Reviews & features: Comedy, Brian Donaldson

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Opinion: Edinburgh Comedy Award 2013 announced

22 Aug 2013

Bridget Christie, Nick Helm, Aisling Bea, Romesh Ranganathan and Seann Walsh all nominated for gongs

And so, the Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations are in. And are we spitting blood with the outrage? Well, no, not really. The all-British main list features old-school stand-up (Seann Walsh, Carl Donnelly), a funny feminist (Bridget Christie), a bit of…

John Williams: My Son's Not Rainman

22 Aug 20133 stars

Show based on comedian's blog about his autistic son

This decent-sized room is filled to bursting for an afternoon show, no doubt many drawn in by the My Son’s Not Rainman blog which gives the show its title. Stand-up comic John Williams has an autistic 11-year-old son (‘The Boy’) and this is their…

Vikki Stone - Definitely

22 Aug 20133 stars

Musical comedian leaves her audience feeling warm and fuzzy

The big ending to Vikki Stone’s latest head-meltingly brash musical comedy hour is one of the cutest the Fringe has seen (or is likely to witness) in a very long time. This climax to a brazen show of double, single and triple entendres and busy, loud…

Tim Key: Work-in-Slutgress

22 Aug 2013

Comedy Award winner brings us an excellent work-in-progress

If Tim Key’s 2011 Masterslut could have been dubbed his ‘bath show’, it looks like his next venture will be viewed as the ‘bed show’. This Work-in-Slutgress (man, he has really painted himself in a corner with the old Slut branding) that he is parading…

The 20 best shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Stuck to know what you must see this festival? Here's 20 suggestions from across the festivals

The James Plays. Edinburgh International Festival. Sofie Gråbøl, Blythe Duff and Jamie Sives are among the actors appearing in Rona Munro’s highly anticipated historical trilogy.

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Sketch comedy duo The Pin return to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Double act of Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden return to Fringe

If you consider some of the great double acts in comedy history, you might notice a significant disparity in height. Vic Reeves towers above Bob Mortimer; not for nothing did Eric Morecambe continually call his partner Little Ern; and Bernie Winters was…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 shows about death

25 Jul 2014

Featuring Jim Davidson’s Funeral, Tony Law, Lost Voice Guy and Robin & Partridge

Jim Davidson’s Funeral Having faked a fight to get publicity last year, Ellis & Rose walked off with the Malcolm Hardee Award for their spirited endeavours. This year, they’re dancing on the Fringe’s grave by hosting a night of various japes in a…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 hotly-tipped sketch comedy debuts

25 Jul 2014

Featuring Aunty Donna, Gein's Family Giftshop, Massive Dad and zazU

Aunty Donna. Not, in fact, a polite family lady, but a trio of quite-rude, variably hairy Aussie chaps called Broden, Zachary and Mark. That nation’s Herald Sun said they produced ‘uproarious, high-octane comedy’. Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, 1–25…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: Alan Davies sees the importance of Little Victories

25 Jul 2014

The comedian and QI regular's second comeback show is a reflection on childhood

Alan Davies recently announced that his forthcoming Edinburgh gigs will contain no material whatsoever on the independence referendum. Unless people want to have a show of hands, that is. Given the right royal stooshie that occurred when he previously…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Stephen K Amos finds his Fringe groove

25 Jul 2014

'I can ask the audience the awkward, challenging questions. Ultimately, though, they’ve got to laugh

Stephen K Amos seems to have found his Fringe groove, annually playing to an appreciative crowd at the Stand with a show that he will tour later in the year and hosting a chat show at the Gilded Balloon. Those separate events help him indulge his chief…

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Interview: 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Adam Riches returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

The comedian's character-based shows feature a lot of audience participation, so be warned

‘I was too tall to be Tigger, and I couldn’t be Goofy, so I was a waiter.’ Adam Riches is recalling his time as a 19-year-old working at Disneyland Paris. This part of our story doesn’t have a happy-ever-after: Riches was fired for being a little bit…

A bit of the hard stuff: six controversial comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Featuring Dangerfield: Sex with Children, AIDS: A Survivor’s Tale and Kitten Killers

In the maze that is the Edinburgh Fringe, sometimes the best plan for an act is to simply think up a controversial title in order to sell tickets. Gavin Webster clearly couldn’t come up with one, so the popular Geordie comic brings us, quite literally…

Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014: Past winners reveal what the top comedy prize means to them

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Brendon Burns, David O'Doherty, Tim Key, Russell Kane, Adam Riches and Bridget Christie

Brendon Burns (2007) Before winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award, what was the best thing you had ever won? I’m not sure I’d ever won anything before that, beyond sporting trophies as a kid. Of the other nominees on your shortlist, can you name one…

Rob Delaney

27 Aug 20133 stars

The US comic puts intriguing spins on icky subject matter, but comes off as Louis CK-lite

Let’s just get this out of the way straight off the bat. There is literally no way to avoid writing about Rob Delaney without drawing comparison to Louis CK: and ultimately, it comes down on the side of an unfavourable one. Delaney moseys on (in plain…

Sad Faces Threw a Party

23 Aug 20132 stars

Not one of the better sketchy narrative fare on offer this August

Some people don’t do themselves many favours when adopting a name for their group or show. Sad Faces could, of course, go either way, but this reviewer was left with a decidedly unhappy visage after an hour in their fairly humdrum company. There’s no…

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Dave Griffiths: C U In Court

23 Aug 20133 stars

A David and Goliath-like stand-up routine

We all love it when ‘the man’ gets it in the neck and with ‘C U in Court’, the little guy (Dave Griffiths) sure gives the top man (actually, French Connection) what for. A jobbing stand-up, Griffiths thought he was on the cutting edge of satire when he…

Faux Latino Show Pony

23 Aug 20133 stars

Jacob Edwards' delirious character comedy is addictive, joyful and ballsy

There are some who reckon that comedy has got a little too safe in these over-commercialised days. Those people should pop along to see Faux Latino Show Pony and cop a load of the jeopardy and danger on display during almost every minute of its ballsy…

Richard Herring: We're All Going To Die

22 Aug 20134 stars

A delirious exploration of death

‘22 fucking years’. That’s how long Richard Herring has been heading up to Edinburgh with plays and stand-up shows, and while he might come across as sounding a little begrudging that he makes this annual trek north, he clearly still loves it. And after…

Wayne Thallon: Procreation

22 Aug 20131 star

Wholly artless and unenjoyable display from 'A Spanking in Paradise' writer/director

Straight from the kick-off, Wayne Thallon confesses that he’s not a stand-up comic, he’s never even done an open mic slot and he won’t be stepping up on a comedy stage again beyond August. The reason he’s doing this at all is to raise funds for the…

Katie Mulgrew

22 Aug 20133 stars

An amiable if unsubstantial hour about father-daughter relations

Dads, we are told, are simply not funny. The evidence is, of course, difficult to dispute with the phrase ‘dad joke’ surpassing ‘dad dance’ as a term of modern parental abuse. But what if you had one of the most recognisable comedy personalities on…

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Matt Green - Alive

22 Aug 20133 stars

Seasoned pro on the matter of death

Matt Green is almost amazed still to be alive. When he reads out the official list of how many people in the UK died from certain causes last year (everything from falling down stairs to bee stings), it certainly makes you pause for thought (and…

Dan Nightingale

22 Aug 20133 stars

Meandering fun from Nightingale, a comic who's silly and intelligent in equal measure

Dan Nightingale seems to have settled into the idea that he’s not going to be majorly famous in comedy. He would love to be a ‘bumper sticker big’ stand-up but his priority now seems to be getting a girl. Love in the Time of Cholesterol might be the…

Matt Okine: Being Black & Chicken & S#%t

22 Aug 20133 stars

Grasping towards a bigger narrative

With this solid Fringe debut hour, affable Aussie Matt Okine races through a torrent of material with an eye for the intermittently strange. Gentlemen, how many of you have attempted, even just the once, to orally pleasure yourself? The ensuing…

Sofa Specific

22 Aug 20133 stars

Slapstick and silent buffoonery

Certainly, there are few shows that will be like Sofa Specific this Fringe. Anyone assuming that an hour featuring four young guys will be just another patchy sketch show has something of a surprise awaiting them. For there’s a fifth character on board…

Lead Pencil

22 Aug 20133 stars

A bubbly sketch show

Lead Pencil are the Portlandia of the Fringe. Like the US cult TV comedy, the trio of Louise Beresford, Maddie Rice and Dave Bibby have chosen to pitch their hour as being rooted in the 1990s. But, like the Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein show…