Reviews & features: Suzanne Black

214 reviews

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Rhys Mathewson - The Best £10 You'll Ever Spend

16 Aug 20133 stars

Value for money applied to comedy by the New Zealander comic

Hailing from New Zealand and looking like a cross between the country's two national species (sheep and hobbits), stand-up Rhys Mathewson is very concerned about money, or the lack of it. In a conglomeration of titbits about his life, loves, homeland…

Marlon Davis: Crackin' Up

16 Aug 20133 stars

Likeable and charismatic, this comedian is difficult to resist

Being nice can get you far in life and Marlon Davis' charm is his greatest asset. After a few anecdotes in which he establishes himself as a nice guy, a bit of a try-hard, an inoffensive fellow, he starts in with a few standard gripes about his…

Tanyalee Davis – Big Trouble in Little 'Gina

16 Aug 20133 stars

Turning gynaecological misadventures into an enjoyable hour of positivity

The Canadian comic offers up a frank discussion of her downstairs lady area and the medical problems it has created for her over the last year. Her gynaecological misadventures took her to three continents and Davis takes us right along with her…

Manos Kanellos: Greekonomics

14 Aug 20132 stars

A Greek comic to introduce us to Greece's recent financial decline

Who better to take a comedic look at the Greek economy's woes than a Greek comic? Manos Kanellos combines his knowledge of Greek culture, contemporary and ancient, and European politics with the aim of gently educating folks about the situation and…

Wardens

14 Aug 20132 stars

A sluggish script not elevated by the performances

In this new play by Darren Richman and Garrett Millerick, five people take shelter from a mob rioting over an unspecified cause. As the threat from outside builds, tensions rise within the group and revelations drop like bombs. Three of the…

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Adam Kay: How to Be a Bogus Doctor

13 Aug 20133 stars

Fun hour of medical satire that plays on public's assumptions

Adam Kay steps away from musical parody group Amateur Transplants for a solo show. The conceit is that Kay is giving a lecture in how to defraud sick people by setting yourself up as a doctor, minus the irritating difficulty of going to medical school.

Laura Levites: Selfhelpless

13 Aug 20132 stars

Autobiographical self-evisceration from the New-York City comedian

Appearing both fragile and abrasive, Laura Levites lays bare her mental health and flogs it for all its comic potential. She recounts her depressive symptoms and the ways she tried to alleviate them. Shopping factors highly in both, and Levites spends…

Arthur Smith

13 Aug 20134 stars

A musical tribute to Leonard Cohen and tightly-scripted delight of a show

Around about ten years ago Leonard Cohen was returning to the spotlight from monastic seclusion in order to boost his plundered retirement fund. At the same time, curmudgeonly comedian Arthur Smith was paying homage to the melancholic gloom peddler with…

David Mills: The Gospel Truth

13 Aug 20133 stars

Archly evasive persona of American ex-pat unleashes a gutful of ire

David Mills seems to hate everything. A dank cave in The Hive is the perfect setting for this irascible troll (not the internet kind). Dapperly dressed the American ex-pat who lives in London unleashes a gutful of ire under the pretence of offering…

Alan Committie: Fully Committied

13 Aug 20132 stars

Competetent delivery. Hackneyed material

If you haven't left the house, watched TV or consumed comedy of any kind for the last twenty-plus years, don't worry. Alan Committie's material about the stringency of airport security, the intricacies of operating an unfamiliar hotel room shower, the…

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Handmade Tales

11 Aug 20134 stars

Young company, Tap Tap Theatre, excels at storytelling enchantment

Tap Tap Theatre sprung into existence last year, created by University of Bristol students, and has quickly garnered an enviable repuation. This year they have three shows at the Fringe: Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time, Men and Handmade Tales…

Katie Goodman: I Didn't Fuck It Up

9 Aug 20133 stars

Conscience-nudging musical comedy

Political satire is tricky. Is New York musical act Katie Goodman's purpose to convert audiences to her way of thinking (tame liberalism) or to play to like-minded folks in an affirmative show of solidarity (or, of course, to sell tickets)? Goodman is…

I Believe in Unicorns

9 Aug 20133 stars

Storytelling with a serious message

The former children's laureate and writer of over 100 books, Michael Morpurgo returns to two of his recurring themes – the horrors of wartime and the majesty of the equine breed – in this 2005 story about the importance of storytelling. The action takes…

Casual Violence Presents: House of Nostril

9 Aug 20134 stars

Gang with a real nose for sketch comedy

The House of Nostril transforms a sweaty Pleasance box into a crumbly family pile, home to a dastardly clan and filled with creepy denizens. In a series of linked sketches, the members of Casual Violence embody generations of the Nostril family and…

Superhero Snail Boy

8 Aug 20133 stars

A zig-zagging emotional journey through comedy and tragedy

Penned by Elizabeth Muncey for Vertical Line Theatre, Superhero Snail Boy is a multi-headed beast. After an upbeat start we are introduced to a cabal of troubled characters in a series of vignettes. There's the bullied boy, the neglected girl, the…

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I Knew a Man Called Livingstone

8 Aug 20133 stars

Historic Scot recalled from an African perspective

Victorian celebrity, Scotsman, missionary doctor, abolitionist, capitalist and explorer of Africa, 2013 marks the bicentenary of David Livingstone's birth. Toto Tales specialises in African forms of storytelling and presents some of the notable episodes…

War of the Worms

6 Aug 20132 stars

Richard Digance and duaghter in sing-a-long storytelling that falls foul of fact

Father and daughter team Richard and Rosie Digance narrate and sing their way through a tale of the humble worm and its role in nature – with an emphasis on the smelly. With Richard on guitar duty, and Rosie reading the story, they make for amiable…

Keith Farnan

6 Aug 20133 stars

An astute analysis of fear

Keith Farnan's tack is to take on big, serious topics and sieve out the comedy. In past years, he's looked at economic crisis, sex trafficking, racism and the death penalty. For 2013, he takes on a more abstract foe: fear. Without specific institutions…

Adam Hess and David Elms

5 Aug 20132 stars

Shared bill of two contrasting comedic performances at tough venue

Sharing the bill but performing individually, Adam Hess and David Elms fight valiantly against an apathetic audience and the competing hubub of the venue's bar to deliver two contrasting comedy styles. Elms, softly-spoken and understated, peddles a…

David Morgan: Pretty

5 Aug 20133 stars

Solihull-born comedian explores the ins and outs of relationships and surface appeal

The notion that beauty is a virtue is not exactly new and, no matter how many times it is rationally argued that good skin or sticky-outy cheekbones are irrelevant to the value of a person, the desire to be beautiful is tough to shake. After a…

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Nadia Kamil: Wide Open Beavers!

4 Aug 20134 stars

A funny and literate assault on oppression

Nadia Kamil's Wide Open Beavers! is a surprise from minute one. Whether you're expecting a rodent dissection or a peek at lady parts, the reality is far from either, and far better. One of a deluge of young women seeking to reclaim, redefine and defend…

Fanfiction Comedy

4 Aug 20133 stars

Headache-inducing journey into fictional worlds

There are two main ways to tackle a comedy show about fanfiction (for the uninitiated, that’s the writing of unauthorised stories in established fictional universes or about celebrities). The first points and laughs at the whole premise, especially its…

Mary Bourke: Muffragette

2 Aug 20133 stars

Comedian tackles politically charged topics of misogyny and objectification and keeps you laughing

Mary Bourke confronts misogyny and uses her anger to fuel a thought-provoking hour. Mixing polemic with humour, she steers clear of stereotypes like dour dungaree-wearers and, without sacrificing her message, makes sure the laughs outweigh the…

When I Grow Up

2 Aug 20133 stars

Heartfelt piece of comedic theatre with plenty of chuckles along the way

Juliette Burton asks the question of how our chosen professions contribute to our identities in this one-woman show about her not-always-successful career aspirations. Taking us back to her childhood with an aura of Crayola whimsy she walks us through…

Brett Goldstein Contains Scenes of an Adult Nature examines online pornography

29 Jul 2013

Peddling a funny version of the facts at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Brett Goldstein walks the fine line between truth and fabrication. Avoiding both painstaking observational recollections and flights of surrealist fancy, Goldstein tells tales that you couldn’t make up... then proceeds to examine the nature of truth in…