Comedy, Reviews

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Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton

17 Aug 20144 stars

Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show exploring what it means to be a man and a role model

At the top of the show Nathan Caton chats to the crowd making amiable jokes about a few topical subjects such as Scottish independence, the Commonwealth Games and UKIP. It looks like we're in for an hour of solid and accomplished club-style stand-up.

Iain Stirling: Everything

17 Aug 20142 stars

Tighter writing needed to elevate likeable comedian

Former CBBC presenter and Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, Iain Stirling is so keen to take the stage that he springs about in the wings impatiently waiting for his crowd to take their seats. He’s a relative youngster at 26 and is disarmingly eager…

Twins

17 Aug 20144 stars

Laidback, freewheeling comedy from Annie McGrath and Jack Barry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Annie McGrath and Jack Barry patently aren't twins. This misguided assumption that people can't tell them apart is a running joke throughout their show. It's simple and silly but they just about manage to keep the notion weird and quirky rather than…

Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)

17 Aug 20143 stars

A playful and clever retelling of the history of comedy from the Reduced Shakespeare Company

The Reduced Shakespeare Company are famous for their irreverent wit and quick-fire comedic stagecraft. To see them turn their efforts to a history of their own profession presents a treat in unexpected ways. Alongside countdown lists of history’s least…

Jim Davidson: No Further Action

15 Aug 20143 stars

Solid old-school comedian draws on recent scandal for precisely formed jokes

Few comedians arrive at the Fringe facing the sort of scrutiny aimed at Jim Davidson. It’s easy to forget he was once the mainstay of Saturday night television, a family entertainer who fronted BBC One’s primetime family game shows. These days his…

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Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (And My Wife)

15 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian is back on top form with intoxicating, meaningful comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It would be rude to say that Alfie Brown had a gap year last Fringe, but after a blinding 2012 hour, something didn’t quite seem right about his follow-up. For those of us who trumpeted him loudly as one of the natural torch-bearers for stand-up’s…

Rayguns Look Real Enough: Hall of Fame

15 Aug 20144 stars

Fast and funny mashed up rock classics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With Ray Gunn’s tiger outfit and Luke Reel’s electric shock goth hairdo, this rock duo look like Calvin and Hobbes hit middle age and formed a band. Pulling melodies, tunes, rhythms and lyrics from across the decades, the pair have put together a…

Ellie White: Humans

15 Aug 20142 stars

Good moments and stand-out characters but not enough original material at this Edinburgh Fringe show

Character comedian Ellie White’s venue is a curse and a blessing. In the basement of a Mexican restaurant, the taco-stand aesthetic is super-cute, and recurrent references to her surroundings manage to ground her roster of characters and give the show…

Margaret Thatcher: Queen Of Soho

15 Aug 20143 stars

Uproarious, campy fun taking in key moments of political career

Revisionist history has seen ex-PM Margaret Thatcher absurdly transformed after her passing into a feminist icon. But Matt Tedford – who has the Iron Lady’s braying condescension down to a T – has now provided the ultimate makeover for Thatcher, turning…

All at Sea

15 Aug 20142 stars

Weak script lets down fearless acting by trio at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Intuitive Creatures' All at Sea employs a huge amount of audience interaction, and nowhere in the room is safe. During one skit they even come in from the back and mingle with the people hanging around casually at the bar who were mistaken in thinking…

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Nev: Gold

15 Aug 20142 stars

Surreal hour shows promise despite shortcomings with venue

The vast majority of free venues are great but occasionally things go wrong and it has to be mentioned here because it was so detrimental to the show. In The Wee Pub it's the massive amount of noise bleed from next door, people wandering in and talking…

Rubberbandits: Continental Fistfight

15 Aug 20144 stars

Irish hip-hop trio nail winning formula of outrageous songs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If you’ve never come across the Rubberbandits before, then do not be put off by their awkwardly succinct website bio: ‘We are hardcore gangster rappers from Limerick city in Ireland’. Yes, they do come from ‘stab city’, talk with an Irish accent so…

Pierre Novellie is Mighty Peter

15 Aug 20143 stars

Consistent but safe Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy debut from former Cambridge Footlights funnyman

The overriding sense that Pierre Novellie resembles the lovable BFG is hard to dismiss as the 6ft 4 comedian breaks into infectious giggles throughout this comedy debut. Intelligent lines abound throughout the hour, as he succeeds in avoiding the…

Kerry Godliman: Face Time

15 Aug 20143 stars

Warm character, well-executed and unoriginal observations at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Judgement (or ‘being judgey’, as she irritatingly puts it), is the banner topic for this show in which Kerry Godliman sets her sights on a panoply of modern-day inconveniences. BT call centres, washing machines, reality television and the tyranny of…

Spencer Brown

14 Aug 20142 stars

Repetitive sex obsessed show becomes tiresome at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Spencer Brown reads as a sex-obsessed thirty-something offering a whole load of gags about doing the deed laced with an exposé of contemporary society. Naturally, all this is framed with observational anecdotes about his wife, young daughter and dinner…

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Come Heckle Christ

14 Aug 20143 stars

Josh Ladgrove's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show is entirely dependent on audience interaction

You get no prizes for guessing that Come Heckle Christ is a show dependent on the quality of its audience. Character comedian Josh Ladgrove props himself on the cross for (almost) the entire duration, responding to a mix of insults, theological queries…

Sophie Willan: Novice Detective

14 Aug 20142 stars

A mish-mash of theatrical narrative and comedy skits at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Sophie Willan presents a theatrical hour about the search for her estranged father. The detective genre is her theme, and the opening set-piece is a campy nod to the genre from Inspector Clouseau to the board-game Cluedo. After a promising opening…

Tom Rhodes: Colussus

13 Aug 20143 stars

American funnyman delivers confident performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With the swagger of an over-confident prize-fighter, American comic Tom Rhodes roams his stage ready to land punchline after punchline. But first he has some business to attend to regards his history with the Gilded Balloon, reminiscing the time he…

Dan Schreiber: C*ckblocked from Outer Space

13 Aug 20143 stars

Lively and engaging hour of geek comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The term ‘geek’ has enjoyed singular meanings in the past, such as a sideshow act involving biting the heads off chickens, which draw on its etymology as meaning ‘fool’. This flipped in the latter half of the 20th century, becoming a pejorative term for…

One Man Breaking Bad

13 Aug 20143 stars

A mixed bag of meth-based comedy

Miles Allen’s commitment to Breaking Bad cannot be over-estimated. He claims to have become almost Jehovah Witness-like in his devotion, doorstepping strangers to tell them the good news about his favourite show. Luckily, he’s preaching to the converted…

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Winter is Coming

13 Aug 20142 stars

Messy non-tribute to Game of Thrones is simply all over the place

Edinburgh has officially gone Game of Thrones crazy. Jack ‘Joffrey’ Gleeson is in town with his theatre sketch group, Diana Rigg will be discussing bad theatre reviews and George RR Martin is popping up at the Book Festival.

Danny Mcloughlin Feels Alright

13 Aug 20142 stars

'Competitive dad'-themed 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show doesn’t really cut it

It’s wholly fitting that Danny McLoughlin should be performing Feels Alright in the basement of a pub. His stand-up could actually act as the template for the ‘funny guy entertaining his mates down the pub’ sub-genre that perfectly does the business in…

Mr Swallow: The Musical

13 Aug 20144 stars

Hysterically funny and relentlessly silly musical of Dracula

With the unstoppable force of monstrous nature that is Mr Swallow having pretty much obliterated the competition in Nick Mohammed ’s canon of characters, the next step was almost inevitable: starring in his own musical of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not that…

I Killed Rasputin

13 Aug 20143 stars

Free-wheeling style and strong cast in Richard Herring play at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Comedian/writer Richard Herring's new play has the free-wheeling style of a Marx Brothers comedy, playing fast and loose with historical accuracy- and film noir tropes. Stephanie Williams' gorgeous, ornate set, with large screens which cunningly…

Hooray for Ben Target

13 Aug 20143 stars

Oddity and uniqueness lift curious hour and make for a breath of fresh, daft air at Edinburgh Fringe

The gentle, kind demeanour of Ben Target masks the vicious reality that he is a cold-hearted cynical comedian seeking to destroy both entertainment as we know it and his audience’s fragile confidence. Well, probably not, but it’s difficult to know…