Alex Horne 000 The classically educated birdwatcher is on about neologistic invention (that’s new words) this year. imagine a self-deprecating hybrid of Stephen Fry and Dave (iorman holding court on his favourite subjects with some clever (if sometimes distracting) multimedia props. Quirky. candid and engaging. (Suzanne Black) I’Ieasant'e ('ourtyartl. 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not 20), 7.40pm. [9.50—[I0.50

( («S—£9).

Andrew Bird .0 Ten years ago. obsessive ()asis fan Bird wondered where he‘d be now. If he dreamed of beittg a run-of-the mill stand-up with perfectly amiable btit less than outstanding material. then jobs a good ‘un. (Brian Donaldson) I’leasant‘e ('ourtyanl. 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not I2). 8.30pm.

[8. 50—1“). 50 ( [7 - [8).

Apes Like Me .0 It's tough playing to a tiny crowd but most stand- ups are capable of going it alone without audience participation to lean on. Kate Smurthwaite excavates the seams of evolution. creationism and the close human/chimp relationship to create another endearing show-and-tell of amusineg interesting titbits. bttt it's far from revolutionary. (Suzanne Black) (' Sot'o (fr/7a)) (ion/en. 0845 260 I234. until 25 Aug. 7pm. [7.501050

(16.50 [8.50).

The Arab, the Jew and the Chicken 0.. Billed as a fun. fast and feisty exploration of the Middle liast conflict. this is a smart show with some great sketches. Pinching and pulling various views and prejudices. these gttys prove that the Gaza Strip can be a barrel of laughs. And there's a life-size chicken thrown in for good measure. (llannah Adcock) (' ('entral. 0845 260 I234. until 25 Aug. 8.35pm. £8.50 [I050

(£7.50 1.“). 50).

The Boom Jennies .00 This three-woman comedy act manages to gel slick silly awkwardness with surreal nonsense and evett a hint of a dark side. It's a slow burner of a show. and there are no real belly laughs. btit you may find sortie smiles sneaking up to tickle you under the chin. (Jill Peacock) (' Sum. 0845 260 I234. until 25 Attg (not II). 7.40pm. [8.50-—[I0.50 (1.7.50— £9.50). Bridget Christie .0. (‘hristic's obsession with King (‘hat'les ll began almost 30 years ago. when she became fascinated by a portrait of him surrounded by spaniels atid oranges. ller eccentric but likeably bonkers show brings him back to life. along with Samuel Pepys and her own performance art interpretation of the (ireat Plague. Also features a live witch-burning. sword fighting and dulcitner playing. ((‘laire Sawers) Ila/7v Belly. 0844 545 8252. until 24 Aug (not [2). 4.50pm. [850-110

t [7. 50- {9).

David Longley 000 As intense and intelligent a performer as you're likely to see all summer. Longley is as angry with himself as he is at the rest of the world. The super-cynical comedian not only tells great jokes. but you sense that his rants on everything from sex to religion come straight frotn the heart. (Tom Maxwell) The Stand II. 558 7272. until 24 Aug (not II). II.30/mt. £7 ([6). Des Clarke 0... in front of a predominantly Scottish crowd. Glaswegian (‘larke effortlessly works his

rootn. Quick with amusing comments on every town in his native land and beyond. he spends the first section of his show getting to know his audience like the consummate circuit performer he is. But (‘larke’s intention is to guide the show onto the notion of desire. recalling his first sexual experience. (Marissa Burgess) l)l(’(l.\'(lll(‘(’ ('ourtyanl. 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not I3). 9.20pm. (/15!) (13.5!)(1‘1/ (/2).

Domestic Goddi 000 For those sick of the myriad demands the modern woman is expected to sate. this female double act offers an hour’s reprieve. l’rotn traumatic waxing and inflatable dolls to teachers‘ bitter child-hating. you’re tnore likely to chuckle and nod in condolence than fall over laughing. but there are cupcakes and spectacles aplenty to distract you from the multi-tasking you sliotild be doing. (Kate (iould) I’leasanee (‘ourtvartl 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not 20). 12.55pm. £8. 50—1.").50 (1.7-1.8).

The Duck That Died for No Reason .00 Not everything makes a great deal of sense. but Frankly Robert Productions' latest sketch show contains plenty of laughs and moments of genuine poignancy. The best bits revolve around the scurviest video pirate ever to sail the seven seas and a former POW looking on the plus side of torture. (Tom Maxwell) (' Soto. 0845 260 I234. until 24 Aug (not otltI-tlatetl (lays). 6.25pm. £6.50--£8. 50

t [5 . 50-- t‘ 7. 5 0).

Edward Aczel 00 If it‘s quick— lire gags or humorous musings on the human condition you‘re after. look elsewhere. Ac/el's entire routine is based on the fact that he‘s ill-prepared and can‘t really be bothered. It’s quite amusing to begin with. bttt at some poitit you may well want to take him tip on his offer of borrowing a jigsaw puzzle. (Tom


Des Clarke

Maxwell) Underbelly. 0844 545 8252. until 24 Aug, 4.05pm. £8.50—[I0

([7. 50—19).

An Evening Without Dignity oooo Fantastically puerile humour. well-worked ideas and clever one-liners make this sketch show a grubby little gem. Terrorism. syphilis. date rape and public masturbation are just a few of the topics it manages to make entertainineg silly. The gratuitous use of the word ‘poo' is a good indication of its content: dirty. rough around the edges. but still great for laughs. (.lonny linsall) (' (‘entra/. 0845 260 I234, until 25 Aug (not I2). 10.50pm. £7.50—£9.50

( £5 .50—f8. 50 ).

Fiona O’Loughlin 000 The great thing about the manic ()‘Loughlin is her authenticity. Whether she's confessing to failing as a mother-of—five or raging at the ‘ostentatious humility" of Nicole Kidtnan. the Alice Springs resident is utterly convincing. It takes real personality to pull off this kind of self- scrutiny. and ()‘l-oughlin is a natural. (Nick Mitchell) Gilded Balloon Teviot. 668 [633. until 25 Aug (not 12). 9.]5pnt. [9—1210 (LR—£9).

The Gadabouts 0.0 There was a young sketch troupe called Gadabouts / With three handsome gents. or thereabouts / When scene-ending got hairy / They used an anthropomorphised cherry IThey‘ll go far with this comedy. I‘ve no doubts. Knockabout. laugh-a- minute sketches with nods to The Young ()nes‘s talking objects and We Are Klang‘s group dynamic. (Suzanne Black) I’leasanee Dome. 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not ll. I8), 3.45mi), £8.5()—£9.50 t£7—£8)

The Grandoes O. This amateurish production tells of Nicodemus' quest to find the magic key to open the Box of Cricks for his barmy

grandmother on her 100th birthday. There is little to praise here as sadly the writers seem to think that merely mentioning poo or wee will get them a laugh. The only relief comes with amusing dance sequences. (Marissa Burgess) Baby Belly. 0844 545 8252. until 24 Aug (not 12). I.I5pm. £8.5()-£9.5() (£7.50—£8.50).

Ha Ha Hamlet 0 This pun- laden adaptation of Hamlet by three street performers is enthusiastically performed. but sadly falls flat. Taking the mick out of Shakespearean over-acting. Andrew. Ben and Mike look into a sea of bemused faces as they deliver such gems as: ‘What’s afoot? About 12 inches’. then throw rubber chickens and Barbie dolls around. Odd. (Claire Sawers) Gilded Balloon Tet'iot. 668 I633, until 25 Aug. 5.30pm. £10—[l I ( £8—£ 9 ).

Jeff Green .00 Green has the pleasant vocal tones of a traditional English whinger; he‘s recently been married and increased his family size. but what he really wants to talk about is caravan holidays and petty foibles of British middle-aged life. Some of the material is too tried and tested (yes. Australians often take jobs in bars). but still averages a laugh every few seconds. (Emma Lennox) Assembly Rooms. 623 3030, until 25 Aug. 7.50pm. £13—fl6 (HZ—£15).

Josh Howie on Don't expect to see PR guru Lynne Franks at this show. for Howie is the son who had to go along with his mum's wacky Jewish then Buddhist then Native American then Jewish-again ways throughout his childhood. which is extremely funny - now that he can look back on it. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasanee Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug (not I3), 9.45pm. £9.5()—£1().5() (Qt—£9).

Justin Moorhouso COO Moorhouse is not after any more friends. In fact he‘s bored of the poking and social contrivance of Facebook and its ilk; he wants to cut his 681 ‘friends' down tojust the five who really mean something. that make a difference. that you can rely on. So he sent out a questionnaire. Eminently likeable. the gags flow easily for an hour of solid no nonsense stand-up. (Henry Northmore) Pleasanee Courtyard. 556 6550, 7. I 5pm, until 25 Aug (not I3). £lI—£12

( £9. 50—£1 0. 50).

Karl Spain 0. Spain's show spins off an endearing premise: he has diabetes. but doesn’t really know what it is. Regaling the crowd with down-the— pub tales of his unquenchable thirst. leg boils and an infected penis. this self- proclaimed food addict gets off to a compelling start. but when he turns from self-deprecating jokes about hospital beds to Limerick based gags. he loses his way. (Rosalie Doubal) The Stand II. 558 7272. until 24 Aug (not II). 2.40pm, £8 (£7)

Kerry Godliman 000 Is life full of expectations that have absolutely no chance of being fulfilled? Godliman had a eureka moment in a Little Chef which opened up a world of disappointment to her and a wealth of atnusing tales told with verve and panache. You‘ll be talking in smallprint for days afterwards. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasanee Dome. 556 6550. 5pm. tutti! 25 Aug (not I3). £8.50—£9.50 (£7—£8).