Reviews & features: Reviews

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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…

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…

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…

Tim Key: Single White Slut

21 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian returns to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe to upturn comedy conventions

After winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2009 and producing one of the finest comedy-theatre-poetry-bath shows in Fringe history with Masterslut, Tim Key popped by last August to perform his latest work-in-progress. The result one year on is the…

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.

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Kitten Killers

22 Aug 20143 stars

Female foursome deliver strong sketches at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This sketchy female foursome haven’t just plucked out an eye-catchingly controversial name for themselves, as they do actually live up to their title with a feline-destroying skit. In a festival which hasn’t looked too fondly on the sketch show (if the…

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…

Devvo's Deal or No Dealer Gaymeshow

21 Aug 20142 stars

Disjointed gags and rap songs fail to impress at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As occasional E4 and YouTube personality Devvo takes the stage, the first thing he does is announce he has a reviewer in tonight. When he demands that I identify myself, I reluctantly put up my hand. My expectation is for some light banter before he…

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…

Rat: Induction

21 Aug 20144 stars

Shrewd and funny sketch show hits the mark at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Rat are already standing on stage, bored and dejected, as the audience file in, hellishly inane muzak playing on a loop over the soundsystem. The trio (Alistair Donegan, David Newman and Camilla Whitehill) are trapped, waiting for an unspecified…

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Sarah Bennetto's Funeral

22 Aug 20143 stars

Engaging comedy by loveable comedian despite lack of big belly laughs

On the night of this review, this wasn't the slickest or most populated of shows; it could have been an awkward experience but Sarah Bennetto is such a warm and charming performer that it really didn't matter and she comfortably puts us all at ease.

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa

21 Aug 20144 stars

Exquistite one-person multi-character act at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are surely few one-person multi-character acts at the Fringe with as much talent to burn as Joseph Morpurgo. His Odessa hour has ambition by the bucketload and he possesses both the dramatic and comedic tools to carry it off with ease. Starting…

James Veitch: The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection

22 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian takes on spam mail in unshakeably confident performance full of promise

Youngsters, eh? Making the rest of us feel bad with their enthusiasm, versatile skillsets and new media proficiency. The youthful James Veitch is certainly no underachiever, with the strings on his bow including musician, comedian, director, writer and…

The Future for Beginners

22 Aug 20143 stars

Twee take on first world problems at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Contemporary experimental theatre in the UK tends towards extremes. Either brutally challenging or charmingly twee, it breaks the traditional format only to struggle to find something new. The Future for Beginners, despite a bracing premise – a…

Goose (An Odd New One-Man Comedy Whodunit)

21 Aug 20143 stars

Detective comedy delivered by human whirlwind at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For one solid, breathless, sweating hour, Adam Drake doesn’t let it drop for a single second. If awards were given out for the comedic results of energy and memory alone, Goose would be snapping up every award in town. Maybe not the best poster one, but…

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Brent Weinbach: Appealing to the Mainstream

21 Aug 20144 stars

Ingenious, inventive comedy from American funnyman at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With so many acts these days trying to amuse audiences with techniques other than jokes and punchlines and whatnot, the notion of anti-comedy appears to have been watered down to mild drizzle. Brent Weinbach stirs it right back up again with an…

Lysistrata

20 Aug 20142 stars

Greek comedy becomes a tragedy with constant mood shifts destroying narrative journey

The script, freely adapted from Aristophanes' fifth century comedy about women going on sex strike to stop a war, has massive ambitions. Sometimes using passages from the source - including an argument between old men and women and an ill-judged…

Josh Howie: AIDS: A Survivor's Story

20 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian on top of his game and unafraid to test crowd's limits at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Calling your show AIDS: A Survivor’s Story is one thing. Riffing for an hour on and around the disease which had a generation permanently on edge is a tough sell. At one point, Josh Howie even claims that his agent baulked when he first proposed this…

Minetti

22 Aug 20143 stars

King Lear meets Waiting for Godot in challenging theatre piece as part of 2014 EIF

On New Year’s Eve, in a hotel lobby in Ostend, an ageing actor waits for the arrival of a director who will orchestrate his comeback in a production of King Lear. But will he come? The night wears on, and Minetti (a towering performance by Peter…

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…

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Dizney Rascal

21 Aug 20143 stars

Wavering taste levels let down Rebecca Humphries' musical comedy

Sing-a-long versions of Disney songs are played on a big screen as the audience files in. It’s a nice touch to set the mood and introduce Rebecca Humphries’ musical comedy. The show starts strongly with a number taking us through the history of Disney…

Casual Violence: The Great Fire of Nostril

21 Aug 20143 stars

Fun and absurd comedy undermined by underwritten script at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Everyone, it seems, would rather hear a story featuring evil conjoined twins rather than one about a happy gherkin and so the hapless narrator Ridley loses out to his unseen voiceover narrator rival. Young Roger Nostril is distraught when his father is…

Jonny Awsum: Sexy Noises

21 Aug 20143 stars

Musical comedy is feelgood frivolous fun at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Jonny Awsum bounds on stage grinning from ear to ear, a mischievous twinkle in his eye, an acoustic guitar strapped round his neck. And the feelgood vibes never relent through this hour of musical comedy. The songs are similarly cheery and you can't…

WitTank: Old School Secrets

20 Aug 20143 stars

Smart, psychotic and very funny twisted world presented by comedy trio

The moments of insanity scattered throughout WitTank’s new show make Old School Secrets a must-see. There is no reason why a boisterous Shania Twain should be visiting a boarding school to perform at their New Year’s Eve party but Naz Osmanoglu pulls it…

Neil Hamburger

21 Aug 20143 stars

Gregg Turkington's monstrous creation is a true original at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Neil Hamburger could well be a once-in-a-lifetime comic. For sure, Gregg Turkington’s monstrous creation is a true original, a man who thinks he should be a showbiz legend but has been worn down by failure and his own self-loathing to the point where…