Brian Donaldson

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Tim Key: Single White Slut

21 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian returns to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe to upturn comedy conventions

After winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2009 and producing one of the finest comedy-theatre-poetry-bath shows in Fringe history with Masterslut, Tim Key popped by last August to perform his latest work-in-progress. The result one year on is the…

Goose (An Odd New One-Man Comedy Whodunit)

21 Aug 20143 stars

Detective comedy delivered by human whirlwind at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For one solid, breathless, sweating hour, Adam Drake doesn’t let it drop for a single second. If awards were given out for the comedic results of energy and memory alone, Goose would be snapping up every award in town. Maybe not the best poster one, but…

Brent Weibach: Appealing to the Mainstream

21 Aug 20144 stars

Ingenious, inventive comedy from American funnyman at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With so many acts these days trying to amuse audiences with techniques other than jokes and punchlines and whatnot, the notion of anti-comedy appears to have been watered down to mild drizzle. Brent Weinbach stirs it right back up again with an…

Neil Hamburger

21 Aug 20143 stars

Gregg Turkinson's monstrous creation is a true original at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Neil Hamburger could well be a once-in-a-lifetime comic. For sure, Gregg Turkington’s monstrous creation is a true original, a man who thinks he should be a showbiz legend but has been worn down by failure and his own self-loathing to the point where…

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa

21 Aug 20144 stars

Exquistite one-person multi-character act at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are surely few one-person multi-character acts at the Fringe with as much talent to burn as Joseph Morpurgo. His Odessa hour has ambition by the bucketload and he possesses both the dramatic and comedic tools to carry it off with ease. Starting…

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Josh Howie: AIDS: A Survivor's Story

20 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian on top of his game and unafraid to test crowd's limits at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Calling your show AIDS: A Survivor’s Story is one thing. Riffing for an hour on and around the disease which had a generation permanently on edge is a tough sell. At one point, Josh Howie even claims that his agent baulked when he first proposed this…

Ivo Graham: Bow Ties and Johnnies

20 Aug 20144 stars

Talented young comedian delivers fine hour of comedy at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As a successful young Etonian, Ivo Graham has probably not had much experience of re-sits. Yet, here he is asking a group of lads in his front row to re-arrange themselves to avoid any further disruption. Being a child of privilege this should almost…

James Acaster: Recognise

20 Aug 20143 stars

2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show fails to live up to majesty of previous form

Last Fringe, a chance encounter with James Acaster’s father led him to berating me for only awarding his little boy four stars. Let’s hope our paths don’t cross again this August once papa Acaster gets wind of this three-star slating. The fact remains…

Kevin Day: Standy Uppy

20 Aug 20144 stars

Delicious line of black comedy runs through show at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s been seen many times before that a comic returning to the Fringe after a decade or more’s absence proves to be less than match-fit for a gruelling August. A steward’s enquiry won’t be necessary after Kevin Day’s run of Standy Uppy is over; he’s…

Chris Turner: Pretty Fly

20 Aug 20143 stars

Gags and impressive ad-libbing abound in archaeologist's comedy show

Chris Turner has a little warning sign ready to let us know that a pun is on the way. Holding the microphone at a higher, slightly awkward angle is the cue for his crowd to brace itself ahead of a spot of wordplay that will either make us laugh out loud…

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Alun Cochrane: (Me Neither)

20 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian returns to Edinburgh Festival Fringe with yet more brilliant no-frills stand-up comedy

There are many things that you can rely on during an Edinburgh August: aggressive flyering and passive-aggressive rainfall being two. A third is that Alun Cochrane will deliver a warm and witty hour of comedy (probably at his second home of The Stand).

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…

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…

My Comedy Hero by Loretta Maine

15 Aug 2014

Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedian on why Sandra Bernhard's intelligent comedy inspires her

I first saw Sandra Bernhard when I was a kid watching Roseanne. I liked Roseanne because it made my family life look like The Waltons (only with less dungarees). I particularly admired the way Sandra spoke loud and was not a sexy character. I mean she…

Sketch duo Cardinal Burns make a welcome return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

13 Aug 2014

Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns, having garnered telly success, are coming back to live comedy

It was way back in the dry sands of historical time, 2009 to be precise, that Cardinal Burns first made their way into the public’s psyche. Their 2009 show in the titchy Pleasance Attic (where everyone from the little known Katy Wix, Anna Crilly and…

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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…

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…

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…

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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…

Andy De La Tour

12 Aug 20142 stars

Lukewarm observations from alt-com trooper at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are just four years between comedy veterans Andy de la Tour and Alexei Sayle but their Fringe returns have proved to be a world apart. Last year, Sayle rolled back the years with a raucous set which had packed Stand crowds breathless with…

Nick Helm's Two Night Stand in The Grand

12 Aug 20143 stars

Flesh, self-abuse and lewdness abound in bombastic show

‘Don’t fuck this up’ is one of Nick Helm’s rallying cries for this ‘two-night stand at the Grand’. The character he portrays on stage (bombastic, spiteful, lewd and very, very loud) appears to be on a solo mission to achieve exactly that. ‘This is…

Danny Ward: Infra Dig

12 Aug 20143 stars

So-so comedy show hampered by the host's own politeness at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Danny Ward had a lot to contend with on this showing of his Infra Dig hour. On the front row to his left, a trio of girls giggling at their own jokes; on the front row to his right, Todd from Corrie accompanied by a small boy wearing headphones. Ever…

Luke McQueen: Now That's What I Luke McQueen

12 Aug 20143 stars

Ballsy comedian delivers genuine edge of the seat show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There’s one thing you can’t accuse Luke McQueen of and that’s not being totally committed to his craft. The mask barely drops for a second as he plays a man not so much on the brink, but one who’s gone past the precipice and is hanging on by his badly…