Reviews & features: Comedy, Paul Dale

15 reviews

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The Silky Pair

22 Aug 20122 stars

A few sketches hit the mark, but feels cobbled together

Female duo The Silky Pair sells sketches and songs from their comedy shop. Punters have the chance to buy complete routines including outfits and hand gestures. It's a conceptual comedy cliché that's as old as The Two Ronnies but that doesn't mean it…

I Am, I Am

15 Aug 20124 stars

Highly entertaining slapstick minstrelry from promising troubadour comedy duo

For ones so young it's obscene how much confidence these duelling acoustic troubadours from Cambridge have. With their genre shifting ditties and punning rhymes I Am, I Am are most obviously comparable to The Flight of the Conchords but their very…

The Funeral of Conor O'Toole

11 Aug 20123 stars

Compassionate comedy skirting with tedium

Fey, morbid and awkward Conor O’Toole is an unlikely comedian. A noted Goth, O’Toole wants to plan his own funeral and he is after an audience. He leads a curious bunch of punters from Bristo Square to Greyfriars Kirkyard, gets them to settle near some…

Jessie Cave: Bookworm

11 Aug 20123 stars

A bookish, kooky, bolshy hour

Jessie Cave has a thing about books. She also has a thing about power. Founding a book club is a given. Giddy with excitement, Cave parades her many eccentricities while laying down the various rules of book club. Before becoming an actress (she played…

Ruby Wax: Losing It

19 Aug 20113 stars

A fevered and empowering comic monologue

According to a 2009 report, one in ten people in Scotland take daily medication for depression. This demographic are Ruby Wax’s kind of people. Broadened out from a community project that Wax and best friend/musician Judith Owen toured around NHS mental…

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Paul Foot: Still Life

16 Aug 20113 stars

Childish ingenuity and some laughs but feels like going through the motions

Like Frankie Howerd before him, procrastination and performance deconstruction filtered through a mesh of silliness are Foot’s stock in trade. Despite previous Fringe prowess, Still Life has him going through the motions. There’s childish ingenuity and…

Danny Bevins

15 Aug 20113 stars

Muscular comedy from the former soldier, jailbird and redneck

Former soldier, jailbird and dysfunctionally raised red neck, Bevins is a gifted and dyspeptic stand-up, stringing together material on the ancient theme that all humanity is excrement. Like a mildly less political Bill Hicks, Bevins likes to confound…

Carey Marx

12 Aug 20113 stars

The thinking man’s shock jock

Middle-aged and feeling decrepit and pointless, Carey Marx believes in speaking his sordid little mind. Opinions on clitoral stimuli, fat people who stop suddenly in the street, feminists and circumcision-revenge-rabbi-rape spill easily from his…

Colin Hoult

8 Aug 20112 stars

Talented and energetic performer targets UK provinces

Somewhere between Angry Boys and The League of Gentlemen lies Colin Hoult. A clearly talented and energetic performer, Hoult’s bag is the grotesquery of the provinces. Crap Welsh poets, crime stoppers from East Midlands, gleeful northern dogs and…

Doctor Brown

8 Aug 20112 stars

Silent and vulgar tedium

Surrealism and silent comedy have a long and healthy relationship. Ask Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. You’d have to dig them up first, but that may be preferable to spending time with the hirsute Doctor Brown. In his silk dressing gown…

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John Bishop

18 Aug 20093 stars

Master of the familiar and familial anecdote

Liverpool FC-loving dad prevaricates on age, fatherhood, pornography, playing a lesbian’s father in Skins, Elvis’ death, and (indulgently) his personal journey to Anfield. Broad, culturally conservative but funny, there’s nothing surprising here, but…

Andrew Watts

18 Aug 20092 stars

Without any decent jokes

Taking a rough show chronology from The Kinks’ 1968 single ‘David Watts’, posh butterball and depressed ex-lawyer Andrew Watts takes us on a journey through his arcane obsessions and observations. With his talk of macro-economics and pharmaceutical…

Bethany Black

7 Aug 20082 stars

Personal story told with little verve

You would think that a goth, lesbian, post-op transsexual might have a few interesting stories to tell? And Bethany Black does, but she doesn't know how to tell them. From an early age Black felt she was in the wrong body. By her twenties she was…

Eco-friendly Jihad

7 Aug 20083 stars

Saving the planet with fun

Irish columnist and comedian Abie Philbin Bowman, creator of Jesus: The Guantanamo Years, returns for a second coming. This time, he wants to save the world and like his famous father (Irish broadcaster and historian John Bowman) he believes that real…

Pete Firman

7 Aug 20084 stars

For a bit of straightforward, old-fashioned entertainment you can't go wrong with comedy magician Firman. With the giddy fakir style trickery skills of Tommy Cooper and the flirtatious warmth of Eric Morecambe, he's a northern crowd-pleasing wonder.