Reviews & features: Comedy, Brian Donaldson

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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…

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…

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…

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

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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)…

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…

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…

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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…

The Dog-eared Collective

24 Aug 20122 stars

Brave, bonkers but too often a bit bland

If effort equalled quality then the Dog-Eared Collective gang would be on a bullet train to glory by now. Formed seven years ago, it seems unclear quite where they’re headed, but if the quartet (three women and one bloke with long hair) are content to…

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Scottish Comedian of the Year 2011 - Jamie Dalgleish

24 Aug 20122 stars

Lacklustre Fringe debut hopefully hides real talents

The current Scottish Comedian of the Year has a wide-eyed enthusiasm for his work that has to be admired, but judging by this short appearance (it’s not really a ‘show’ as such), Jamie Dalgleish clearly has quite a way to go before emulating the…

Ladies Live Longer - Ladylike

24 Aug 20123 stars

Charismatic if clumsy sketch outing

Two performers with energy oozing from their fingertips, the Ladies fire through a series of skits and songs in which they appear convincingly posh one minute, and quite credibly chavvy the next. Louise Fitzgerald and Victoria Temple-Morris are the pair…

The Noise Next Door: Bring the Noise

24 Aug 20123 stars

Improv mayhem to delight the masses

For those who believe the whole ad-lib world is the lowest rung of the comedy ladder, it might be time to hang out with a Noise Next Door audience. They are virtually messianic in their acclaim of this quintet of very talented improv actors. There isn’t…

Dana Alexander: Breaking Through

23 Aug 20122 stars

Desperately Seeking the Exit might be more fitting title for fly-by show

A theme seems to be emerging from several reviews of Dana Alexander’s 2012 Fringe show. She just doesn’t seem to adapt very well to playing in front of a small audience. Of course, it’s not ideal for any comic, but the old maxim surely must apply: ‘the…

Paul Foot - Kenny Larch Is Dead

23 Aug 20123 stars

A creature of habit delivers his usual fantastical fare

The structure of a Paul Foot gig is by now pretty well-established. Kick off with a bizarre non sequitur, move onto the next surreal musing, go a bit stir crazy, take ages over insignificant details, suffer a stage breakdown and then depart to a hero’s…