Reviews & features: Murray Robertson

69 reviews

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Interview: Daniel Kitson-endorsed comic Tom Shillue to make his Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut

22 Jul 2014

'What I’m trying to do for this show is take many little stories and weave them together'

Last year, comedian and storyteller Tom Shillue embarked on a project to record a dozen spoken word albums over 12 months. While many people assumed it was a short-lived gag, Shillue saw it through to the bitter end. ‘It was exhausting,’ he says. ‘The…

Jerry Sadowitz

23 Aug 20134 stars

Consistently brilliant illusions and a furiously passionate performance

While it would be misleading to say Jerry Sadowitz has calmed down, he’s certainly mellowed somewhat over the years. Saying that, you’d have your work cut out to find a more controversial comedian at this year’s Fringe, with frequently eye-watering…

Fred MacAulay

20 Aug 20134 stars

The dependable Fringe regular shows his talent as a raconteur

Celebrating a quarter century of consecutive Fringes, Fred MacAulay is one of the most dependable Scottish comedians around. Playing this year in the Assembly Ballroom, he initially feels disconnected from the audience and his early forays into banter…

Lucy Frederick - In Pursuit of Cool

20 Aug 20132 stars

Wild-eyed and delirious comedian would gain in tapping into her concealed madness

Lucy Frederick really wants to be Miranda Hart. Although she never admits this over her sporadically amusing hour, it infuses everything about her performance, from her bumbling middle class demeanour and her attempts at physical comedy to her abject…

Simon Munnery: Fylm

20 Aug 20134 stars

Fringe regular appears in a film/theatre mash-up with high gag rate

Gleefully playing with the conventions of sketch comedy, Munnery’s latest ‘fylm’ mixes super lo-fi animated cut-outs with his own disembodied talking head. The setup is a complex affair and it takes Munnery some time to explain, although he does so…

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Yannis Pappas

16 Aug 20133 stars

New Yorker with a well-honed set that deserves to be seen

Due to an administrative error with his Fringe booking, audiences are struggling to find Yannis Pappas, with a confusion of times throwing people off the scent. In fact, tonight's gathering is so small that when a fly starts bothering him on stage he…

Loyiso Gola: The Professional Black!

13 Aug 20133 stars

South African comedian charmingly pokes at countries and their customs

As he meekly takes the stage, it looks like Loyiso Gola is trying to sneak out. But this disarming entrance is just part of his endearing modesty. The South African relishes poking gentle fun at other countries and their cultures, observing foreign…

Ronny Chieng: The Ron Way

9 Aug 20132 stars

Law graduate fails to make the comedy

‘I have the memory of a goldfish,’ explains Ronny Chieng, and he’s not kidding. Throughout an uncoordinated set he frequently loses his train of thought, tripped up by his own asides and faltering audience interaction. He asks the crowd to get him back…

Lee Camp: Destruction! Distraction! Evolution?

8 Aug 20132 stars

Packing too much in to a polemical hour

Like a mate down the pub with a beer in his belly and a bee in his bonnet, Lee Camp presents a passionate but messy diatribe against the ills of the world. Gradually building from petty concerns (allergies, pets), it’s not long before he’s tucking into…

Greg Proops

5 Aug 20134 stars

Confident and assured: an incisive, political set by a comedian with energy and venom to spare

Greg Proops definitely does not want you to shout out during his show. When an unsuspecting punter tries to join in, Proops hammers down the miscreant with a rabid, unsettling and wholly brilliant put-down. Having resolutely taken command of his space…

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Chris Stokes Tells It Like It Possibly Could Potentially Might Be

5 Aug 20132 stars

Comedian weighed down by the plight of his trade

Chris Stokes opens a short, cagey set with the declaration that he's become disillusioned with performing stand-up comedy. It makes for an unsettling start and his laidback,conversational style can't quite paper over the unease that creeps across the…

Farce Noir Presents . . . The Big Sheep

5 Aug 20134 stars

Joyously daft film noir parody performed with real vim and vigour

This delightful film noir parody features a quartet of comic performers on top form. Over a breathy hour the ridiculous plot covers the genre archetypes and clichés: the femme fatale, the maguffin, the incessant rain. It's not an original concept, but…

Tony Jameson: Football Manager Ruined My Life

5 Aug 20133 stars

A football show of two unequal halves

You don't have to have played Football Manager nor be a football fan to enjoy Tony Jameson's show, but it most definitely helps. For the uninitiated, Jameson carefully explains the ups and downs of the enormously popular game series before detailing how…

Josh Widdicombe: Incidentally …

4 Aug 20133 stars

A skilful rant at trivial pursuits

Josh Widdicombe has come a long way fast since his first solo Fringe show in 2011. He's since tucked under his belt a plethora of TV appearances including Mock the Week, The Last Leg, and as a regular panellist on Stand up for the Week. Confidently…

Michael Che brings debut comedy show to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2013

From painting portraits on the street to 'comfort-performing'

You wouldn’t know it from his assured appearance on Letterman, but New Yorker Michael Che is a relative newcomer to comedy. Although he’s about to hit 30, he only started gigging in 2010 after spending most of his 20s painting portraits on the street…

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Comedian Tig Notaro set to perform at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

16 Jul 2013

Comic diagnosed with breast cancer hoping for a relatively calm Edinburgh debut

Over four short months last year, Tig Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy, caught pneumonia and contracted the potentially fatal bug Clostridium difficile. As if that wasn’t enough, a long-term relationship ended and her…


22 Aug 20123 stars

Wordy sketch show of varying quality

Formerly known as Quattro Formaggio, the more easily digestible KWAT is a slightly more mature sketch group than most seen at the Fringe. This cerebral show recalls the work of former Perrier Best Newcomers The Consultants. And, like them, this literate…

Elis James - Speaking As a Mother …

22 Aug 20123 stars

A gathering of bad experiences in a charming and disorganised show

Apologising to his fans, Elis James warns he’s changed style from his usual long-form storytelling to observational comedy because he wants to buy a house. It’s a lie. From an hilarious opening story about the worst gig in his life, to being…

Chris Ramsey

19 Aug 20124 stars

Warm tales from a hugely charismatic performer

Quite why Chris Ramsey is so surprised by his popularity, it’s hard to tell. A nominee of last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, he cannot believe his luck and claims to be having the time of his life. This concept of good fortune forms the basis of his…

Fred MacAulay

15 Aug 20124 stars

Persistently strong material and natural affability from Fringe institution

Now a firm Fringe institution, Fred MacAulay could coast by on easy charm alone. But that would never do, and even when he tackles well-trodden topics like air travel there's always the safe feeling that he'll have put in the graft for a proper big…

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Jarred Christmas

13 Aug 20124 stars

Breathless show from the Pot Noodle pimp

Jarred Christmas launches his show with such energetic gusto it's a wonder he's not flat out on the floor after the first minute. It's a spectacular entry, not particularly inventive but perfectly judged to endear himself to the crowd and terrify his…

Oyster Eyes Presents: Some Rice

11 Aug 20123 stars

Confidently juvenile with some testing sketches

Oddball sketch quartet Oyster Eyes launch onto the stage with a ridiculous self-penned showtune, full of energy and interspersed with surreal stings, setting out their stall for this mixed but ultimately successful show. From the introduction we…

Mark Nelson: Under the Radar

11 Aug 20124 stars

The formerly vicious comic's new attitude results in moments of profound hilarity

Mark Nelson may be going soft. When he first launched onto the scene, winning the inaugural Scottish Comedian of the Year competition in 2006, his more barbed quips could have made Frankie Boyle wince. Now just into his thirties and settled down, Nelson…

Seann Walsh

7 Aug 20123 stars

Unadventurous material and scattered thoughts ultimately fuse

Now familiar to millions from stints on Live at the Apollo and Stand Up for the Week, Seann Walsh just has to announce his name from the wings to provoke rapturous applause from an eager audience. It's therefore no surprise when the response to his…

Sex Money Death

6 Aug 20123 stars

Bittersweet observations in a thoughtful hour from comedian Stuart Black

Having recently hit the big four-O, sad sack pessimist Stuart Black has been fondly reminiscing about his childhood. He reasons that adult issues of sex, money and death represent the end of innocence and he yearns for simpler times. Black deftly…