Reviews & features: Brian Donaldson

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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…

Programme highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Jul 2014

Including Lauren Child, Julian Cope, Tony Parsons, Irvine Welsh and Jacqueline Wilson

Lauren Child One of this year’s guest selectors, multi-award winning author and illustrator Lauren Child takes part in three events. The creator of Charlie and Lola, and Clarice Bean discusses her gadget-heavy Ruby Redfort Trilogy (9 Aug), before…

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.

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…

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Site specific theatre highlights at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Conventional theatre spaces too run-of-the-mill? How about a boxing gym, a beach, bed or bus?

Out of Water. Live art clashes with music and rubs up against theatre in probably the earliest show at the Fringe. Stories of endeavour are interwoven with haunting music, lifeguard drills, calls for help and struggles for breath featuring a score by…

Shows inspired by key women in history at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Shows based on Jane Fonda, Margaret Thatcher, Bette Davis, Janis Joplin and Zelda Fitzgerald

Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho. You’d think there might have been a section of the Fringe programme solely dedicated to the Iron Lady by now. But until then, the true blues can go purple with fury at Matt Tedford’s interpretation of Lady Mags as a…

Behind the scenes at the Edinburgh festivals

15 Jul 2014

Insiders reveal the preparation put into one of the world's largest cultural events

Jamie Mitchell. Fruitmarket Gallery manager on getting art into the space. The process of an exhibition coming together can spread over a long time frame. Early on it’s about broad strokes, but the closer it gets, it’s more about specifics and we’ll be…

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…

Profile: Louise Welsh and Irvine Welsh set for 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

15 Jul 2014

The two Scottish writers share more than a surname

Louise Welsh and Irvine Welsh are among modern Scotland’s top literary talents. If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll also have spotted that they share a surname. Yasmin Sulaiman digs around for more astonishing coincidences between the pair

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The New Zealand shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Including Generation of Z, Mau: I am, Witi Ihimaera, Black Grace anf The Troubles

The Generation of Z hurls you head first into a world ravaged by the undead. Fight for your future as you journey through a battle against extinction. Set within a maze-like security containment depot swarming with terrifying zombies, you're in the…

Documentary highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh Just festival

15 Jul 2014

The event formerly known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace

The event formerly known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace goes from strength to strength and with talks, exhibitions, music and workshops around various venues, Just will be equally as prominent and hectic as any of the other festivals around…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…