Reviews & features: Comedy, Brian Donaldson

520 reviews

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God, Greed and Football

5 Aug 20131 star

A show so flimsy that the comedian himself has little faith in it

From the moment Simon Lilley walks on stage and falteringly attempts a satirical assault on the estate agents of the world, it’s clear that we’re all in trouble. Lilley has little or nothing to say about the three core elements of his very long hour and…

Five comedy acts going solo at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

30 Jul 2013

Nadia Kamil, Nick Hall, Catriona Knox, Benny Davis and Adrienne Truscott are going it alone

Nadia Kamil With Wide Open Beavers!, the female 50% of the Behemoth sketch pairing is threatening to unleash a chorus of puppet Mary Wollstonecrafts. As brilliant as that sounds, we’re expecting even better things from this long-awaited debut hour. The…

Does My Face Look Big in This?

6 Aug 20133 stars

Boundless energy keeps character show addessing the daily grind afloat

Caroline Hardie’s show is about the daily grind and what you can try to do in order to fend off its creeping drudgery. Given the vast amount of clothes she flings around during the hour in a desperate attempt to try and find something to wear (a frantic…

Benny Boot: As Seen On TV

5 Aug 20132 stars

Attempted subversion of the artform underpinned by semi-surrealist gags fails to take off

Benny Boot’s schtick is an attempted mix of subverting the comedy form underpinned by a stream of semi-surrealist gags which Mitch Hedberg would have ditched the moment they arrived in his head. The key word here is ‘attempted’, as Boot simply fails to…

Paul Currie: The Sticky Bivouac

5 Aug 20133 stars

Prepare for unhinged nonsense and childish things

From the Tony Law school of unhinged nonsense comes Paul Currie, dressed in a natty three-piece suit and tottering about in sweltering late-night conditions before a bamboozled but amused crowd. The first few minutes of the show are taken up with Currie…

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David Quirk - Shaking Hands With Danger

5 Aug 20132 stars

Reflective but gag-free tale on the consequences of cheating on the love

This Australian comic made a strong impression when he first arrived at the Fringe in 2010, with his quiet manner which pushed open the door for his dark material to have a greater impact. There felt like a real daring about the way he refused to be…

Shane Mauss: Mating Season

5 Aug 20133 stars

An American comedian we'll want to see back at Fringe...with a bit more edge?

Wisconsin comic Shane Mauss tells us he has flattened out his accent down the years and that his mum would be appalled to hear him talking the way he does to this Edinburgh crowd. Perhaps his comedy, too, has lost its edge, because the reputation he…

KelFi & FiKel

5 Aug 20132 stars

Excessive battering away at taboo a shame for duo with good chemistry

It all starts rather promisingly with the bawdy Australian duo of KelFi and FiKel sitting by the stage discussing their script as we take our seats. It’s all pleasingly postmodern as they decide (in conjunction with their tech) to switch a couple of…

Joey Page: Reality Is Outside, Paradise Is In Your Brain

5 Aug 20131 star

One-offness at the Fringe...not in a good way

Joey Page is a rare beast on the comedy circuit, a unique presence in a world packed with observational comics who are failing to keep it real, what with all those jokes they keep telling. How do we know Joey is so unique? We know this because he keep…

Davey Connor Live! But Not in Your Living Room

5 Aug 20133 stars

Debut solo Fringe show for Scottish comedian

Davey Connor’s story about being a terrible ‘James Bond’ alongside a former Miss Scotland for a charity campaign is becoming his ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. He’s done it as the Glasgow Comedy Festival and here it pops up in Edinburgh (and who knows, maybe…

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Giraffe: Sketchy Comedy

5 Aug 20133 stars

Trio find joy in domestic strife sketches

There’s a strong endency among contemporary sketch groups to plunder heavily from popular culture. How many times have you seen a sketch about Harry Potter or Twilight? Well, don’t worry, because threesome Giraffe have got skits about both. As well as…

Top 5 free comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

2 Aug 2013

Featuring Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, Sean McLoughlin, Nat Luurtsema and John-Luke Roberts

Wonder & Joy ‘An interactive atheist service singalong meets comedy pep rally experience’ is how Sanderson Jones describes his venture with Pippa Evans. From the ashes of this show, three Sunday Assembly dates will rise as their comedy…

Top 5 scary comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

1 Aug 2013

Featuring The Dark Room, Knightmare Live, Casual Violence, Paul Gannon and Comedy Death

The Dark Room Do you want to escape from a dark room in which a floating head ‘helps’ you win a prize? Interactive fun for the brave and curious (cue manic theatrical laughter). Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 3–25 Aug (not 14), 8.40pm, £9–£10…

Interview: Aisling Bea on making her solo comedy debut at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2013

Irish stand-up on finding her own voice, keeping the comedy muscle flexed and collecting prizes

Ahead of a highly anticipated Fringe debut, Aisling Bea tells Brian Donaldson that finding her own voice and keeping the comedy muscle flexed is more important than collecting prizes

Nick Helm brings One Man Mega Myth show to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2013

A one-man entertainment juggernaut

He’s won plaudits aplenty as well as Dave’s Joke of the Fringe Award for the top gag in 2011, but here’s one thing that slightly niggles about Nick Helm: how the heck is he able to keep his voice intact with all that bellowing for a month? Having…

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The Colour Ham bring chaos and comedy to the magic genre

29 Jul 2013

Comedy trio injecting chaos into magic at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Were Kevin McMahon, Colin McLeod and Gavin Oattes to be exactly the same kind of comedian or magician, there would barely be any point to The Colour Ham. Thankfully, their various talents (‘magician, mind reader and primary school teacher’, as it says…

Interview: Alexei Sayle on returning to stand-up and performing at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

16 Jul 2013

The alternative comedy pioneer in why he’s happier now that he can just be himself

For a man who was famous for singing about a car (‘Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?’) and who surprised everyone when he became motoring correspondent for a right-wing broadsheet (The Torygraph, as it would have politely been called by his far-left parents)…

Canadian comic Bobby Mair readies himself for the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

8 Jul 2013

The young comedian has been a support act for Jerry Sadowitz and Doug Stanhope

When you learn that Bobby Mair has been a support act for Jerry Sadowitz and Doug Stanhope, you get a fair sense of the dark terrain which this young Canadian’s material might cross. From where he’s standing, any offence caused would be a fuss over very…

Mark Thomas returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

8 Jul 2013

The political comedian's latest show is called 100 Acts of Minor Dissent

At last year’s Fringe, Mark Thomas wrote his most personal show to date, when he gave us the sublime and moving Bravo Figaro. To the intrigue of plenty, he housed the piece (about arranging an opera performance in his dad’s living room) at the Traverse…

Fran Moulds: Significant Human Error

24 Aug 20122 stars

Multi-character yawn from a spirited performer

Fran Moulds is the latest in a series of female character comedians who have laid on a feast of Fringe creations in recent years with one thing in common: their shows have all been extremely high on intricate character detail but decidedly low on…

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Trevor Browne - I Think... I Am

24 Aug 20121 star

Barnstormingly bad character creation

From horrible start to dreadful finish, I Think... I Am is just god-awful wrong. Hamming up the role of a former folk-rock god who is trying to reclaim his previous glory, Browne treats us to some pre-show ‘entertainment’ which has us paying heed to…

Scientist Turned Comedian - Tim Lee

24 Aug 20122 stars

A lazy lecture on pointless PowerPoint

Chatting about molecular bonds, rule matrices and scalar/vectors is certainly one way to avoid attracting a boorish comedy crowd. But if the sciencey boffins who have been flocking to attend Tim Lee’s debut Fringe hour assume that all stand-up shows are…

The Harri-Parris - The Leaving Do

24 Aug 20123 stars

Cake-filled musical hour about leaving it all behind

Anni Harri-Parri is about to leave behind forever the Welsh farm she grew up in and head to the big London smoke for a new life away from her doting family and friends. The audience are the guests for her surprise leaving do (cake is handed round) and…

Luke and Harry's Dot Dot Dot

24 Aug 20122 stars

Shock tactics sideline the sketch laughs

When you are just two guys doing a series of sketches with no props or a set to speak of, those routines live or collapse on the quality of writing with weight of performance coming a close second. Jonny Sweet and Joe Thomas managed it to gloriously…

Bob and Jim - Go

24 Aug 20123 stars

Top-notch buffoonery and lecherous lookalikes

After indulging in some Modern Urges last time around, now the truly big and daft Bob and Jim are imploring us to Go. No doubt deliberately, this is a title which admittedly could be read in a couple of contrasting ways. These classically cockney gents…