Reviews & features: Phil Nichol

21 reviews

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Giant Leap

21 Aug 20154 stars

Comedy, history and conspiracy theories about the moon landing

People still have a lot of questions about the 1969 moon landing. Giant Leap brings one more to the table: were Neil Armstrong’s first words to the world scripted by others? In this play, the answer is yes. A writer (Tom Stade) and a comic (Lewis…

Comedians take on dramatic roles at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Lucy Porter, Richard Herring, Suki Webster and Russell Kane discuss swapping comedy for drama

‘It must be irritating for actors and directors because comedians muscle in everywhere,’ Lucy Porter muses. ‘We’re like, “yeah we’ll have a go at that, why not?” I think we are naturally quite reckless.’ It’s a good year for recklessness. Stand-up…

Phil Nichol: The Weary Land

7 Aug 20134 stars

Comedic reflections on a man’s life and past mistakes

Phil Nichol is one of the Fringe’s stalwarts. Appearing in a number of productions and stand-up routines over the years, he is easily one of the most recognisable faces in the capital during the August festivals. Anyone who doesn’t know why should see…

Phil Nichol Rants!

22 Aug 20124 stars

Mercurial Canadian comedian rages, blusters, fumes and seethes

The hard-working, hyperactive Fringe veteran, who’s also appearing in his Comedians Theatre Company production of the play The Intervention, can hardly contain everything he wants to say within this single hour of stand-up. And he doesn’t. Before the…

The Intervention

5 Aug 20122 stars

Formulaic sitcom that never gains the terminal velocity of real farce

In its very last moment, Dave Florez’s comedy-drama finally finds something truthful. Forty-something alcoholic Zac (Phil Nichol) slumps on the floor and hugs a binful of discarded booze while bawling down the phone to a rehab…

Phil Nichol: The Simple Hour

16 Aug 20113 stars

Dumbed down silliness peppered with droll quips

An hour in Nichol’s company seems to canter by in the wake of the comic’s own upbeat and vociferous performance. However, the material is constantly in danger of descending into vacuity, and although he peppers the silliness with droll quips, the…

Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still

8 Aug 20113 stars

Monologue that’s less than straightforward

'This is true.’ Comedian Phil Nichol implores you to believe in his story midway through this experimental monologue, seemingly trying to inject a moment of clarity into a deliberately fractured and confusing play from Royal Court young writer Dave…

Phil Nichol sketches out Welcome to Crazytown

7 Aug 2010

Board Meeting: Phil Nichol

Drawing on the board, chatting, posing and having the photo taken takes Phil Nichol about three minutes. This comedic whirlwind is what whisked his reputation into the public eye, and this year the storm is again channelled into the unnerving world of…

Vive Le Cabaret gives nightly Vaudevillian glamour

3 Aug 2010

Willkommen, bienvenue, and welcome to a new nightly cabaret show, hosted by Des O’Connor. But calm yourselves, game show fans, Mister Take Your Pick Des O’Connor is not coming to the Fringe. ‘No, it’s not the orange faced one of the telly,’ points out…

Phil Nichol gives us a warm welcome to Crazytown

29 Jul 2010

Comic's 2010 Fringe show promises 'dark poetic theatrical jazz silliness'

What five words best describe your show this year? Dark poetic theatrical jazz silliness. Which comic should be more famous by the end of August? Carey Marx is consistently one of the most progressive-thinking, hardest-working and under-rated…

Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations

27 Aug 2009

Who's up for the Fringe's top prize?

The name may be up for debate, but what isn't in doubt is the prestige of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and the impact it can have on a comic's career. Known in its most memorable form as the Perrier Award from 1981 to 2005, followed by a brief stint…

Phil Nichol

16 Aug 20095 stars

Fringe favourite hits all the right notes

‘Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Bobby Spade.’ Phil Nichol’s transformation into a white-suited lounge lizard with a sideline in psychopathy, is so complete that all that’s missing is the trademark Stars in Their Eyes dry-ice intro. Accompanied by jazz…

School for Scandal

13 Aug 20091 star

School for vandals

RB Sheridan's classic comedy has much to recommend it in our current era of vacuous celebrity tittle-tattle and grotesque self-interest. Yet the normally admirable Cal McCrystal's production seems to have read the text so radically against what it seems…

Gagarin Way

10 Aug 20094 stars

Comics successfully revive Fringe hit

At first glance, the decision to revive Gregory Burke’s heavy-hitting play about labour unrest and kidnapping might appear to be an act of folly on the part of the Comedians Theatre Company. Burke’s debut was first staged to great acclaim at the…

Five festival over-achievers

6 Aug 2009

Robin Ince One can only assume that Robin Ince sits in a thick blue funk for that small portion of the day when he isn’t A) hosting a ‘lunchtime celebration of science and the wonderful’, B) being a ‘bleeding-heart liberal’ or C) opposing ‘the moral…

Man for all seasons - Phil Nichol at the Fringe

23 Jul 2009

Mark Fisher finds Phil Nichol mining two rich seams of comedy at this year’s Fringe

One is a Restoration farce typically performed by seasoned rep actors on grand proscenium-arch stages. The other is a scabrous heist comedy in which a middle-management executive is kidnapped in a Fife factory.

Breaker Morant

23 Aug 20073 stars

Kenneth Ross’ great Australian tale of official injustice still feels powerful in the telling. In it, three Australian officers are put on trial for the murder of prisoners in the dog days of the second Boer War. Great courage is shown in the face of…

Phil Nichol

23 Aug 20071 star

When a comic stands before his crowd after yet another uninspired anecdote and asks: ‘Don’t you think that was hilarious? I thought that was hilarious,’ you can only conclude that he knows he is in big trouble. With Hiro Worship, last year’s inaugural…

Phil Nichol

1 Aug 2007

We’ve all got our heroes, and perhaps they provide us with life models. Or perhaps not. Phil Nichol’s new show throws into question the nature of our obsession with celebrity, and other forms of worship we see in contemporary society.

Breaker Morant

19 Jul 2007

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

After the success of Talk Radio, the Comedians Theatre Company returns to the Fringe with a hard-hitting courtroom drama. But as the Australian leads tell Steve Cramer, the play is not without its bawdy elements

Phil Nichol

21 Aug 20064 stars

The Walker Brothers once crooned that breaking up is so very hard to do. It must be tougher still when it’s because you bit one of your girlfriend’s bunions during sex. But hey ho, Phil Nichol drugged the pain away on a four-day bender in Amsterdam…