Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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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…

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…

Milk Presents: Self Service

27 Aug 20143 stars

Clever experimental cabaret exploring queer identity at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the definition of 'queer' is contested (it tends to be a bucket for anything outside of the norm), a cabaret dedicated to explaining it is long overdue. The three performers, with added help from a musician and two audience members as compères…

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…

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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…

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…

Dangerfield: Sex with Children

26 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian Chris Dangerfield delivers stand-up confessional at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The stand-up confessional might soon need a Fringe programme category all of its own. And Chris Dangerfield might well be the sub-genre’s new poster boy. The name of his show certainly raised a few eyebrows ahead of August, people assuming that Sex with…

Lou Sanders in Another Great Show Again

26 Aug 20142 stars

Freewheeling surrealist comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Lou Sanders is amazed and relieved her room is so full, given that her show has been advertised as a morning affair. It certainly makes the mind boggle as to what her brand of stand-up nonsense would look, sound and feel like at 10.30am. Shakespeare for…

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Deborah Frances White: Half a Can of Worms

26 Aug 20143 stars

Moving and rewarding encounter from skilled writer and performer at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Deborah Frances-White offers a very tightly scripted autobiographical narrative about the search for her biological mother. Using such a prescriptive method of storytelling when dealing with the emotional subject of her experiences can be difficult.

Bears in Space

26 Aug 20143 stars

Talented puppeting cast navigate through muddled story at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

While much of the press attention for Bears in Space focussed on the fact that King Joffrey was in the show, admirably little ego has been displayed by Irish actor Jack Gleeson. At this hour’s finale, while a female fan hangs awkwardly back to chat with…

Sarah Kendall: Touchdown

26 Aug 20143 stars

Absorbing hour of comedic storytelling at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Interrupting her set, Sarah Kendall remarks that half the audience tonight seem to love her show and the other half hate it. It’s an unnecessary and disingenuous observation: Touchdown is an absorbing hour which has transfixed swathes of the audience…

Candy Gigi: I’m Not Lonely

26 Aug 20143 stars

Uncomfortable and often unpleasant show is important antithesis to conventional comedy

Should you become what you’re expected to? Or, like Candy Gigi, should you metaphorically tear up the rule book, don a bloodstained wedding dress, and chew up and spit out fruit, veg and toothpaste all over the audience? A few walkouts inevitably…

Chris Boyd: Caution to the Wind

26 Aug 20142 stars

Confident performance fails to mask flimsy material and insufficient comedy

From the outset, Chris Boyd announces that his show isn’t really a comedy. Although he describes Caution to the Wind as storytelling, he’s being disingenuous as what follow are fragments of comedy and it’s a shame there’s no story to bind them. Boyd…

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Tom Neenan: The Haunting of Lopham House

26 Aug 20144 stars

Sharp wordplay and bizarre comedy characters at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Tom Neenan is a master storyteller vividly bringing to life his ghostly tale The Haunting of Lopham House. He draws on the works of MR James and his ilk for inspiration as a young man finds himself staying in a haunted mansion. With just a few simple…

Will Seaward's Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories!

26 Aug 20143 stars

Silly comedy ghost stories at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Rather than long-form narrative, Will Seaward opts for a selection of short nonsense tales in the Gilded Balloon. You'll encounter salty sea dogs, vampires and ghosts aplenty. Perhaps a bit too silly to be genuinely scary but Seaward is a natural…

John Kearns wins 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award

23 Aug 2014

Win by 2013 Best Newcomer winner marks first time award has gone to Free Fringe show

John Kearns has won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show Shtick, currently showing at the Voodoo Rooms. The London-based comedian, who won last year’s Best Newcomer award, beat six other finalists – James Acaster, Alex Horne, Sara Pascoe…

Paco Erhard: Worst German Ever

22 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian skilfully avoids tired stereotypes in 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show

Before we've even entered the room, Paco Erhard stands outside announcing to the queue that it's not going to be a show of lederhosen and cuckoo clocks but for people that like to think. Of course his pre-show warning also enables his opening gag…

Stuart Goldsmith: Extra Life

22 Aug 20143 stars

'Blandly handsome' comedian delivers comedy to suit at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A man of seemingly modest ambitions, Stuart Goldsmith once hoped that he would have a nice car, get a decent job and not die before he’d had sex. The friends he grew up with in Leamington Spa may appear to have everything (and more) that the comic might…

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Mat Ewins: The Six Million Dollar Ewins

22 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian is bursting with ideas that sometimes get lost in action-packed show

Mat Ewins’ show begins with a recording of his own funeral, more specifically the funeral of ‘Mat Ewins Super Spy’. Having been shot whilst on a mission, he is rebuilt as a bionic man by MI6 in order to defuse a bomb that has been hidden in the venue.

Luke McGregor: I Worry That I Worry Too Much

22 Aug 20144 stars

Unmissable cringe comedy at its very best

You might have caught McGregor dipping a nervous toe into Sam Simmons’ Death of a Sails-Man, and in his own hour of awkwardness, he expands upon his incompetent lackey turn to deliver a show about what makes him worry. As his voice cracks and trembles…

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It For Himself

22 Aug 20143 stars

Unusual talents and clumsiness abound in well thought-out show

A self-dubbed ‘functioning moron’, Rachel Stubbings hands out sweets to the gathering throng as we troop in. An introductory gag about Derek makes you wonder whether she knew that the programme’s female lead, Kerry Godliman, was in the crowd; this is…

Anna Morris: Would Like To Thank

22 Aug 20143 stars

Well-written comedy with clever framework and comic timing at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Structuring her Fringe show as a Woman of the Year final (sponsored by YouthAnasia Anti-Ageing Products), Anna Morris has come up with a clever framework to showcase a series of comic characters. All of whom are presided over by last year's winner…

Blind

22 Aug 20144 stars

UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage delivers stunning coming-of-age show

When Grace Savage beat boxes, you can’t help but be mesmerised. Blind does not merely showcase her breathtaking talent (she is UK beatboxing champion of 2012 and 2013), but combines theatre, music, autobiography and audience participation to question…