Reviews & features: Comedy

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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…

The Rubberbandits

16 Aug 20132 stars

Difficult transition from Youtube to stage for the Irish rapping duo

Irish comedy rappers The Rubberbandits are a Youtube phenomenon, their song “Horse Outside” has been seen over 10million times. So how do you go about translating internet notoriety into a full festival set? Not one would argue by playing all your best…

Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade

16 Aug 20134 stars

The Balkan bad boys go straight to Hell in this unmissable comedy sequel

After the dramatic finale of their previous adventure, Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade, accompanies the infamous brothers on an unforgettable journey to the underworld that tests their unique brotherly bond to its limit. A mixture of physical…

Shelby Bond

16 Aug 20133 stars

Easy-going, affable and inclusive stage persona is a late-night hit

Given he’s got a late night spot in a dingy subterranean room in a city centre drinking hole, one assumes this American stand-up will be loud and brash and foul-mouthed enough to deal with anything a difficult, drunk nocturnal crowd will throw at him.

Garrett Millerick: Does it Matter?

16 Aug 20133 stars

Safely left wing and pretty obvious rhetoric from the angry comic

It's a wonder that Garrett Millerick doesn't burst a blood vessel during his show; particularly as he has to get this annoyed every night for almost a month. He's a very angry young man. He's 30, unmarried (though he came close), lives with a bunch of…

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Shirley Gnome

16 Aug 20132 stars

Not-so-well-crafted filthy material leads to a dull show

After the third song focused on below the belt activities you start to wonder whether the whole show's going to be like this. The answer is quite simply, yes. The level of the filth isn't the problem, there are many good acts on the Fringe gloriously…

Micheal Che: Cartoon Violence

16 Aug 20134 stars

The New York comic shows skill at delivering solid material in front of a tough crowd

At the end, this tough, young, sharp comic who came up from New York City’s projects apologises for it being a ‘strange show’. Michael Che is referring to the row of humourless hecklers in the front who piped up intermittently, occasionally in a…

Shit-faced Shakespeare

16 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered performance and cackhandedly mangled drama

Of all the comedy twists the works of the Bard have been given over the years, this inspired one is a potentially perfect fit for a late night at the Fringe. The idea is simple: a Shakespeare play is staged in an entirely serious manner by the cast…

Mat Ewins: Once Upon a Time in the Jest

16 Aug 20132 stars

Comic's routine finds itself wandering aimlessly into mediocrity

He wants to be different and to do the best he can – warm sentiments that occupy the core of Mat Ewins’ time-lapse history lesson. But this routine, delivered with the best intentions in the world, finds itself wandering aimlessly into mediocrity.

Rob Carter: Murder (and other hobbies)

16 Aug 20132 stars

Musical comedy from Mr. Nice guy trying to act tough

Rob Carter is ‘a real bad arse’, he announces in clipped West Sussex vowels. Swathed in John Lewis cashmere, fresh from a ten grand drama school course, he is all too aware that his anecdotes about an ‘anarchic’ childhood (running away from his…

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Pat Cahill: Start

16 Aug 20132 stars

Hard to find a footing in this hasty hodge-podge of a show

Pat Cahill begins by explaining how it’s hard to start – though in fact once he gets going it’s hard to stop him. It’s all too rushed in this confused jumble of a show, with erudite observations flying by amongst inane remarks, without giving the…

Paul Pirie: Me

16 Aug 20132 stars

Dundonian comic's routine derails thoughout

Alongside his free Fringe show, Dundonian comic Paul Pirie also makes an appearance at Best of Scottish Comedian of the Year. At times, it’s hard to see how he was booked for the latter, after enduring a set in which he derails throughout, with…

Simon Evans: Leashed

16 Aug 20133 stars

Successful material about everyday things

Simon Evans has a mightily long list of television appearances and writing credits to his name and, as a result, draws a large crowd. His familiarity with the limelight and comfort with chatting with an audience leads to him eating up a large chunk of…

Terry Clement: Din Time 8

16 Aug 20132 stars

Innocent, happy go lucky persona that doesn't quite hit the mark

Hallucinatory comic Terry Clement brings his first full-length show to the Fringe all the way from Canada, unclassifiable humour chaotically in tow. From his opening gambit – a parody spoken word piece in which he describes idly watching a turtle on a…

AntiGraham

16 Aug 20133 stars

The sketch crew Graham on the right tracks to produce a jaw dropping Fringe set

Not sure what sketch crew Graham did to have a negative applied to this year’s almost-eponymous show title, but the positive outweighs any genuine downsides to this sprightly hour. You may recognise the quartet from their School of Comedy days and with…

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Mixed Doubles

16 Aug 20132 stars

Young foursome present pop culture sketches with mixed results

’Aaand, that’s why kittens love twine’, simpers one particularly dreary Scottish folk musician, coming to the end of another whimsical, truly insipid ballad, as an imaginary guest on Later... With Jools Holland. Game of Thrones, Benny Hill and The…

Phil Ellis: Unplanned Orphan

16 Aug 20134 stars

Unlikely tale told by a comedian who knows his business

Anything we tell you about this show will spoil it. Seriously. Stop reading now and just buy a ticket. And don't go reading anything by less scrupulous reviewers either. You're still reading? OK. We'll do our best. At the age of 30 Phil Ellis found…

Short & Curly: A Ripe Pear

16 Aug 20133 stars

Sketch comedy duo don't let any opportunity for a laugh escape

A sketch comedy duo who, like the name suggests, are identifiable by their stature and hair type, respectively. The first sketch, set aboard the RMS Titanic, could have easily drifted into the treacherous waters of French and Saunders' famous parody…

Simply the Jest

16 Aug 20134 stars

Good solid writing and delightfully silly sketches

Simply the Jest perform pared down almost prop-less sketches, which is probably a very good thing given that there are nine of them and there's barely enough space on the stage. It's a gag in itself on the rare occasion that they all perform in the same…

Panda Suit, Pythagoras and Plenty of Puns

16 Aug 20132 stars

New York comic's routine and puns lack structural integrity

Although he doesn't say so outright, Nikhil Tilwalli is obviously a fan of Saussurean linguistics, in which there is always a gap between a word and what it represents leading to problems in communication. After drawing in the audience with a title that…

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Zoe Lyons - Pop-up Comic

16 Aug 20134 stars

Incredulous fast talking way honed to perfection

Pop-up Comic may well refer to the irrepressible Lyons’ ability to find work (or ‘be available’, as she puts it) in the oddest of places – she takes the piss gently out of herself for appearances on Celebrity Pointless and University Challenge (‘Not…

Ben Champion: Human

16 Aug 20132 stars

Musical comedy that could be watched at home

Musical comedian Ben Champion faces the difficult task of transforming a series of three-minute ditties into a fully-fledged hour. Choosing the theme of 'being human', he certainly gives himself a lot of scope to work within. Skipping between…

Markus Birdman: Happily Ever After

16 Aug 20133 stars

Engaging guide through his personal turmoil

It’s not been a good couple of years for Markus Birdman. Last year’s show was about how at the age of 40 he had a stroke. This year his material comes from the fact that he has just split from his partner of 14 years and is heartbroken. The recency…

Leeds Tealights: The Ultimate Indoor Experience

16 Aug 20133 stars

Fringe experienced foresome aren't afraid to plunge into the dark side

This is one of the most slickly choreographed sketch shows at the Fringe, it's a feat of co-ordination that no one falls off the tiny stage. This year's four strong Tealights troupe certainly form a tight and tidy team. Formed in 2005 at the…

The Prima Party Scrapbook

16 Aug 20131 star

A messy performance lacking coherent narrative

Matthew Squance attempts to reconstruct a drug-fuelled London party in this chaotic, uncomfortable one-man show. On entering the venue, the audience are all handed a pair of glowsticks – and this, unfortunately, is the most exciting thing to happen in…