some comedy award judges have to wrestle with each August. Yet surely there are different criteria for judging a sketch show…

Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly

26 Aug 20144 stars

Intriguing, poignant and funny comedy at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Within ten or so minutes into Monsieur Butterfly, those of a similar age to Alex Horne will probably be sitting wondering: ‘is that what I think it is? No surely not: it bloody well is!’ Yes, Horne is building a massive contraption that is eerily…

Demi Lardner: Birds with Human Lips

26 Aug 20143 stars

Quirky yet personal comedy set at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is an intriguing debut from the 20-year-old who jointly won So You Think You're Funny? last year and outright won the RAW competition at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in her native Australia. Looking, as she notes, like a young boy with her…