Brian Donaldson

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Billy Connolly climbs aboard his High Horse for Scottish tour

19 Sep 2014

The Big Yin is back on the road following a series of high profile health scares

When news of his illnesses broke last year, there was one thing that his fans knew for certain, if he ever managed to get back on the road and tour again, Billy Connolly would be using his personal crises for material. And sure enough, recent press…

Crackanory

19 Sep 20144 stars

Iconic TV show returns for new series featuring Vic Reeves and the late Rik Mayall at his best

When Rik Mayall appeared in a 1986 episode of Jackanory reading George’s Marvellous Medicine, his idiosyncratic take on Roald Dahl’s tale was, inevitably, loved by the kids, and pooh-poohed by a small number of parents. ‘Dangerous and offensive’ they…

Things You Might Not Know About . . . Aisling Bea

19 Sep 2014

Some lesser known facts about the Irish comedian

1 Aisling Bea’s late grandfather Micheál O’Suilleabháin was a Gaelic novelist and poet, her grand-aunt Siobhán Ní Shúilleabháin is a prolific Gaelic writer and dramatist and her mother is a retired professional flat race jockey. 2 She studied French…

The Driver

16 Sep 20143 stars

David Morrissey, Ian Hart and Colm Meaney star in BBC cab driver crime drama

Even if you’re bored and miserable, 'be happy with your safe lot' seems to be the clarion cry message of this three-parter. David Morrissey plays Vince, a cabbie who is made to feel worthless at home (by a dismissive wife and sullen daughter) and…

‘When I’m not performing, I’m in bed with an Ovaltine and DVD by 9pm' - Danny Bhoy interview

15 Sep 2014

The observational Dumfriesshire stand-up comedian declares that, 'For me, funny is the theme'

There’s a lot of crazy surrealist comedy on the go over the next few weeks what with Paul Foot, Tony Law and Ross Noble leaving absurdist footprints all over the country and frenetically chucking tangents around like a No strategist dreaming up…

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Cilla

12 Sep 20142 stars

Sheridan Smith and Aneurin Barnard work with humdrum raw material in insipid biopic

Given that her TV appearances these days seem limited to a news soundbite whenever the latest of her contemporaries gets either Yewtreed or convicted, it’s hard to imagine that Cilla Black was once hot showbusiness property. But here she gets the…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

Joz Norris: Awkward Prophet

11 Sep 20142 stars

Claustrophobic comedy hour lacking everyman appeal at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When it comes to Joz Norris’ material, it’s unapologetically bright, colourful and not a little garish. Sadly, this particular material is related more to the Hawaiian-style garb on his back than the stuff that comes out of his mouth during the…

Eleanor Morton: Lollipop

11 Sep 20142 stars

Comedian at the early learning stage of her comedy development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Making your audience uncertain as to whether they are in fact witnessing a well-defined comic persona in action is a real trick to pull off. The tension between what’s real and what’s not has stood many a fine comic creation in good stead, and Eleanor…

Tyrant

10 Sep 20142 stars

The creators of 24 and Homeland deliver a ropy script and even ropier cast choices in new series

Anyone expecting subtlety from a show created by various folk who were involved in 24 and Homeland is the kind of person who thinks that peace in the Middle East will be announced tomorrow. Tyrant has been dubbed in some quarters as a Dallas for the…

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Cucumber, Banana, Gotham, The Knick: this autumn's best TV shows

10 Sep 2014

Toast of London and Broadchurch revamp Gracepoint also among our highlights

In 1999, Russell T Davies helped remould the British TV landscape with Queer as Folk. After resurrecting the Time Lord for a whole new generation, he’s returning to his Channel 4 roots for three separate series, linked by a vivid exploration of modern…

Scott Capurro - Islamohomophobia: Reloaded

10 Sep 20143 stars

A comedy mish-mash of new bits with tried and tested material at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Entertainingly catty as ever, the San Francisco comic is proud to boast a new husband, but you wouldn’t know it given the amount of undermining of his betrothed that is uttered here. Scott Capurro’s chap is Brazilian and therefore an inspiration to…

A guide the top comedy clubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, featuring The Stand and some others

10 Sep 2014

Also featuring Vespbar, State Bar, Halt Bar, Beehive Inn, Footlights and Gilded Ballon at Drygate

It’s almost impossible to even mention the words ‘comedy in Scotland’ and not go into full-blown praise mode about The Stand. The two purpose-built venues in Glasgow (333 Woodlands Road) and Edinburgh (5 York Place) are not only among the best stand-up…

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…

Interview: 8 Out of 10 Cats' Jon Richardson discusses nidiots and being happy

27 Aug 2014

'This is the first time I've toured as a happy person. Fingers crossed that something goes wrong'

Perhaps it’s his obsessive nature that keeps him so intently focussed, but Jon Richardson shows few signs of slipping from the high spot he has earned in the top echelons of modern British stand-up. He had his own documentary on Channel 4 last year, A…