Reviews & features: Comedy

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Let's Be Cops

26 Aug 20143 stars

Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr

The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’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…

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…

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…

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Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

27 Aug 20142 stars

Disappointingly mundane and occasionally mean-spirited show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

While he wets the palette of an audience member by offering them a free shot of Jameson’s, Welsh comic Tommy Rowson’s deadpan delivery is dry as a bone. In itself, such a laidback presence and limited-tone presentation is far from a stand-up crime…

Brydie Lee-Kennedy Repeats On You

27 Aug 20142 stars

Uninspired comedy in need of editing at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Even though this is a free show, it’s still bad form to leave after less than five minutes as a trio did here, one of whom rather rudely waves at our comic for the hour. But the sympathy vote towards Brydie Lee-Kennedy soon dissipates as her tale of LA…

Henry Paker: Unpacked

26 Aug 20143 stars

Rakish wit from one half of Golden Lizard at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For some reason, the ‘dressing-up box’ used by sketch groups has recently become a term imbued with negativity. Instead, Henry Paker comes on stage to show us the contents of his ‘memory box’, as he reflects on his inability to throw away the things…

Francesco De Carlo: Italians Do It Later

26 Aug 20143 stars

Pleasing, Eddie Izzard-inspired Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut from Italian comedian

There is an argument that you should apply the same critical faculties to all comedy equally across the board. It’s a dilemma some comedy award judges have to wrestle with each August. Yet surely there are different criteria for judging a sketch show…

Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly

26 Aug 20144 stars

Intriguing, poignant and funny comedy at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Within ten or so minutes into Monsieur Butterfly, those of a similar age to Alex Horne will probably be sitting wondering: ‘is that what I think it is? No surely not: it bloody well is!’ Yes, Horne is building a massive contraption that is eerily…

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Demi Lardner: Birds with Human Lips

26 Aug 20143 stars

Quirky yet personal comedy set at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is an intriguing debut from the 20-year-old who jointly won So You Think You're Funny? last year and outright won the RAW competition at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in her native Australia. Looking, as she notes, like a young boy with her…

Julian McCullough: Dream Girls

23 Sep 20142 stars

Meek comedy from American comedian at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The mini-flood of American comics to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe didn’t really set much heather alight and the relatively low standard was encompassed perfectly in Julian McCullough’s Dream Girls. He may have a mischievous glint in his eye and Jim…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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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…

Darius Davies' HBÖ Special Uncensored

27 Aug 20142 stars

Confident performance fails to mask thin material at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is one of those gigs when almost everything that could go wrong on the night for a comic actually does. Even with just six in his crowd, including 90s Edinburgh comedy club legend Reg Anderson, Darius Davies feels he is up to the challenge.

Lords of Strut: Chaos

27 Aug 20141 star

Repetitive Irish duo have little to say at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Picture the Chuckle Brothers working from a script by Cannon & Ball and choreographed by New Art Club, possibly under the threat of blackmail. But only if New Art Club had forgotten everything they’d ever learned about dance and comedy. Then you’re…