Festival ComedyReviews at a Glance list.co.uk/festival
Telephone Booking Fringe 0131 226 0000 International Festival 0131 473 2000 Book Festival 0845 373 5888 Art Festival 0777 169 3470 Andrea Donovan ●●●●● The lingering poignancy of Regret Me Not, in which Donovan portrays a range of fictional women, indicates a bright future for this comic. There are some duds, including a Geordie drug addict turned life coach, but her Aussie school swimming instructor is wickedly funny and her African-baby craving librarian could be one of Fringe 2009’s most tender creations. (Yasmin Sulaiman) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 4.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–8.50). Anil Desai ●●●●● Comedy actor and impressionist Desai hits the Edinburgh circuit with a one-man mission: 52 cards and 52 famous faces in 52 minutes. Desai combines impressions with an improvised sketch show in a fast-paced and unpredictable affair where anything could happen, even Dr Evil playing cricket with Robert De Niro. (Rebecca Ross) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 30 Aug (not 17), 8.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). A Big Trout in a Small Pond ●●●●● Z Theatre Company is ablaze with youthful enthusiasm and fling themselves into this fast-paced sketch show. There are some cracking moments, such as the Barry Scott number, but their young outlook is also their downfall, with too many obvious sketches relying on a naughty word for the punchline. (Siân Bevan) Royal College of Surgeons, 0845 508 8515, until 20 Aug (not 16), 6pm, £5.50 (£4). The Boom Jennies ●●●●● This winsome trio deliver a satisfying platter of traditional sketch show fun by leaning on social repartee’s potential horrors, the gentle hilarity of repetition and the delayed punchline. With particularly adroit deployment of physical comedy, convincing yummy mummies and George Lazenby’s Bond, they make cunning use of a small space and minimal props with enthusiasm and playful invention. (Peggy Hughes) Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 6.15pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Bourgeois and Maurice ●●●●● A sexy, macabre Tim Burton-meets- cabaret, Bourgeois and Maurice expose the ills, evils and insecurities of 21st society with charming depravity. Armed with acid wit, a piano and several inches of make-up, the pair are innovative, provocative and irresistible. In the words of the decadent duo: don’t let the dull people claim your life today. Bourgeois and Maurice are a dynamic and debauched must-see. (Rebecca Ross) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19), 9.45pm, £11–12 (£9.50–£10.50). Bristol Revunions ●●●●● The perils of the sketch show are never more apparent when written and performed by student bodies, and calling your show We Made a Funny is taking a big chance. And despite some horribly flat stuff, the whole shebang is saved by an inspired mime scene and interview with a seafarer. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not
Nathan Caton 17), 11pm, £7.50–£8.50 (£6–£7). Chris McCausland ●●●●● There are some amusing tales about life as McCausland rates his own on a scale of eventfulness from ‘Mr Blinky’ - a man paralysed in all but one eyelid - to Roy Sullivan, struck by lightning seven times. McCausland realises the Guinness World Records is an ‘anthology of the mentally ill’ and he’s better off with a relatively quiet stand-up’s existence. (Senay Boztas) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19), 8.30pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£10.50). Colin Hoult ●●●●● The man formerly known as one half of Colin & Fergus strikes out on his own (albeit with the help of a trio of fine comic turns including Zoe Gardner) to unleash his Carnival of Monsters. There’s barely a line wasted in his performance and though the finale about the ‘monster lurking in all of us’ feels forced, there are more than enough lusty gags and hilarious characters to forgive him. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 3.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Craig Hill ●●●●● Explaining how he was once told his act is ‘better than an epidural’, the stresses of the outside world really do become a distant memory when the captivatingly all-singing, all- dancing bekilted Hill is onstage. Basing his act less on scripted material and more on compere-style ad-libbing with hapless audience members, his quick wit ensures that the laughs come thick and fast. Madame. (Emma Newlands) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 31 Aug (not 16, 23), 8.15pm, £12–£14.50 (£10.50–£12.50). Dan Antopolski ●●●●● Having returned last year after a lengthy absence from Edinburgh to go and have kids and stuff, Antopolski is now firmly back where he belongs, in the body of the Fringe kirk. With a battery of fine gags honed to shiny perfection, he can indulge himself in a pair of risky, not very short raps. There are few comics who could get away with this sort of thing. Dan dares and Dan does. (Brian Donaldson)
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 9.20pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9). David Longley ●●●●● Acid-tongued and sharp as a barrelful of tacks, Englishman Longley is a comedian with an axe to grind. His rants on everything from politics to pregnancy don’t always hit the bullseye, but his witty one-liners keep the laughs ticking over. (Peter Geoghegan) The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 30 Aug (not 17), 8.35pm, £7 (£6). Domestic Goddi 2 ●●●●● Forget ‘succeeding’ as good recyclers, yoga experts, or parents of Mensa babies; Rosie Wilkinson and Helen O’Brien struggle just ‘coping’. 2008’s sell-out duo return with new characters including an Eastern European nanny making extra cash from phone sex; Yorkshire wifies talking like homies dealing crack; and gin-pickled posho Binty, reminiscing about the Punjab. A stupidly talented pair, delivering seamlessly funny sketches. (Claire Sawers) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 1.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Geoff Norcott ●●●●● ‘Sexism is kind of funny’ says former teacher and Nuts TV presenter (!) Norcott during the show’s introduction. ‘It gets results in comedy.’ Hey, it worked for Jim Davidson, right? But what could have been a retread of dated material gets a breath of fresh air with a witty report from the frontline of the battle of the sexes. (Emma Newlands) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19), 7pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£10.50). Hugh Hughes ●●●●● Hugh Hughes in . . . 360 is every bit as touching, though perhaps less polished, than the Welsh performance artist’s previous offerings, the Fringe First-winning Floating and Story of a Rabbit. Without props or music, Hughes relies simply on his charm and affability to tell a tale of friendship and it’s testament to his storytelling talent that the environment he creates is so vivid. (Yasmin Sulaiman) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 7.05pm, £10–£11 (£8.50–£9.50).
42 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 13–20 Aug 2009
Jojo Sutherland ●●●●● Sutherland is a frank middle-aged woman who has led a more interesting life than most. Sadly she seems to think that this plus a few threadbare jokes are enough to carry her autobiographical show. They’re not. Unless your thing is sitting in on a group therapy session. With the quality of humour you’d expect at a group therapy session. (Sam Healy) The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 30 Aug (not 17), 1.20pm, £7 (£6). Keith Farnan ●●●●● Freshly bearded and with a polished hour of new material on racism, intolerance and the literal luck of the Irish, Farnan is in firm control of his pacy, compassionate show. His natural charm bridges the occasional dry spell, and the overall impression is one of a comedian with formidable skill. (Sam Healy) Underbelly, 08445 458 252, until 30 Aug (not 18), 6.30pm, £6.50–£10.50 (£8–£9.50). Late Night Gimp Fight! ●●●●● Though there are a few weaker skits here in a set that is, overall, slickly executed, the boys are by far at their best when they fully embrace (then take from behind) the wrongness. Hitler as a children’s entertainer, two paedos in the park and an interpretation of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ that will ensure you never hear it the same way again. (Marissa Burgess) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19), 11pm, £9–£10 (£7.50–£8.50). Long Tooth ●●●●● One of the true oddball sketch affairs on the Fringe this year comes from Viv Gibbs and Trudi Jackson as they re-enact bits and bobs of ancient history, conduct a book programme with serial killers and jump in the laps of male folks in the crowd. An hour which manages to be both darkly subtle and way, way over-the-top. (Brian Donaldson) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 29 Aug, 2.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Love and a Colt 45 ●●●●● The guy biting his fist in the crowd, squealing ‘awkward!’ under his breath probably sums up Bethany Black’s show best. The self-proclaimed ‘hairy-arsed lesbian’ considers herself ‘a bit clever’, but is also very bitter and self-indulgent. A touching ending sadly doesn’t undo her waffly, nervous delivery about dull topics including hangovers and text dumping. Too much information, with not enough laughs. (Claire Sawers) Underbelly, 08445 458 252, until 30 Aug (not 17), 11.35pm, £6.50–£10.50 (£8–£9.50). Mackenzie Taylor ●●●●● Taylor took a year off the Fringe in 2008 after he’d tried to kill himself. This year, the likeable hairy bear’s back to tell us all about it with this blow-by-blow account of the mental illness he’s lived with for 15 years and the almost fatal ménage à trois that tipped him over the edge. Funny, painful and then funny again. (Miles Fielder) Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 29 Aug (not 16), 2.30pm, £7–£8 (£5.50–£6.50). Maggie Service ●●●●● Service’s background as a trained actor gives her valuable comic versatility in this one- woman sketch show. But while her characters – ranging from an overly- chatty 24-hour medical emergency helpline assistant to an Australian drama teacher whose mantra is ‘drama makes you calmer’ – are convincing, the show’s