Reviews & features: Murray Robertson

84 reviews

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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…

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…

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…

Iain Stirling: Everything

17 Aug 20142 stars

Tighter writing needed to elevate likeable comedian

Former CBBC presenter and Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, Iain Stirling is so keen to take the stage that he springs about in the wings impatiently waiting for his crowd to take their seats. He’s a relative youngster at 26 and is disarmingly eager…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Beardyman

15 Aug 2014

The beatboxer extraordinaire discusses his new creation, Beardytron 5000, and first ever TED talk

Beatboxer Beardyman has spent the last few years working on a bespoke system (‘two laptops, loads of buttons, knobs and touchscreens’) to translate sounds from his brain to his listeners’ ears. He reasons it’ll forever be a work-in-progress but he…

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Jim Davidson: No Further Action

15 Aug 20143 stars

Solid old-school comedian draws on recent scandal for precisely formed jokes

Few comedians arrive at the Fringe facing the sort of scrutiny aimed at Jim Davidson. It’s easy to forget he was once the mainstay of Saturday night television, a family entertainer who fronted BBC One’s primetime family game shows. These days his…

Bobby Mair: Off Meds

11 Aug 20142 stars

Canadian funnyman has nice gags but ramshackle structure brings act down

'My act is like a finger in the ass,' asserts Bobby Mair towards the end of his show. But despite opening with a dubious joke about Gaza, he's not as controversial as he thinks. The Canadian slacker mixes observations with made up stories to varying…

Mark Nelson: Please Think Responsibly

10 Aug 20143 stars

The comedian has wondrous images tucked up his barbed sleeve at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Still a spritely 33-year-old, Mark Nelson nevertheless feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. Now married and with a young daughter, he reminisces about his carefree teenage days, yet even with this youthful audience, it’s telling that he…

John Robins: This Tornado Loves You

9 Aug 20143 stars

A mixed and easy hour lifted by flashes of brilliance

One of John Robins' best routines is an astutely crafted parody of 'millionaire underdog' Stewart Lee. It's a brilliantly structured skit that skilfully punctures Lee's impudence, and it leaves the audience in pieces. It's just a shame that the rest of…

Excited!!!

8 Aug 20141 star

Puerile, predictable and unfunny comedy songs by Suns of Fred at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Australian musical trio Suns of Fred present an hour of countless songs adorned with well-honed choreography. Unfortunately, almost without exception, their songs are puerile, predictable and unfunny.   Kicking off with a song about bread, the boys…

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Harriet Dyer: Barking at Aeroplanes

7 Aug 20142 stars

Exciteable, fast-paced comedy in need of editing and focus, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe

Wild-eyed and excitable, Harriet Dyer launches herself onstage explaining that she recently had her bag stolen. It sounds like she's off with a great story but that's the end of it, and there's a lot of that sort of thing in this scatty show. She sets…

Lee Griffiths: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder

7 Aug 20141 star

The Late Night Gimp Fighter flounders in his solo Edinburgh Festival Fringe show

At one point in Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder, Lee Griffiths does an impression of his ‘Nigerian dad’ (actually his father’s boyfriend). It’s an impression of a man we don’t know and who we haven’t heard speak. It’s presented as a highlight yet its…

Sara Pascoe vs History

4 Aug 20144 stars

Tremendously polished and thought-provoking performer with meticulously crafted piece of work

Dazzled by flash photography from the very start of her show, Sara Pascoe is forced to set off on the wrong foot. She gently chastises a number of audience members before apologising for her understandable frustration. Although the comic worries that…

Des Bishop: Made in China

4 Aug 20144 stars

Warm and funny take on a cultural quest after a year's preparation living in China

In preparation for this year’s show, Des Bishop spent some time absorbing another culture. It’s a gambit often used by comedians to mine material, but Bishop went beyond the extra mile and spent a year in China, living with an adoptive family and…

Nick Coyle: Double Tribute

3 Aug 20142 stars

Meandering Edinburgh Festival Fringe stand-up show with flashes of quality

Nick Coyle’s one-man absurdist comedy gets off to a very slow and cagey start. In a protracted voiceover he explains that his girlfriend Jenny has died and that this show is a tribute to her memory. Coyle then introduces a robotic replica of her head…

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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…