Comedy, Reviews, Niki Boyle

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Larry Dean: Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013

3 Aug 20142 stars

An amiable hour that goes nowhere

The show title Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013 isn’t one that inspires a lot of hope in this comedy reviewer. For a start, it’s just lazy – unlike, say, Stewart Lee’s 41st Best Stand-Up, there’s no sense of ironic detachment. Secondly, it has the…

Witching and Bitching

27 Feb 20143 stars

Alex de la Iglesia's action-horror-comedy starts well but stumbles halfway through

Cult director Alex de la Iglesia owes a lot to Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn in this fast-paced action-horror-comedy. As with FDTD, Witching and Bitching picks up with a gang of crooks on the run following a heist. Instead of hiding out in a…

Calvary

27 Feb 20144 stars

Brendan Gleeson, Dylan Moran and Chris O'Dowd star in a thoughtful Catholic comedy-drama

Brendan Gleeson and John Michael McDonagh reteam following lacklustre 2011 comedy The Guard in this much more thoughtful examination of Catholic guilt. They're joined by the cream of Irish film and TV talent, including Chris O'Dowd, Dylan Moran, Aidan…

Comedian Rap Battles – The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 15 Jan 2014

16 Jan 20143 stars

A hit-and-miss night of comedic verbal jousting, featuring The Wee Man and Jellybean Martinez

The traditional rap battle has its roots in US inner-city playground game The Dozens, in which two opponents take turns to sling insults at each other (often but not always pertaining to the size or promiscuity of one’s momma). The game has been adapted…

Joke Thieves

20 Aug 20133 stars

A decent mixed line-up of performers nicking each other’s sets

The practise of joke-stealing is so frowned upon in modern comedy circles, it’s bewildering to think that it’s become the central concept in a show – and a successful one at that. On the evening of this sold-out performance (many audience members had to…

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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 Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She’s Dead

10 Aug 20143 stars

Amusing monologue on teenage years from Fresh Meat from Kick-Ass actress

Sophie Wu is currently forging a decent acting career for herself, picking up supporting roles in the Kick-Ass franchise and Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. She wasn’t always so successful, though: in her teenage years, she suffered intense bullying at the…

George Ryegold: Iron Face in a Velvet Beard

10 Aug 20143 stars

Sturdily constructed and potent Edinburgh Fringe show from disgraced medic

Disgraced medic George Ryegold has an impeccable and reassuring bedside manner. He wears a fuzzy beard and corduroy jacket; his speech is peppered with avuncular Old Etonionisms (everything’s ‘bloody’ or ‘a bugger’); and his Radio 4-friendly voice is…

Foil, Arms and Hog

9 Aug 20142 stars

Likeable enough trio suffer from acute lack of originality

You’ll find nothing especially wrong with affable Irish sketch trio Foil, Arms and Hog. You’ll go along and be vicariously charmed by how much fun they seem to be having on stage; you’ll be swept up in the merriment of the battle of the mimes, or the…

Jay-Z and Me: A Fast-talking Memoir

8 Aug 20142 stars

Impressive mastery of Hova's verses fails to disguise empty plot at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

60-year-old New Yorker Brenda Cullerton is a massive Jay-Z fan. Forced to attend his concerts alone (her husband isn’t a hip hop fan; her children are too embarrassed), she stands in awe of the man whose love of words equals her own, and whose…

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Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked

5 Aug 20143 stars

Blacker-than-black comedy has solid in-depth character study but lacks significant story-line

When booking tickets for this blacker-than-black comedy, it may be worth bearing in mind the words of Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell, who, upon hearing that rock band the Shitty Beatles make awful music, quips: ‘So it’s not just a clever name.’ Yes, the…

Life After Beth

25 Jun 20144 stars

Superlative zombie dramedy starring Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick and John C Reilly

‘Imagine The Graduate, but with zombies.’ That seems to have been Jeff Baena’s brief for Life After Beth, a ‘zomromcom’ that couldn’t be further from the Shaun of the Dead vibe that label suggests. Dane DeHaan is expertly cast as Zach, a gothier version…

LFO

24 Feb 20143 stars

Lo-fi black comedy about a trance-inducing sound engineer

Maladjusted sound technician Robert (Patrik Karlson) has stumbled upon an amazing discovery: a sound frequency which immediately puts the listener into a hypnotic trance, susceptible to any suggestion they might hear. Armed with speakers, a pair of…

Bill Burr – O2 Academy, Glasgow, Wed 4 Dec 2013

17 Dec 20133 stars

The US comedian struggles with venue difficulties but wins out overall

There are a couple of stumbling blocks on this first date of Bill Burr’s UK tour. Glasgow’s O2 Academy is a tad too expansive for a comedy gig, leading to problems with both sound quality and temperature (rather than complain about audience members…

DVD review: Sharknado

7 Oct 20132 stars

Seriously silly aquatic disaster flick starring Ian Ziering, Jaason Simmons and Tara Reid

Let’s acknowledge one thing from the off: Sharknado is only too aware of how trashy a film it is. The tagline reads, ‘Enough Said!’ The cast includes D-list stars from Baywatch (Jaason Simmons) and Beverly Hills 90210 (Ian Ziering). There’s a reliance…

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The Horne Section

27 Aug 20132 stars

Disappointing off night for the usually on-form Horne and his comedy-music hybrid

At one point early in tonight’s show, special guest James Walmsley (formerly of muso-comedy group Dead Cat Bounce) declares that ‘this hasn’t been rehearsed’. Unfortunately, this is more than obvious. Although there’s a certain sense of tightness…

Brendon Burns & Colt Cabana

20 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable hour of wrestling-themed entertainment

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a Fifty-Seater Around Midnight and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches is, as Burns quickly points out, not a misleading title. Aussie comedian Burns is right at home with his audience of Lycra-loving…

Essential Tom Stade: 12 Nights Only!

20 Aug 20133 stars

Likeable re-run of old ideas

Remember Tom Stade’s early bit on Chinese casinos? How about the incendiary ‘Meat Van Guy’ sketch that broke him on McIntyre’s Road Show? If you loved these skits first time round and want to relive them, you’re in luck: Tom Stade is playing his…

The Bravery Test

20 Aug 20134 stars

Touching spoken-word comedy show about sibling worship

Angus Dunican is not your average stand-up. Not for him are casual observations about electrical appliances or the difference between the sexes. Instead, he litters his deeply personal story about growing up aspiring to be his brother with such astute…

Seann Walsh

16 Aug 20133 stars

Some truly inspired moments amidst material very much by the numbers

There are a few moments in Seann Walsh’s set – which, predictably, is about how difficult blokes find it to grow up – where he seems to want more from his audience. He gestures to a guy in the front row who ‘hasn’t laughed since the wanking bit’; when…

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Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra

14 Aug 20133 stars

More bizarre absurdity in Twonkey's latest journey to some very strange places

You have to be fully committed when you sign up for a Twonkey show. Through his frequent flights of bizarre absurdity, the man only occasionally known as Paul Vickers (of The Leg and John Peel favourites Dawn of the Replicants) will take you on a…

Dave Callan

13 Aug 20132 stars

Study of comedy from Irish-Australian comic that wanders from core subject

In his 1913 book The Psychology of Laughter, academic Boris Sidis delved into the psyche to analyse why we find things funny. In his show of the same name, Irish-Australian comic Dave Callan aims to bring to light Siris’ findings. While he succeeds in…

Lee Kern: Bitter Twitter

13 Aug 20132 stars

Wannabe blue-badged Twitter elite

Like many social networkers among us, Lee Kern is a man who both embraces technology and resents it. He wants to be one of the blue-badged Twitter elite: a genuine, verifiable celebrity who swaps jokes with his A-list cronies and can generate 400…

Brendon Burns Hasn't Heard of You Either

8 Aug 20133 stars

Warm but scattershot hour of candid comedy

Despite what you may have heard – about the loudness, the swearing, the inappropriate comments regarding disability – it’s hard not to warm to this older, perhaps slightly softened version of Brendon Burns. No longer the bullet-headed bull of old, he…

The Dark Room

6 Aug 20134 stars

Hilarious YouTube skit made flesh by John Robertson

’You awake to find yourself in a dark room.’ Fans of John Robertson will be familiar with the refrain that plagues his fiendishly difficult – some say impossible-to-complete – tribute to the text-based adventure games of early 1980s computer gaming…