Reviews & features: Rebecca Ross

44 reviews

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Pat Cahill: Start

16 Aug 20132 stars

Hard to find a footing in this hasty hodge-podge of a show

Pat Cahill begins by explaining how it’s hard to start – though in fact once he gets going it’s hard to stop him. It’s all too rushed in this confused jumble of a show, with erudite observations flying by amongst inane remarks, without giving the…

Jim Campbell: Stupid Animals

13 Aug 20134 stars

An hour that will leave you entertained, enlightened and sharing in the comedian’s own humanity

As soon as Jim Campbell walks on to the stage you know you're in safe hands – which is worth half the ticket price alone. Comfortable, relaxed and refreshingly static, Campbell cuts a stark comparison with the sweating, pacing rattletraps who all too…

Amy Hoggart as Pattie Brewster: Just a Normal Girl Doing a Cool Show

9 Aug 20133 stars

A character show gives paws for thought

Amy Hoggart’s character creation Pattie Brewster is a sweeter-than-the-sugar-coated-truth self-help happiness coach, and in this Pattie-centric show, Hoggart plays a shrill, emotionally unstable ailuromaniac (or crazy cat lady, to you and me). There’s…

Chastity Butterworth & The Spanish Hamster

9 Aug 20133 stars

A versatile and wry character act

Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan hangs up her breastplate to bring you frisky Victorian governess Chastity Butterworth in this show of allusion and frivolity. Chastity is down on her luck and off her frock on uppers. An hour in her company is quaint…

Max and Ivan – The Reunion

5 Aug 20132 stars

An unstoppably buoyant duo with ultimately infectious gusto and stage presence

In Max and Ivan’s sketch parody of a college reunion the duo deliver a kind of bugs-bunny-baseball show, playing a whole host of roles at the same time in this quick-fire performance. The sketches revolve largely around hyper-allergic bumbler, Brian…

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Michael J Dolan: Nothing Will Ever Be Alright Again, Ever

5 Aug 20132 stars

Nihilist comedian appears likeable but lacks resolve

Dolan almost didn’t come to the Fringe this year – indeed, with this cursory performance it’s almost as though he isn’t quite here. What’s billed as a no-nonsense dose of misanthropy turns out to be merely a vacillating moan – its light tone and…

The Beta Males: Superopolis

5 Aug 20133 stars

The troupe consistently bring a genuine energy and creativity to the performance

You don’t have to be a closet sci-fi geek to enjoy ‘Superopolis’ – but it helps. In this well-crafted superheroic sketch comedy the five-piece group start as they mean to go on – with confidence, charm and silliness in equal measure. The group is…

Asher Treleaven: Matador

23 Aug 20114 stars

Fresh, exciting and energetic

There’s no explanation for the rose-trimmed, front-lawn stage Treleaven spends the hour dandying around, but this seems to fit in with his marvellously peculiar persona. His bittersweet harangue on racism is as intelligent and heartfelt as it is funny.

Mabbs & Justice: Love Machine

23 Aug 20112 stars

Joke on characters’ thespian shortcomings tragically bypasses irony

James Mabbett and Adam Justice are questionable actors and, as M&J, a bit annoying. There are some averagely amusing moments, and effective use of a projector, but the show’s main joke is the characters’ thespian shortcomings, which tragically bypasses…

Mark Dolan

23 Aug 20113 stars

Genial bumbling and his confident stage presence is charming and droll

Ranting about everyday ills could quickly become dour, but Dolan’s genial bumbling, juxtaposed with his confident stage presence is charming and droll. His ability to make mundane chatter with the audience quaintly humorous is his real selling point…

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Tom Bell Begins

23 Aug 20112 stars

Tangent tales turn too often into ramblings

Formerly in duo Tommy and the Weeks, Bell’s solo show has more tangents than a geometry textbook. This sometimes works well, in strange spiels that play to his effervescent oddness, but mostly the performance is inconsistent, turning too frequently into…

Michael Workman - Humans Are Beautiful

16 Aug 20113 stars

Surreal, meditative show from philosophical, esoteric intellect

In this surreal, meditative show Workman spins an impressively sustained yarn about his journey through a warzone accompanied by a talking dog and his grave-digging love interest. His philosophical, esoteric intellect is tangible beneath the surface of…

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…

The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek

15 Aug 20113 stars

Feel-good comedy from the sketch-happy threesome

In this veritable zip-wire of a show the three Gs whiz through characters from garden gnomes to mime addicts. The timing and production are truly remarkable, and there’s absolutely nothing to dislike about these lads, whose genuine enthusiasm is…

Nick Helm - Dare to Dream

12 Aug 20113 stars

Shouty Marmite musical act

Nick Helm is whipping up quite a storm on the comedy circuit, and you can see why. He is certainly a force to be reckoned with: confident, commanding, and able to straddle the line between brusque, brash delivery, and engaging moments of…

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Brown and Corley: Born in the 80s

8 Aug 20111 star

Like bad school drama production

This is like watching a bad school drama production – where those involved aren’t your offspring, you’re not obliged to laugh. Brown is relentlessly abrasive, which makes Corley’s blandness a comparative blessing. The best thing about it is the…

Catriona Knox

8 Aug 20112 stars

Signs of promise but dialogue lacks punch

The platter of characters here are, at best, well-acted and have the right foundations to be spun into entertaining sketches. However, the dialogue doesn’t pack enough punch and the material quickly grates; that doesn’t deter Knox, who even returns to…


8 Aug 20113 stars

Character-based sketches maintain constant audience engagement

Max Dickins and Mark Smith present an hour which thrives on its unpredictability, offering character-based sketches while maintaining a constant audience engagement. The show takes slightly too long to gather momentum, after an awkward start, and would…

Matt Rudge

8 Aug 20112 stars

Natural warmth let down by meandering dialogue

While he’s the sort of nice, respectable boy you might take home to meet your mother, Rudge isn’t lighting any fires in this lolloping show, which features meandering dialogue and humour with little spark. The routine seems a bit too earnestly…

Sex You (I’m Gonna) – featuring Nathan Phillips

8 Aug 20112 stars

More sophisticated than it advertises itself to be

Like the ‘grower, not show-er penis’ that Nathan Phillips tells us about, this act sells itself short, proving mercifully more sophisticated than it advertises itself to be; in fact, he’s quite the gentleman. The inescapable problem is that it doesn’t…

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Vinegar Knickers

5 Aug 20112 stars

A well-titled ‘sketchy beast’

Sketchy just about sums this show up. Despite high-energy, enthusiastic performances from Samantha Baines, Katie Burnetts and Harriet Fisher, like a cheap chicken Caesar salad the meaty bits are too few and far between, and the ‘lettuce’ material is…

The Gentleman of Leisure

25 Aug 20103 stars

Engaging and sharp

Tom Neenan and Nish Kumar are The Gentlemen of Leisure, bringing you an energetic and enlightening hour of satire and silliness. Although a little more on-stage chemistry between the pair wouldn’t go amiss, the duo are engaging and sharp, and pull off…

Seymour Mace

25 Aug 20104 stars

Odd, witty and unexpected gags galore

Since Mace has been accused of not putting enough of himself into his performance, he has thrown his whole lazy self into this year’s show. You’ll get a whole different kettle of joke to that of the mainstream Festival here with odd, witty and…

Shappi Khorsandi

23 Aug 20103 stars

Falls disappointingly short of expectations

As Khorsandi’s reputation sky-rockets, her material about divorce and single motherhood falls disappointingly short of expectations. The show loses momentum for perceptible periods of time and if the jokes are a tad lacklustre, Khorsandi herself is…

Susan Murray

23 Aug 20103 stars

Interesting and intelligent

Murray’s bold and playful set is nothing less than you’d expect from a Weegie with a Brummie accent. Although the show isn’t necessarily joke-heavy, this lady has done her research and the material is interesting and intelligent, particularly as Murray…