Tommy Sheridan (4 stars)

Tommy Sheridan

Chat show with venom

Tommy Sheridan loses his Fringe virginity with all the vigour, shouting and charm one may have expected. On a stage set with a throne, Daily Record placards screaming all the headlines we wish we’d never seen (‘Four Times a Night Tommy Liked to Be Whipped’) and a revolving sunbed beckoning the next guest, Sheridan owns the stage, and everything about this show says so. There is bravado in his not-quite concealed bitterness towards the well-publicised things that rile him, and plenty of venom spewed in those general directions, but Sheridan is a genial host.

The first to admit he’s ‘no comedian’, his shtick nonetheless serves well to make way for the humour carted along by his guests. Circuit veterans Des McLean and Des Clarke plus TV’s Karen Dunbar all delivered gags at breakneck pace, pausing only to poke fun at Sheridan who, roaring with laughter and banging the leather arm rest of his throne, seemed at times like a demented Guy Smiley. A chat show like few others on this year’s Fringe, and although dependent on the changing cast of guests, there’s more than enough here to sate curiosity, stir and entertain.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, until 26 Aug (not 15, 23), 7.15pm, £10–£11 (£6–£7).

The Tommy Sheridan Chat Show

  • 4 stars

One of Scotland's most controversial, and suprisingly charming, political figures chats to different special guests every day and ripping into the tabloids. Over 16s only. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007'.