Cue the first audience cull. Next up, Schultz showcases a series of inscrutable characters, who ramble on with neither context, content, nor a consistent accent. This is the kind of show that gives free comedy a bad name. (Rebecca Ross) Heroes @ The Hive, 226 0000, until 25 Aug (not 14), 4pm, Pay What You Want or £5 in advance. Kieran Hodgson ●●●●● This is a one-man show telling how the inhabitants of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire recreated the story of the town’s 2012 flood at a surprise birthday party. Hodgson muddles his way through a plethora of disparate characters and though he presents them in a variety of different voices and appropriates occasional props, they still merge into each other. (Marissa Burgess) Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug (not 15), 5.40pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Laura Levites ●●●●● Appearing both fragile and abrasive, Levites lays bare her mental health and flogs it for all its comic potential. She recounts her depressive symptoms and the ways she’s tried to alleviate them. There’s plenty to lay into with the self-help industry the way it enforces a culture of normativity, its collusion with capitalism, the cloying smugness of many of its proponents but Levites pulls her punches and merely grazes the topic. (Suzanne Black) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug, 2.45pm, £8–£9 (£7–£8). Lee Kern ●●●●● Like many social networkers among us, Kern is a man who both embraces technology and resents it. He wants to be one of the Twitter elite, swapping jokes with his A-list cronies and generating 400 retweets simply by saying ‘good morning’. His confessional delivery and amiable nature get him off to a good start but it effectively boils down to Kern reading out his funniest tweets. (Niki Boyle) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622

6552, until 26 Aug, 8.15pm, £9–£9.50 (£8–£9). Liam Mullone ●●●●● The curmudgeonly Mullone just wants one big payday at the Fringe and he’ll happily leave all this stuff behind. That would be a shame because he has one of the more assured stage presences you’ll see all month and his riffs on the Romans, Richard Dawkins and cockney gangsters are original and funny. (Brian Donaldson) Just the Tonic at The Caves, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 9.20pm, £7.50–£9.50. Liam Williams ●●●●● On Williams’ poster the text is written upside down. No surprise then that his debut solo hour of stand-up is deliberately obtuse. It’s with a distinctly lyrical ear and a liking for the random that he tells of his 25-year-old life. His London inertia, bobbing back to the parents in the suburbs when the money runs out, his dead granddad, his book apparently inspired by Catcher in the Rye. Definitely one to keep a close eye on. (Marissa Burgess) Just the Tonic at The Tron, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 10.20pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Loyiso Gola ●●●●● As he meekly takes the stage, it looks like Gola is trying to sneak out. But this disarming entrance is just part of his endearing modesty. The South African relishes poking gentle fun at other countries and their cultures, observing foreign customs with a childlike incredulity that could strike as ignorant but actually comes across as very charming. (Murray Robertson) Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 26 Aug (not 19), 10pm, £9–£11. Manos Kanellos ●●●●● Kanellos combines his knowledge of Greek culture, contemporary and ancient, and European politics with the aim of gently educating folks about the current situation and offering a few solutions. Leading the audience through the enormity of Greece’s fiscal debt, the German bail-out Milo McCabe journey’ until you reach the end and find yourself unspeakably moved. (Laura Ennor) Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 19), 4.30pm, £9–£11 (£8–£10). Hedluv and Passman ●●●●● Passman’s playlist predominantly revolves around all things Cornish while Hedluv frequently explodes into thoroughly entertaining and overzealous freestyle dancing fits. It soon becomes abundantly clear that the tragic two-piece, although keen for a record deal, aren’t entirely sure how to conduct themselves on stage and their whole set ends up being a bit of a farce interspersed with the odd catchy tune. (Katy Spry) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug, 11.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Helen O’Brien ●●●●● Starting off with a spot of wholly unironic Irish dancing, O’Brien delivers the mid-80s tale of Bronagh’s Big Weekend, in which the title character enters a major jigging competition, is bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding and is about to ‘become a woman’. O’Brien is impossible not to like as she brings alive the 1980s but the comedy is just far too gentle, even for an early afternoon slot. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 12.50pm, £8.50–£10 (£7–£9). Henry Paker ●●●●● For the newly engaged Paker, life is looking pretty good but the comedian within has his fair share of trivial complaints. He warns us about everything from the extortionate price of cushions to the pitfalls of getting too comfortable in a relationship, opening the show with a series of relatable romance. The material seems a little tired, though he does round off on a funny note. (Katy Spry) Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 6.45pm, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50). Jamie Demetriou ●●●●● It’s almost impossible to categorise this show never mind stick a star rating on it. It’s advertised as character comedy though much of it isn’t laugh out loud funny, but it’s certainly exquisitely performed and utterly compelling. Even the stage set is intriguing, with table lamps and second- hand furniture that mutter to each other between characters. (Marissa Burgess) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 7pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£9.50). Jim Campbell ●●●●● Comfortable, relaxed and refreshingly static, Campbell cuts a stark comparison with the sweating, pacing rattletraps who all too often grace small dingy Fringe stages. It’s a pensive and purposeful performance from the Essex comedian, and Campbell makes no apologies for provocative material on creationists, reptile aficionados and the BNP. (Rebecca Ross) Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 8.05pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Jimmy McGhie ●●●●● Back from a stint in Australia, McGhie examines the vast differences between British and Australian attitudes. When he’s not vividly describing his deep disdain for Jamie Oliver, he is happily poking fun at himself. A particular high point is his self-deprecating take on how he has been marketed for this year’s festival, often finding himself referred to as edgy and candid, claims he is quick to dispel. (Katy Spry) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 8.40pm, £8.50–£10 (£7–£9). Joe Lycett ●●●●● Claiming to be around 70% gay, Lycett is keen to take the temperature on the room’s sexual inclinations. This is a naughty but nice show in which the comic seeks to damage certain companies through a campaign of mischief. This hour won’t change the world, but it might make you look at yourself a little bit closer. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £8–£10 (£6.50–£8.50). Karl Schultz ●●●●● This abomination of a show begins with a cringingly awkward ‘warm up’ as the crowd dances ‘in the style of an Iranian dad’.


and the rise of the Golden Dawn party, Kanellos proves a charming guide but the material is stretched very thin across its 50 minutes. (Suzanne Black) Just the Tonic at The Caves, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 4.55pm, £5–£7. Mark Smith ●●●●● Smith is a great host and has an amiable show in which he explores how, at 28, he still doesn’t feel like a capable grown-up, a revelation emphasised by the birth of his first nephew. And so he examines every part of his life from his technique of sizing the ladies up on escalators to his willowy arms. The gags don’t produce huge laughs but he’s an engaging performer with an entertaining hour. (Marissa Burgess) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 9.35pm, £8.50–£10 (£7–£9). Markus Birdman ●●●●● Last year’s show was about how Birdman had a stroke at the age of 40. This year his material comes from the fact that he has just split from his partner of 14 years and is heartbroken. However, this is not a mawkish show and like all good performers he has mined the depths of his despair for our entertainment. The hour flies by and Birdman is an engaging guide through his personal turmoil (Gordon Eldrett) The Stand II, 558 7272, until 25 Aug, 9.30pm, £8 (£7). Marlon Davis ●●●●● Being nice can get you far in life and Davis’ charm is his greatest asset. The difficulties he has been having with his girlfriend of seven years form the backbone of the show and as he describes tales of petty torture and inconsiderate behaviour directed towards him, the crowd are on his side. As we get further towards the truth, however, Davis reveals that the precipitating factor in his break-up: his over-investment in computer game Football Manager. (Suzanne Black) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10). Mat Ewins ●●●● This routine, delivered with the best intentions in the world, finds itself wandering aimlessly into mediocrity as he trawls through probable Wikipedia articles and history summaries, from Cleopatra through Henry VIII to Da Vinci. (Andrew Latimer) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 10.45pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8). The Maydays ●●●●● It’s a sort-of nice idea to take the confessions of audience members and turn them into improv skits, but too much time is spent reading the presumably scrawled suggestions on bits of paper. More hay comes from the spoken confessions such as the man who killed a duck during his driving test (he failed). When the action finally gets going, only a couple of moments really lift things out of the humdrum. (Brian Donaldson) Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 2.20pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Milo McCabe ●●●●● McCabe’s characters are a disparate bunch: camp actor Troy Hawke, the Glaswegian trainspotter who thinks he’s Adele, McCabe’s most boring Facebook ‘friend’ and a Grimsby fish worker with a secret obsession. Characters are nuanced and some aspects are brilliantly observed, and even when the comedy is simply ludicrous (such as in the Adele character) it’s just plain funny. (Marissa Burgess) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 25 Aug, 5pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£7.50– £9.50). Mixed Doubles ●●●●● ’Aaand, that’s why kittens love twine’, simpers one particularly dreary Scottish folk musician, coming to the end of another whimsical, truly insipid ballad, as an imaginary guest on Later. . . With Jools Holland. Game of Thrones, Benny Hill and The Apprentice also provide telly- inspired material for this young foursome to play around with, to varying degrees of success. (Claire Sawers) Just the Tonic at The Caves, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 6pm, £8.50–£9.50. 15–22 Aug 2013 THE LIST FESTIVAL 51