Reviews & features: Comedy

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Jonny Pelham and George Zach: Subtitles Not Provided

11 Aug 20142 stars

Split hour offers two different outsiders' perspectives, but doesn’t quite hit the mark

It’s a set of two halves, and although they operate with very different styles, Jonny Pelham and George Zach both work their perspective as outsiders, for differing reasons, in each of their half-hour timeslots. Pelham opts for a line in…

Neel Kolhatkar in GENeration comedY

10 Aug 20142 stars

Disappointing Fringe debut of observational comedy from 20-year-old

On the back of modest Youtube success with observational videos about his life in contemporary Australia, Neel Kolhatkar makes a disappointing Fringe debut. Drawing on similar content to that of his videos, he offers a mix of personal anecdotes and…

Sam Avery: Rock and Dole

10 Aug 20143 stars

Absorbing autobiographical and hilarious insight into hidden world of rock'n'roll

Dispatches from the frontline of rock'n'roll. At the age of 15 Sam Avery and three of his pals formed a band. After mulling over some frankly ridiculous ideas they finally called themselves dHb (far better than one early suggestion: 'Techno Pussy…

Ria Lina: School of Riason

10 Aug 20143 stars

Thoughtful and likeable show exploring modern education makes the grade

For a wide variety of reasons (some of which sound truthful, others are purely for the purposes of a gag), Ria Lina decided to home-school her three kids. This is the story of how and why she took that major task on board. After a shaky start featuring…

Robin and Partridge: Robin Dies at the End of the Show

10 Aug 20143 stars

Rabid enthusiasm teeters in edge of awfulness on too many occasions undermining excitable energy

As obviously unlikely as it would be in the real world, subtlety is the middle name of neither Robin Clyfan nor Charlie Partridge. Theirs was a double-act show with a vague story running through it which teetered on the edge of awfulness on far too many…

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Sophie Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She’s Dead

10 Aug 20143 stars

Amusing monologue on teenage years from Fresh Meat from Kick-Ass actress

Sophie Wu is currently forging a decent acting career for herself, picking up supporting roles in the Kick-Ass franchise and Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. She wasn’t always so successful, though: in her teenage years, she suffered intense bullying at the…

Abandoman: Hot Desk

11 Aug 20144 stars

Thoroughly entertaining and impressive hip hop improv show at Edinburgh Fringe

It seems that P Diddy has so little to do with his time that he has captured hip hop improvisers Rob Broderick and his band and set them the task of writing him a new album brimming with hits. Whether Diddy knows about this plan is beside the point.

Adian Goately: Films With My Dad

11 Aug 20142 stars

Affable and likeable raconteur of autobioigraphical tales and observational material

Aidan Goatley lives in Brighton, managed a pet shop, worked at a gay club and studied scriptwriting. The premise for this show is how, with all that in mind, he navigates a relationship with his traditionally masculine, navy engineer father. Hint: the…

Andrew Doyle: Zero Tolerance

11 Aug 20143 stars

Highly amusing Edinburgh Fringe show about raw heartbreak eventually becomes easy to pre-empt

Hell hath no fury like Andrew Doyle dumped. Applying his typical cruel wit to the thoughts a recent break-up has left him with, he doesn’t just thoroughly shred his ex with that sharp tongue, it’s people who talk on trains, homophobes, children, readers…

Bobby Mair: Off Meds

11 Aug 20142 stars

Canadian funnyman has nice gags but ramshackle structure brings act down

'My act is like a finger in the ass,' asserts Bobby Mair towards the end of his show. But despite opening with a dubious joke about Gaza, he's not as controversial as he thinks. The Canadian slacker mixes observations with made up stories to varying…

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Croft & Pearce: Give and Take

11 Aug 20143 stars

Enjoyable hour of comedy in need of extra funny injection

One thing's for sure in this show, you can't fault Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce's skills as actors. They bring to life all of their diverse characters with absolute precision and conviction. Effortlessly changing from middle aged, middle class ladies…

The Philharmonic of Wit

11 Aug 20142 stars

Polish symphonic comedy troupe leave a lot to be desired in uneven and stilted show

There is more whimsy than wit in this uneven show from Poland's leading/only symphonic comedy troupe. While I can't deny the exceptional talent of the nineteen-piece orchestra, their hokey comedy shtick leaves a lot to be desired. It's a pity, as…

Tom Toal in Prequel

11 Aug 20143 stars

Touching addition to the Daniel Kitson-esque heart-on-sleeve comedy subgenre at the Edinburgh Fringe

Ever since Daniel Kitson first shambled into view over a decade ago, the comedy circuit has become increasingly full of sensitive young men combining conventional stand-up with soul-searching ruminations on the nature of existence. But whereas Kitson…

Ctrl+Alt+Delete

10 Aug 20142 stars

Stultifying and unedifying political performance poetry narrative

Amy Jones is a spunky white girl growing up in South London with pictures of Nelson Mandela and the Spice Girls in her bedroom. We discover this through the medium of student night poetry slam, home video and, in case we miss the point, a Spice Girls…

George Ryegold: Iron Face in a Velvet Beard

10 Aug 20143 stars

Sturdily constructed and potent Edinburgh Fringe show from disgraced medic

Disgraced medic George Ryegold has an impeccable and reassuring bedside manner. He wears a fuzzy beard and corduroy jacket; his speech is peppered with avuncular Old Etonionisms (everything’s ‘bloody’ or ‘a bugger’); and his Radio 4-friendly voice is…

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Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

10 Aug 20144 stars

Exquisitely executed antics delivered with energy and commitment

Three comedians all lacking in dignity / In a darkened room where we lay our scene / From ancient comedy format breaks new sketches / Where new Shakespearean laughs are gleaned. In a rapid-fire onslaught of superlative sketch comedy Stephen Harvey…

Hennessy and Friends: Murmurs

10 Aug 20142 stars

Childish, rough, and repetitive material from critically lauded group

In all aspects but the energy of its eponymous frontwoman, this is an extremely weak showing from the critically lauded Hennessy (Miranda) and Friends (David Seymour and Steven Shapland). Unrecognisable from their poster quotes and past reviews (they…

Lucy Beaumont: We Can Twerk It Out

10 Aug 20143 stars

Not enough material or structure on show despite being genuinely engaging and likeable

Some people you really want to like and Lucy Beaumont is most definitely one of them, she walks on stage and immediately catches you with her bright eyed look and distinctly accented tones. Lucy you see is from Hull a fact that is integral for the…

Marlon Davis: Once Upon A Grime

10 Aug 20142 stars

Energetic personality barely covers cracks in foundations of a wobbly and familiar set

Opening with the claim that he doesn’t like the title of his show nor does it have any bearing on the content, Marlon Davis’ megawatt smile, infection enthusiasm and dynamic delivery seem auspicious. Then comes the tired old excuse that his manager made…

Rhys James: Begins

10 Aug 20142 stars

Underwhelming début lacks humour and fails to find niche

Rhys James wants badly to make it as a comedian. He plays a video at the start of his show, about choosing the right title with help from his agent, and agreeing on buzzwords to put in the press release about it. (He settles on ‘ Begins ’ for a title…

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Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane

10 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian delivers moments of ingenuity in show with more potential than impact

Alongside Craig David, Dane Baptiste is one of the few successful things to have its roots in Grenada. But the comedian will hear nothing negative about the man who will be forever entrenched in the UK psyche as the chief target of ridicule in Bo…

Justin Hamilton: Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

10 Aug 20142 stars

Highly amicable company fails to make impact with ill-aimed lines

Words can be used as weapons, skewering society and its ills with strategically chosen phrases for a successfully potent, perhaps even offensive routine. This Australian comic tackles the battleground of the stage in a far less confrontational style…

Laurence Clark: Moments of Instant Regret

10 Aug 20143 stars

Much to enjoy in humourous show with clever twist

We all have regrets in life. But Laurence Clark has so much of his own share that he can get a full hour out of his Moments of Instant Regret. Among the swathe of cringeworthy incidents that presumably have him waking up in the night in a cold sweat are…

A Split Decision

10 Aug 20143 stars

Referendum debate as divorce comedy best taken as the bit of fun it’s meant to be

With so many commentators discussing the forthcoming independence referendum as a marriage in crisis, comedian Keir McAllister’s decision to stage the debate in a Relate consulting room makes a lot of sense. Inspired by Stanley Odd’s song, Marriage…

Austentatious: An Improvised Novel

10 Aug 20144 stars

A cannily entertaining period improv show in the style of Jane Austen

Plenty of improv, particularly long-form like this, easily becomes meandering and flabby if you take it on a journey where literally anything can happen. But they're a canny lot Austentatious: not only does performing improv in the style of Jane Austen…