Comedy, Reviews

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Conor O’Toole's Manhood

19 Aug 20143 stars

Clever and witty writing let down by clumsiness at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

‘It’s quite difficult to fill a show at noon,’ says Conor O’Toole, ‘when apparently a lie-in is the best free show on the Fringe'. Luckily for him, the pillow troupe and duvet ensemble appeared to have been let out early, with the fundamentally likeable…

Alistair Green: Nobody's Twisting Your Arm

19 Aug 20142 stars

Thin material from self-confessed loser at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s ironic that comedians often become rich, overpraised successes by playing the hapless, dateless, penniless non-starter. Alistair Green peddles the line of self-confessed loser and outsider who ‘used to have hope’, and he certainly lays out a varied…

The Twins Macabre: Small Mediums at Large

19 Aug 20144 stars

A series of grisly black comedy vignettes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Ivy and Morris are The Twins Macabre, two psychic siblings that come across like creepy Victorian children trapped in the modern world. Equally influenced by Hammer Horror and the Addams Family, they brilliantly inhabit their characters: Ivy is the…

Billie Was Tap Dancing for the Seagulls

18 Aug 20143 stars

Intrinsically odd and captivating one-woman show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With such an esoteric title, it's hard to know what to expect from Billie Was Tap Dancing for the Seagulls. Yet, even after seeing Katie Bridget O'Brien's one-woman show, it's still hard to know exactly what to make of its intrinsic oddness. She comes…

Sam Brady: Kindness

18 Aug 20143 stars

Departure from typical cynicism in hour of endearing comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s not always easy to stand out as a stand-up in an overflowing Fringe, and in this respect, Sam Brady was dealt an unfortunate hand. The well-seasoned comedian plays just a few exposed bricks away from another act, whose habitually loud audience…

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Standby for Tape Back-up

18 Aug 20143 stars

Arresting performance/video installation mash-up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Like his fellow Aisle 16 poetry boyband-ers – Luke Wright, John Osborne and Joe Dunthorne, to name a few – Ross Sutherland's a talented guy. That's certainly evident in his Fringe show this year, Standby for Tape Backup, a mash-up of drama, comedy…

Seann Walsh: Seann 28

18 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian returns all grown up to deliver well-crafted show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Seann Walsh is a changed man. Having previously regaled audiences at last year’s Fringe with tales of his bachelor lifestyle and Jägerbomb antics, Walsh has since settled down with his girlfriend. Fans needn't worry though, far from peddling smug…

Cal Wilson: It Could Have Been Me

18 Aug 20144 stars

Loveably mad performance from New Zealand comedian with fantastic use of props

Cal Wilson is a thoroughly loveable performer and is also a bit mad. She takes us on a journey through her many and disparate alternative selves, pondering what she might have been had she not ended up a married mother-of-one performing a one-woman show…

Lloyd Langford: Old Fashioned

18 Aug 20143 stars

Solid, dependable and reliably funny stand-up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Welsh comic Lloyd Langford has been bubbling under for a while now as Rhod Gilbert's regular sparring partner (and former flatmate) on radio and TV alongside guests appearances on QI and Russell Howard’s Good News. His show, Old Fashioned, fits the…

Robert Newman's New Theory of Evolution

18 Aug 20143 stars

Comedy veteran puts on engaging show but lacks spark at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Richard Dawkins comes in for a kicking in this show by veteran comedian Robert Newman – and it's a pretty funny one too. In 1993, alongside his erstwhile comedy partner David Baddiel, Newman was once the first comedian to sell out Wembley Stadium. This…

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Clown Slut

18 Aug 20144 stars

Feminism redefined through clowning, dancing and kebabs at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Joanna Griffin's semi-autobiographical one woman show Clown Slut initially seems like a jolly romp through the indignities of university life, but slowly reveals itself as something much sharper. She plays a gauche protagonist, desperate to dance and…

John Robertson: A Nifty History of Evil

18 Aug 20143 stars

A hour of manic, horror-themed comedy storytelling at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

John Robertson begins his routine with its own prequel, a whacked-out retelling of the universe’s creation. The Aussie stand-up then launches into several manic stories involving the Marquis de Sade, Rasputin and Filipino vampires during A Nifty History…

Miranda Sings

17 Aug 20143 stars

Colleen Ballinger performs deft, tone-deaf character comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

‘Haters back off!’ screams the back-drop before Colleen Ballinger aka YouTube superstar Miranda Sings takes to the stage. Later, the scatty Miranda will read out some of the nastier comments that have accompanied her online videos, which have to date…

Josie Long: Cara Josephine

17 Aug 20144 stars

A flawless hour, unequivocally delightful

Josie Long’s handcrafted blend of upbeat whimsy, curiosities and earnestness has attracted a lot of ardent fans and netted her the Best Newcomer award in 2006. Detractors dismissed her as too fluffy and then, when she started to take on more political…

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.

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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…

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…

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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…

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…