Reviews & features: Comedy

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Chris Coltrane: Compassion is Subversive

22 Aug 20132 stars

Political comic never quite hits the mark

As he steps on stage in front of a full house, Chris Coltrane enquires if we are all aware that this will be a political comedy show. Duly warned, the audience endures a long hour of idealistic views and Tory-bashing begins. Part activist and part…

Mat Ricardo: Showman

22 Aug 20133 stars

An potent act aided by a showbiz-slick performance

Mat Ricardo has done his time and served an apprenticeship in street clowning and reaching the Fringe stage, he has an act that is potent aided by a performance that is showbiz-slick. It’s hard not to fault a magic act (in this case, a juggler) if they…

Briefs: The Second Coming

21 Aug 20133 stars

Aerial trickery, vaudeville, smuttiness and muscles combine for a brilliant bonkers show

Elaborate dick pouches, man-dogs and defecation are just some of the high – and low – lights of a Briefs show, as occasionally brilliant as it is totally bonkers. A fabulous Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-inspired opening sets the tone for an all-male…

Adam Page

21 Aug 20133 stars

Multi-instrumental comedy from the hirsute, high-spirited Aussie

Adam Page has an almighty beard and he’s not afraid to use it. The high-spirited Australian’s show starts with a cacophonous demonstration of loop pedals and a request that the house lights go down because people – apparently – make him nervous. If…

Comedy Fringe Debut: Juliette Burton

20 Aug 2013

Comedian's debut solo show is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘Go for it!’ After two years of performing as part of a comedy duo, I was offered the chance to perform my debut solo show at the Gilded Balloon this…

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Fringe comedy debut: Ronny Chieng

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘Adapt to Edinburgh's weather by bringing outerwear that repels water but is easy to take off, and is warm, but not too warm.’ After considering my…

Fringe comedy debut: Phil Ellis

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T DO IT!’: most comedians. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? ‘Always remember that the…

Fringe comedy debut: Jacob Edwards

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Make sure you take sun cream. As everyone knows, the Edinburgh Festival is usually a month of prolonged and intense sunshine. During previous visits…

Fringe comedy debut: Ivo Graham

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? The show is hardly going to benefit from any work in the last couple of weeks before the Fringe. Devote all your time to thinking up funny answers to…

Comedy Fringe Debut: Al Lubel

20 Aug 2013

American Comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Showing up is 80%. So you better do more than show up. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Showing up is 80%. So just show…

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Fringe comedy debut: Benny Davis

20 Aug 2013

Human Jukebox appears for his debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? One word: plastics. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? One word: Dracula. Imagine this is September: looking back at…

Fringe comedy debut: Paul Currie

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Never mix up ‘flyering’ and ‘fisting’ up the Royal Mile What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Fisting works just as well as…

Fringe comedy debut: Chris Fitchew

20 Aug 2013

The comedian presents his debut solo show at the Fringe 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Avoid the late night bars! What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Avoid the late night bars! Imagine this is September…

Fringe comedy debut: Dan Cook

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Remember to change your pounds to Euros. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Crying in front of an audience elicits…

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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Alexei Sayle

20 Aug 20135 stars

A masterclass from the alternative comedy pioneer

Without naming any names, a number of British comics who were big in the 80s and 90s have returned to the stand-up stage. Their comeback appearances merely proved that they made a wise move stopping in the first place. With this breath-taking hour…

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…

Henson Alternative's Puppet Up! Uncensored

20 Aug 20133 stars

A two level adult-orientated puppet show by the Jim Henson Company

The Jim Henson Company step away from their Muppet legacy to create something a little more adult-orientated. Chaired by Brian Henson (son of Jim), the company revel in semi-controlled anarchy and improvisation with strings attached. Host Patrick…

Luke and Harry's Journey to Sex Colony 01

20 Aug 20134 stars

Baffling but really kind of wonderful creepy sci-fi odyssey

Subtitled ‘Journey to Sex Colony 01’ Luke Davies and Harry Carr’s show is a vaguely creepy sci-fi odyssey. It's as far removed from stand-up as you can get, the entire show is an immersive experience. Most of the audience will only sway, chant and dance…

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Fred MacAulay

20 Aug 20134 stars

The dependable Fringe regular shows his talent as a raconteur

Celebrating a quarter century of consecutive Fringes, Fred MacAulay is one of the most dependable Scottish comedians around. Playing this year in the Assembly Ballroom, he initially feels disconnected from the audience and his early forays into banter…

Lucy Frederick - In Pursuit of Cool

20 Aug 20132 stars

Wild-eyed and delirious comedian would gain in tapping into her concealed madness

Lucy Frederick really wants to be Miranda Hart. Although she never admits this over her sporadically amusing hour, it infuses everything about her performance, from her bumbling middle class demeanour and her attempts at physical comedy to her abject…

Russell Kane: Smallness

20 Aug 20134 stars

Physical fun and mind-tickling delights

Russell Kane wanted to see the ‘whites of their eyes’ for this Fringe run of Smallness in the titchiest venue he could find at the Pleasance. Lucky people in nightly clumps of 55 gained access to an act who is more used to playing in front of…

Robin (A One-Man Comedy)

20 Aug 20133 stars

Adam Drake gives fully committed performance of sheer absurdity

For the last few years Adam Drake has been playing around with a revolving cast of various characters and scenarios and innovative structuring that brings them all together for maximum impact. This year, his show takes place in a provincial tv studio…

Eric and Little Ern

20 Aug 20134 stars

Hugely enjoyable piece of comedic theatre, more than just a tribute to Morecambe & Wise

Ernie Wise lies in a hospital bed in the final moments of his life. In waltzes his white coated doctor, picks up his notes, turns to the audience and with a gentle push up the nose of his thick rimmed spectacles becomes Wise's 15-years-dead comedy…