Reviews & features: Peggy Hughes

65 reviews

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Andrew Maxwell: Banana Kingdom

5 Aug 20134 stars

Astute political commentary allied with particularly impressive range from the Dubliner

The Giant Purple Cow is strained packed to her udders for Andrew Maxwell. Banana Kingdom puts Scottish politics at its heart, flanked by brilliant flights of anecdote and witty home truths. It navigates big topics - the Catholic Church, America's gun…

Real MacGuffins Come Again

5 Aug 20133 stars

Magnificent hats and oddball songs

Dan, Matt and Jim AKA sketch trio Real MacGuffins are back for another hour-long pick ‘n’ mix of sweet, heart-warming goodness. With little more than a keyboard, bargain basement costume tat and bags of enthusiasm and energy, they tackle skits involving…

Howard Read: Hide and Speak

4 Aug 20132 stars

Innovative animation doesn’t quite pay off at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Howard Read is no stranger to experimentation: the first to use animation in live comedy, his conceit here is to perform stand-up as a cartoon character, live. Like puppetry but with cartoons. And a ukulele! An animator as well as stand-up…

Poets from Dear World and Everyone In It anthology set for Edinburgh Book Festival event

1 Aug 2013

New anthology features Sam Riviere, Miriam Gamble, Emily Berry and Jo L Walton

Want to know what's really going on in the current UK poetry landscape? Roll up! Dear World and Everyone In It, a ground-breaking anthology which ‘attempts to define a generation’ has (re)drawn the map for you – and this event offers a guided tour.

Award-winning journalist James Meek to speak at Edinburgh Book Festival

19 Aug 2012

Meek will speak on his upcoming novel and the importance of book festivals

James Meek’s upcoming novel, The Heart Broke In, is billed as ‘a seductive drama full of scandal, dilemmas, love and sacrifice’. Coupled with his previous form, the acclaimed The People’s Act of Love and We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, the Charlotte…

Dan Wright

13 Aug 20123 stars

Energetic and enthusiastic journey through Michael Jackson fandom

Michael Jackson touched Dan Wright. 32 years old and still pining for the star who blazed a trail and burned out too soon, Wright takes us on a trip down memory lane, from childhood to the present day as a hardened fan, via those awkward, bullied…

Tiffany Stevenson

13 Aug 20123 stars

Gobby, warm and putting the world to rights

Swigging cider and conspiratorial, Tiffany Stevenson manages to make you feel like you’re in your local putting the world to rights. And no stone is left unturned or rogue hair unplucked: class (working; ‘bring back tea and manufacturing!’) and racism…

Susan Calman: This Lady's Not for Turning Either

11 Aug 20124 stars

`Self-deprecation and a rock-star start from the First Lady of Scottish Comedy

Susan Calman is at her most passionate and political this year. Equal marriage is on the agenda, but she kites wild and surprising tangents with a lightly manic and highly engaging touch. In the spirit of the list that forms the core of this gleeful…

Etgar Keret to talk at two events at 2012 Edinburgh Book Festival

9 Aug 2012

The Israeli author will host an event with writer Nathan Englander

Etgar Keret is looking forward to returning to the Edinburgh International Book Festival: ‘I’ve been to the festival once and being a spoiled brat wouldn’t have came again unless I know for a fact that I’m going to have a great time.’ He’ll be doing two…

Checkley and Bush's Comedy Riot

7 Aug 20123 stars

Madcap comedy and music mashed with sly observation

Two friends navigate a comic misunderstanding while awaiting rescue from a breakdown recovery man. A menacing trainee marriage counsellor displays her love of books by Martina Cole. With song parodies, Olympics on stage, exaggerated dancing and an ode…

Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough

7 Aug 20123 stars

Thought-provoking, impassioned show from formerly benign McCausland

Previous Fringe shows have seen Chris McCausland bumble around the benign landscapes of budget airlines, cryptic crosswords and moths. But a comment at a party last year – ‘You’re not blind enough’ – struck home. Coupled with a bout of post…

Square Eye Pair

7 Aug 20123 stars

Kiwi duo craft comedy from pop culture mania and loserdom

Kiwi duo Eli Matthewson and Hamish Parkinson are Max and Richard - Woody and Buzz Lightyear, Romy and Michele, Beavis and Butthead. Their bromance was borne out of crippling teenage loserdom, and is sustained in the present day by a couch and a shared…

Barry Morgan's World of Organs

5 Aug 20124 stars

Bouffant bravado and silly surrealism combine to create a memorable comic character

Organ salesman Barry Morgan, proprietor of Barry Morgan’s World of Organs, Sunnyside Mall, Adelaide, has come among us Edinburgh folk to share his missionary zeal for his instrument. He’s hopeful to cinch a sell in the process, for this is no ordinary…


5 Aug 20122 stars

Patchy solo show from Umbilical Brother Shane Dundas

It’s easy to believe why Shane Dundas from the Umbilical Brothers is nervous. We join him on his leap into the unknown of solo stand-up, and the vehicle to ‘nirvana or train wreck’ is a raked lecture theatre with a raised stage: a combo with all the…

Guilt and Shame: Up All Night

5 Aug 20123 stars

A playful and involving double-act with a disarmingly touching narrative arc

It’s a big night on the pull for debauched duo Guilt and Shame. Gabe (Guilt) is the slaggy one, ready to meet the girl of his dreams, and Rob (Shame) is a gay virgin gagging to get laid. The mood in the Underbelly is high. There’s chair dancing and…

Lydia Monks at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2012

1 Aug 2012

The author and illustrator discusses fighting writer’s block and indulging in starspotting

‘If I get stuck on something, I try to approach it from a different angle,’ says illustrator and author Lydia Monks. ‘It’s like hitting a dead end, doing a three-point turn and finding a different route. I think, as a writer or illustrator, you can’t be…

Lights! Camera! Improvise!

23 Aug 20114 stars

Invention, energy and singing show where audience chooses the theme

Invention, energy and singing are all rolled into one fun-flecked show, in which the audience chooses the theme, location and title of a movie and the talented Scat Pack improvise the rest. Here, we were transported to a rom-com in a Scunthorpe…

Slim in Wonderland

23 Aug 20113 stars

Anecdotes amusingly and conspiratorially shared

Men and women, children today (‘spoilt’), his former life driving buses in London and the time he suffered from a penile fracture are all amusingly, conspiratorially shared. Sadly for Slim, his wonderland is a cavernous raked venue, but with fulsome…

The Boom Jennies: Blowout

18 Aug 20114 stars

An exhilarating and surprising blowout

‘Three ambassadors of fun’, the tannoy voice intones as we await the parting of the curtain. ‘A joy strudel to stuff in your faces!’ The Pleasance’s continuity announcer didn’t lie, and it’s easy to compare these funny, endearing, dynamic girls to Smack…

Stephen Carlin: Guilty Bystander

16 Aug 20113 stars

Unsettlingly funny with flashes of greatness

Performing in front of a photofit of his own Yorkshire Ripperish face, Stephen ‘not obsessed with snooker’ Carlin’s Guilty Bystander is unsettlingly funny. Best when he’s being bitter – railing against cheating women or family Christmases – or riffing…

Bella Bathurst - The Bicycle Book

16 Aug 2011

New literary vehicle for Lighthouse Stevensons author

Bella Bathurst’s The Bicycle Book navigates the past and present of two-wheeled travel. From the suffragettes who recognised it as a ‘freedom machine’ to the huge rise in cycling’s popularity in Britain since the millennium, it features a cast of…

John Lynn

15 Aug 20114 stars

Affable comic story-telling with a neat turn of phrase

No matter his subject material, which ranges in profundity from colonoscopies to making the perfect tomato and cheese sandwich, the roguish Lynn is able to mould it into a melodious, charming yarn. An affable, natural performer, he’ll send you away with…

Casual Violence

14 Aug 20113 stars

Versatile cast perform cherfully absurd sketches

‘Six bastards meet their death’ in this cheerfully absurd sketch show. Lively and loud, it’s an excellent instance of what wonders can be achieved with a lilo, George Michael and a depressive, vodka-swilling clown. Though the result is not quite the…

Jen Brister is British(ish)

12 Aug 20114 stars

Wonderfully madcap look at identity

Jen Brister has got it all going on in this splendid hourful of laughing till your face hurts. As a half-Spanish, ‘sepia’-tinged lesbian from London, the question ‘yeah, but where do you come from originally?’ led her to consider what it means to be…

Alistair Green: Outpatient

8 Aug 20112 stars

Entertaining riffs in illness-themed show not for the squeamish

Outpatient retells Green’s experience of having life-threatening kidney disease diagnosed, and is as hard to stomach as Henoch-Schönlein purpura is to pronounce. Not for the squeamish or hypochondriac, though ‘technically interesting’ with some…