Russell Brand - SOME SHOWS CANCELLED (5 stars)

  • 21 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

Shows planned for Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 August have been cancelled because Brand has laryngitis. Please contact the Assembly Rooms (0131 226 2428) or the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (0870 4000 886) for more details.

As the crowd patiently waits in the huge Assembly Rooms queue, a woman snakes along, demanding: 'any spare tickets? Any spare tickets? I'll give you £20 for yours.' Such rock'n'roll behaviour is unheard of at the Fringe. Are there groupies awaiting Mervyn Stutter backstage? Have we heard unconfirmed stories of the Dutch Elm Conservatoire trashing hotel room after hotel room across the city? Not simply for that reason alone is Russell Brand unique. Where some stand-up comics clearly lose the plot when the world of TV has loomed into their lives, Brand seems to have found the time and energy to sharpen and hone his already exceptional live act. Yes, he does some of the weird Dickensian fop voices and florid gestures that he employs on Big Brother's Big Mouth but what comes out of that gob is absolute comic genius.

Now that he is a former drug addict and ex-alcoholic, he has been forced to find other avenues for his source material. While two of the four stories might have some of his crowd nodding in recognition (the trauma and triumph of standing near airport baggage carousels and the things we shouldn't say during sex), it's highly unlikely that many in attendance will have ever been called a 'cunt' on stage by Bob Geldof or have been at the centre of a tabloid fabrication involving Ms Tamara Beckwith. If you haven't seen Russell Brand on stage, you may find it difficult to conceive that he is more than a pretty face and a preposterous hairdo. He just so happens to be the most blazingly hilarious stand-up in Britain right now. (Brian Donaldson)

Assembly Rooms, 226 2428, until 26 Aug, 8.45pm, £12.50-£13.50; EICC, 0870 400 0886, until 26 Aug, 11.30pm, £13.50.

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