Stewart Francis: Pun Gent (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Stewart Francis: Pun Gent

A crowd-pleasing gag affair that doesn’t always hit its target

One of the Fringe's big TV draws, on this night Stewart Francis attracts an enthusiastic audience eagerly anticipating his entrance. While it would be easy for him to fill seats based solely on his charismatic appearances on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, Francis has written a solid if unspectacular hour filled to the brim with gags.

Obviously, Pun Gent is a showcase of his ability to riff with words, and the easy-going Canadian has plenty of jokes on-hand although the quality fluctuates a fair bit. Some gags take a bit too long to set up before deflating with a predictable punchline. And a series of puns at the expense of TV presenter Jeremy Beadle might have been edgy had they been delivered at least eight years ago before the poor man died.

But like all the best short-joke comedians, Francis has so many up his sleeve that you're never too far from a corker. And while there's little variety to the structure, a delightful recurring impression of Sean Connery works far better than such a thing should. Bringing things to an uproarious close with a neatly layered joke about swearing, Francis is a consummate crowd pleaser.

Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 30 Aug, 8.10pm, £15 (£13).

Stewart Francis: Into the Punset

Surreal and deadpan one-liners from the Canadian stand-up and TV regular, as seen on Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo.