Reviews & features: Comedy, Issue 583

66 reviews

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School of Comedy

16 Aug 2007

In this age of Asbos, hoodies and teenage gang warfare it’s probably illegal to encourage youngsters to swear and be rude in front of adults, but this is exactly what the grown-ups behind School of Comedy plan to do. The show is billed as ‘an adult…

Adam Bloom

16 Aug 20074 stars

The concept of downtime is unfamiliar to Adam Bloom. After charging onstage and whirling through five minutes or so of funny, friendly, filthy audience interaction, the act proper begins without a wasted nanosecond. Bloom has a sort of sunny fury…

A Different Kettle of Fish

16 Aug 20074 stars

Irreverent, witty, surprising, mischievous, and overacted to great dramatic effect, this was an hour spent in wonderfully silly company. The troupe – four men and one woman – rattles through sketches so fresh they ought to patent them. JK Rowling…

Alistair Barrie

16 Aug 20073 stars

For someone who describes himself as a ‘twat’ and claims to suffer from low self-esteem, Barrie exudes a reassuring confidence that draws you into his world and holds you there. His show hangs around the loose theme that we’re all going to hell in a…

Al Pitcher

16 Aug 20074 stars

He’s been called unpredictable and divided audiences with his ad hoc ways, but happily for Pitcher, his celebration of saying precisely whatever pops into his head could earn the recognition he deserves. Never a dull moment, this walking, face-pulling…

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Chas Early

16 Aug 2007

5 words to describe this year’s show? Your very last chance, baby. 4 stand-ups/comedy acts who you think should be more famous in September than they are now? Josie Long, Gordon Southern, Isy Suttie, and Robin Ince, who is already a little…

Christian Reilly

16 Aug 20073 stars

Reilly was a comfort eater, until he discovered rock. Mixing cheeky songs with a legs-spread rock stance, he throws in Lou Reid and Stephen Hawking impersonations and a crowd-pleasing Chris Martin piss-take. When his acoustic guitar sounds a little…

Classic Entertainment!

16 Aug 20074 stars

Mr Winchester and his slightly camp, hapless sidekick Tommy (who replaces Winchester’s wife following her mysterious disappearance) are intent on injecting some cabaret into the alternative comedy circuit. Dodgy wigs, inappropriate asides and bad…

Craig Hill

16 Aug 20073 stars

Crazed musical energy makes Hill’s comedy infectious, and smarty-pants audience interaction makes it hilarious; some of the funniest bits come from his savaging of hapless crowd members who refused to answer his questions. Whether it’s memories from a…

Dan Clark

16 Aug 20073 stars

Clark unfangles himself, argues with his imagination and donates a few purposefully awkward silences in this neat yet unobtrusive little parcel. Raising more titters than belly laughs with his observations on life and Facebook, Clark might not brand…

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Deborah Frances-White

16 Aug 20072 stars

The bowler-hatted one is back with an advice shop for men and women on seduction techniques. You know a show is struggling when the comic takes a seat in the front row to let her audience play out the scenarios she’s dreamed up, leaving a series of…

Dougie Dunlop

16 Aug 20073 stars

Live from a ‘building site’, Dunlop’s debut is as gritty, opportunistic and incongruous as his venue. Reluctantly succumbing to themed comedy, he centres loosely on the elderly, with cake as both prop and post-spectacle sweetener. A deadpan, wry Scot…

Eirlys Bellin

16 Aug 20072 stars

Bellin performs entirely in the guise of Rhian Davies, a fame-hungry Welsh girl prepared to do anything to get on the telly. Draped in this character, Bellin actually auditioned for Big Brother, and secretly filmed her adventure. There’s so much…

Field Study

16 Aug 20072 stars

A virtually laugh-free show about three scientists analysing the mechanics of comedy is an irony lost on no one. The young trio try their damndest but there simply is no material here worthy of the name as they mug their way through an hour’s tortured…

Francesca Martinez

16 Aug 20073 stars

Martinez tells us from the outset that she doesn’t do chit chat, and this sentiment prevails. Proselytising on politics, religion and other weighty topics, she sometimes veers close to mere soap-boxing with the albeit admirable force of her convictions.

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Girl and Dean

16 Aug 20073 stars

Sketch duo Jess Ransom (a girl) and Sarah Dean (geddit?) use make-believe and handicrafts to introduce us to conspiracy theorist supermarket workers, two posh kids role playing at ‘Disadvantaged Northerners’ and an asylum seeking vampire. With…

Gordon Southern

16 Aug 20073 stars

Perhaps you just had to be there for Southern’s journey from Brixton to Australia via Wales. Perhaps he had a tough crowd. But this set of lad laughs with slightly frightening musical accompaniment fell wide of the mark. The easy banter never fails him…

Hannah Gadsby

16 Aug 20073 stars

Exploding smalltown ignorance

Sleepy-voiced, droopy-eyed and dressed in a uniform of cover-all black, Hannah Gadsby wants to bring us up to speed on her 28 years. Raised in a hick town in Tasmania, and made to feel in turns ‘big boned’, ‘retarded’ or ‘dykey’ when growing up, she now…

Henry Rollins

16 Aug 2007

It’s a wonder Henry Rollins has time to sleep. When the Black Flag legend is not writing books, hosting his own television and radio shows, acting in Hollywood and hopping from gig to gig, he is performing his quick-witted spoken word pieces around the…

Hitlist - the best Festival comedy

16 Aug 2007

Kristen Schaal Winston Churchill roamed the Assembly Rooms last year in the guise of Mel Smith. He’s back for a ghost appearance in this superb show from one of America’s most delicate new comic talents. Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 20)…

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Howard & Mimi

16 Aug 20073 stars

Playing anthropomorphised pets, the duo of Haverstock and Gold weave a funny tale of new relationships, hissy fits and dog breath. Mimi’s (the cat) world is turned on its head when Howard (the pooch) and his master Nick move into her mistress Jane’s…

How to Pimp Your Kids and Shop for Free at Waitrose

16 Aug 20072 stars

Matthew Collins begins with a shout, but lets it die to a whimper with limp storytelling. The title itself is a cheat, and gives the impression that there is cheekiness in the content, but instead there is only fond remembrances of a dad who dotes a…

Ismo Leikola

16 Aug 20074 stars

How funny is observational comedy with a Finnish accent? Very funny, actually. With comedy so low-key and off-the-wall it comes right out of nowhere, his style is decidedly un-energetic, but with a priceless delivery. Leikola is a Scandinavian Mitch…

James Dowdeswell

16 Aug 20073 stars

Dowdeswell attempts to rescue the ‘intimidating’ world of wine-fancying from the clutches of adjective-abusing snobs. Taking a trip down memory lane, he moves from his alcoholic initiations as a publican’s son, to the wine-sampling efforts of a young…

Jason Manford

16 Aug 20074 stars

Too much success early on in a career can be a double-edged sword. Jason Manford first came to attention two years ago with an inspired, Perrier-nominated debut in which he exploded various urban myths and apocryphal tales. As a fan of that auspicious…