Reviews & features: Comedy, Anna Millar

32 reviews

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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…

Full programme announced for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

30 May 2013

New shows from Ontroerend Goed, Michael Nyman and Brendon Burns among highlights

After a month of being drip fed nuggets, the full Fringe feast has been revealed, with a whopping 2,871 shows performed by 24,107 artists in 273 venues across Edinburgh up for grabs. From X-rated puppet musicals and guerrilla style pop-ups to the London…

Bob Downe . . . Smokin'

22 Aug 20122 stars

Style over substance

From the minute he pirouettes onto stage all 70s gear, mega-watt grin and fake blonde hair, it’s clear Aussie’s ‘clown prince of polyester’ is having a ball, as he knocks out one karaoke hit after another and embarks on some name-that-tune competitions.

Man 1 Bank 0

17 Aug 20123 stars

Patrick Combs takes on the money men

Half the challenge of putting on a great show at the Fringe is about finding a great story, and Patrick Combs certainly has that. Better still, it’s true. A young man, with a sea of credit card debt, deposits a $95,093.35 junk mail cheque into his local…

Holly Burn: The H Club

11 Aug 20123 stars

Eccentric sketches imbued with a liberating lack of reason

To say that Holly Burn is a bit bonkers, is like saying Edinburgh gets a bit busy during August. A familiar face on the Fringe scene, Burn’s barmy Geordie shtick seems to bemuse, confuse -- and when she hits the right note -- amuse her audience in equal…

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The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle

8 Aug 20124 stars

Savvy set design and excellent soundtrack in provoking limbo-land tragicomedy

Eric Argyle died at 11.42am two days ago; yet here he is, heart aching, mind racing in a confusing laboratory-cum-limbo-land. The Life and Sort... is another highly accomplished piece from the team behind last year’s success Minute After Midday. 15th…

Josh Widdicombe

7 Aug 20124 stars

Fast-rising funnyman entertains with acute observational humour

‘The Guardian called me a geezer today’ announces Josh Widdicombe, as he wanders onto the stage, looking less ‘Geez a go’, more shaggy-haired boy next door. ‘So watch it, or I’ll knife you and that.’ He laughs, we laugh. If this fast-rising funnyman…

Jigsy

6 Aug 20123 stars

Nostalgic yet brave tale of a comedian past his prime, starring Les Dennis

It’s a brave man who takes on the role of an ageing, fading comedian. Braver still, if you’re Les Dennis – as well known for his Family Fortunes success, as his more recent foray into the dismal world of Celebrity Big Brother. Both are swiftly…

Milo McCabe: Kenny Moon This is Your Life

6 Aug 20123 stars

Bemusing character comedy from Milo and his dad

It’s all a bit barmy in the Gilded Balloon’s Billiard Room, as character chameleon Milo McCabe brings his unique brand of funny to this year’s Fringe. Irish comedy legend Kenny Moon (played by McCabe’s real-life father and New Faces star, Mike McCabe…

Lie. Cheat. Steal. Confessions of a Real Hustler

5 Aug 20122 stars

Slightly underwhelming show from Paul Wilson, writer and star of BBC3'S The Real Hustle

It’s a tricky old business recreating small screen success on the theatre stage, but Paul Wilson, writer and star of BBC3’s The Real Hustle handles it with reasonable gusto, albeit in a far more confined environment. It was The Sting movie, which…

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Lucy Porter - People Person

3 Aug 20122 stars

All sugar no spice: grit lacking from nice girl performance

Yes, yes: it’s easy to knock the nice girl act. But as her fans will attest, that’s exactly what Lucy Porter is. Far from ripping off the shackles of her ‘lovely wee lass’ persona, Porter embraces it with People Person. Back on the Fringe scene after a…

Andrew Doyle does Whatever It Takes

3 Aug 20123 stars

'Bad Catholic' Doyle's has prayers answered

Former teacher and ‘predatory’ homosexual Andrew Doyle has all the makings of a class act. Having doled out cards asking us what we think is ‘most likely to turn on’ our fellow audience members, he’s off on a rambunctious verbal riot of smarts and…

Rich Hall

23 Aug 20113 stars

Political bashings a definite highlight

With his gravelly drawl and laidback delivery, Hall is easy company. His American/‘Scots’ comparisons have a crowd-pleasing ring, so too a funny skit about bears (particularly the Yogi variety), but his political musings and reflections on the world’s…

Pistol & Jack: SMASH*GLAM*SEX*MUSIC

23 Aug 20113 stars

Hyper, pop comedy lacks some focus

Even the most precious mainstream music-lover should raise a smile at a mash-up of Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Madonna and The Doors, as pop princess Pistol and sex, drugs and rock’n’roller Jack tell tales. Not consistently funny enough to be great comedy and…

Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!

16 Aug 20114 stars

Swashbuckling success story

As part of Fringe staple trio and Radio 4 stars The Penny Dreadfuls, Humphrey Ker offered audiences something of a theatrical comedy masterclass. Here, he flies solo in swashbuckling style. It’s 1943 and war’s most unlikely hero, Dymock Watson, has been…

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Markus Birdman: Dreaming

16 Aug 20113 stars

Acutely funny observations on our dreams of living happily ever after

Birdman takes us through his ponderings on our dreams of living happily ever after, and all that lies between. There are some acutely funny observations on parenting, growing up and caring less, with Birdman only occasionally losing momentum by…

Wil Hodgson

16 Aug 20113 stars

Sharp comedy about life as he knows it

Gone is the pink Mohawk of yesteryear, in is some sharp (albeit not of the razor kind) comedy from this year’s ‘Care Bear-loving skinhead’, as our affable host spraffs lyrical about life as he knows it, from his friends down the pub to tits, cider and a…

How to be Awesome

15 Aug 20112 stars

Lou Sanders' high energy can't save a set of lacklustre jokes

‘I’m a bit of shambles’ reveals Lou Sanders as she takes to the stage. Highly energetc Sanders may be, but her material – letters sent to the show, chit-chat about her stepdad, a limp ‘how awesome are my props’ set – fail to hit the mark. Sure, there…

Paul Daniels

8 Aug 20113 stars

You’re going to like this . . .

‘Do I look better than Donald Trump?’ asks Paul Daniels as he walks on, wigged up. He shouldn’t be here, really. The Sun newspaper has run a story saying he’s been hospitalised at the hands of Sooty and a flying piece of pizza. Silly tabloids. The…

Suitcase Royale in Zombatland

8 Aug 20114 stars

Late-night, top-notch hour of blues music, B-list horror and slapstick

Some late-night, top-notch junkyard theatre from this trio of talented Aussies, as our hapless heroes fight to save their caravan park from an invasion of zombie wombats. Cue a chaotic hour of blues music, B-list horror shtick and high-energy slapstick…

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Des Bishop - My Dad Was Nearly James Bond

8 Aug 20113 stars

Largely funny, tender and acutely observed ode to late father

An ode to Bishop’s late father, Mike, this should leave the most emotional tough-nut shaken and stirred, as Des tells the story of his dad’s life, from stage actor, Ford model and ‘almost Bond’ to regular ‘Queens, New York’ dad. Walking the line between…

Stuart Goldsmith

8 Aug 20113 stars

A pleasant romp, amusingly delivered, this is easy, assured comedy

Our affable host is one of life’s nice guys: he likes to help. Whether appeasing young godson Tom with some robot dancing or dealing with some of life’s many anxieties, Goldsmith’s (trying to be) your man in a crisis. A pleasant romp, amusingly…

Losing It - Ruby Wax interview

26 Jul 2011

Wax brings her 'mental health comedy’ to Edinburgh

Seasoned festival-goers may remember Ruby Wax’s brief two-day stint with Losing It, her ‘mental health comedy’, back in 2008. Since then, this partly autobiographical opus has grown wings, and been showcased in hospitals and lecture halls across the UK.

Five cabaret shows at Edinburgh Fringe 2011

20 Jul 2011

Meow Meow, Ali McGregor, Le Gateau Chocolat and Cabaret Whore among highlights

Meow Meow. A firm Fringe favourite, this purrfectly glitzy performer brings her edgy post-feminist cabaret woes to the International Festival, as part of a much-anticipated work-in-progress. When you’re racking up over 6m hits on YouTube, chances are…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011 - sneak preview

23 May 2011

Liberace, Finnish a capella groups and iPad fairy tales just some of the coming attractions

Whether it’s origami genitalia, homosexual deities or political commentary on the Lockerbie bombing, Edinburgh’s Fringe seldom arrives with a whimper but rather a ruddy great roar. June sees the official launch of 2011’s line-up, but we thought we…