Festival Comedy HANNAH GADSBY Does mother really know best? ●●●●●
Hannah Gadsby’s domineering, Catholic mammy has plenty to answer for. She dressed her youngest daughter in beige tracksuits and pleated purple golf shorts, treated serious injuries with Tupperware and spoke in an unintelligible personal code: you’ll never guess what the show’s rather odd title, Kiss Me Quick I’m Full of Jubes, means in Mrs Gadsby’s world. Those parenting skills may have bordered on negligence but they did gift this amiable Antipodean a rich seam of comic gold, which she mines with aplomb.
With a self-deprecation that borders on flagellation, the chunky, bespectacled Gadsby goes from childhood in Tasmania (‘famous for its frighteningly small gene pool’) to eventually coming out to her stiflingly conventional family. Along the way we hear about a traumatic recent encounter with a personal trainer and the BMI (‘I’m 56% fat-free’ she announces with a mix of pride and weary resignation) and an alarmingly lengthy history of accidents and ailments. A lesser talent might have turned mother into a one-dimensional monster: instead Gadsby, with deadpan delivery and razor-sharp wit, makes her the basis of a minor comic masterpiece. (Peter Geoghegan) ■ Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug (not 17), 7.20pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).
WILL GOMPERTZ Educating the masses about art history ●●●●● A strange one this. Will Gompertz is a senior director at Tate Gallery and looks it: tall, bookish, bespectacled, with a brow you could advertise on. His show aims to informally inform about the history of modern art from
GEORGE RYEGOLD Bloody fare with a rash of silver linings ●●●●●
Last Fringe, this candle and cushion venue was lit up by the moustachioed mirth of Mike Wozniak with his tales of penile injury and other various bodily malfunctions. The mental scars will have just about healed for all those who heard tell of such pains, when in walks George Ryegold to up the ante and go deeper and darker into the fragility of the human frame. With a show title like Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead, you’d expect a foul-mouthed (possibly Antipodean) people-hater to be espousing euthanasia at every turn, but instead we have this good (British) doctor piercing our brain sacks with images and similes which will linger long and hard in the mind.
Ryegold has the measured style of Wozniak with the treacly boom of a UK Louis CK, applying a rich coating over the never-ending talk of genital and faecal misfortune. It would be a medicinal treat to have him pacing up and down the corridors of the comedy circuit. Whether you’d want him looming large above your sickbed is another matter. (Brian Donaldson) ■ Medina & Negociants, 225 6313, until 17 Aug, 10.15pm; 19–30 Aug (not 25), 11.30pm, £5.
the Impressionists onward and takes place in a suitably characterless classroom in the University of Edinburgh. If the prospect of learning something at the Fringe gives you the screaming meemies, rest easy. Though the purpose of Double Art History is indeed to educate, Gompertz has taken pains to make the act breezy, surreal, often quite silly. No belly laughs, but no curled toes either.
He casts himself as a supply teacher, filling in for the audience’s absent, apparently deranged art lecturer. With the aid of PowerPoint slides, some 100 years and 27 ‘isms’ are barrelled through at a fiendish clip. Gompertz is not a comedy pro. Some gags are too high-concept for their content, others are just weak. But against all the odds, this show, a gussied-up lecture on extinct artistic tendencies, is not boring. That’s no small success. (Sam Healy)
■ Underbelly’s Hullabaloo, 0844 545 8252, until 23 Aug, 5.50pm, £9–£10 (£7–£8).
FERGUS CRAIG How soap can save your soul ●●●●● ‘When it’s good, it’s alright, but when it’s bad it’s better,’ is the mantra all hardened Neighbours fans agree upon. Fergus Craig is one of the few to have remained loyal, following the hugely popular Aussie soap’s shift to Five and the endearing comedian certainly knows his stuff. Ushered in to the nostalgic strains of Kylie and Jason warbling ‘Especially for You’, Craig pays homage to that which some 20m people loved about Neighbours, using crowd-pleasing clips of seminal moments with pithy DVD style commentary. Stifled squeals greeted Jim Robinson’s hammy ‘showreel for Hollywood’ heart attack, anguished sighs welcomed Dee and
40 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 13–20 Aug 2009
Toadie’s ill-fated marriage and laboured sniffs were overheard at Scott and Charlene’s big day. Much more than an orchestrated
group hike down memory lane however, the show articulates Craig’s own life using the soap. His upbringing in Newcastle, being bullied and subsequent refuge in playing the clown are seen through the prism of Neighbours, the cast his constant companions. Infectious, assured and gleeful, this could be right up your (Ramsay) Street, whether you’re a fan of the show or not. (Peggy Hughes) ■ Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 4.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).
ELAINE MALCOLMSON & NIALL BROWNE Cheeky N’Ireland pair do a video nation thing ●●●●●
Elaine Malcolmson and Niall Browne are Northern Ireland’s top comics based in Scotland. With All Kinds of Everything, they attempt to dismantle their country’s still lingering public image of bombs, bullets and balaclavas by hingeing their show on a much gentler province, one of peculiar diphthongs and George Best. One routine where the country is dubbed N’Ireland to avoid certain political connotations leads to an amusing confusion with a rather famous fictional character.
Playing off each other in a kind of good cop (Malcolmson) daft cop (Browne) scenario, there is rather too much reliance on video sequences starring the potato fairy (an alky whose industry is going down the tubes) and the ‘Giant of the Causeway’ (playing on Browne’s less than statuesque frame). While their low-energy blarney does amuse, one can only wonder if such meandering, site-specific nuances would titillate all markets. (Peggy Hughes) ■ The Stand, 558 7272, until 30 Aug (not 17), 12.30pm, £7 (£6).