Neil Hickey ●●●●● Clearly running on his nerves, Irish debutante Hickey looks like he’d love to play the title role of his show (Escape Artist) and bolt from the venue. But once he settles down there is some nice material in there such as his observations of the local youth on his patch (though he’s barely a grown-up himself) and the fact that ‘the quiet ones’ are always picked on. There is plenty of potential in Hickey and once he gets more experience under his belt, he could well be one to watch. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 3.15pm, £7.50–£9 (£6.50–£8). A Panda Suit, Pythagoras and Plenty of Puns ●●●●● Like a magician revealing his secrets, Nikhil Tilwalli sets the scene, then comes some wordplay and, with a flourish, the punchline, followed by commentary on the mechanism at work. All this is presented within a framework of why it’s important to be sincere sometimes rather than trying to be funny, which Tilwalli presents with an autobiographical spin. The problem is that many of his puns lack structural integrity. (Suzanne Black) Just the Tonic at The Caves, 556 5375, until 22 Aug, 8pm, £4–£5. Pat Cahill ●●●●● It’s all too rushed in this confused jumble of a show, with erudite observations flying by amongst inane remarks, without giving the audience time to ingest the jests. The show is punctuated by some ‘saucy little numbers’, but there’s no attention to timing and his musical efforts fall flat. (Rebecca Ross) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 5.45pm, £8.50–£10 (£7.50–£9). Pete Cain ●●●●● In this day and age where everyone has their own opinions on the current state of overpopulated Britain, Cain may have just come up with the perfect solution: everybody out! A topical hour where he raises points regarding the economy, immigration and the Scottish referendum, he balances things out after revealing his sillier side by giving a brief yet amusing overview of waving etiquette. (Katy Spry) Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 25 Aug, 10.15pm £10 (£9). Pete Firman ●●●●● Firman’s comedy-magic cocktail is one of those reliable Fringe solids. Scoundrel is a nod to his cheeky chappy ways, with quick- witted asides sharing time with deft and breath-taking illusions, as he swings from working with disappearing / reappearing chairs to stripped back card tricks that are nothing short of masterful. (Kirstyn Smith) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 9.20pm, £11.50–£15 (£10–£13.50). Phil Ellis ●●●●● At the age of 30 Ellis found out he was adopted, which prompted him to take stock and reflect on how things don’t always go to plan. As he relays his calamitous and unlikely tale, proceedings do not always run smoothly with a few flubbed punchlines and technical. Stay with him though. If you’re willing to go along for the ride then Ellis emerges as a very clever comedian with a deep understanding of the genre. (Suzanne Black) Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 5.25pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Rhys Mathewson ●●●●● Hailing from New Zealand and looking like a cross between the country’s two national species (sheep and hobbits), Mathewson is very concerned about money, or the lack of it. In a conglomeration of snippets about his life, loves, homeland and burgers, he loosely connects the dots using the theme of value for money, promising to demonstrably earn the £10 ticket price. (Suzanne Black) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 7.15pm, £10. Rob Carter ●●●●● Swathed in John Lewis cashmere, fresh from a ten-grand drama school course, Carter is all too aware that his anecdotes about an ‘anarchic’ childhood (running away from his middle-class parents, only to move into an luxurious annexe flat nearby)


are never going to be taken seriously. As intimidating as a choir boy, there’s definitely the bones of some good character comedy here, waiting to be fleshed out. (Claire Sawers) Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 6.30pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Roll it in Sequins ●●●●● While the revelation of the show’s title provides a hint of satisfaction, it really is much too little far too late for this fairly painful character sketch affair from Heffernan and Fletcher, as they introduce us to the inhabitants of an office block during the drudgery of a full working day. Agonising audience participation does nothing to detract from the poor fare on show. (Brian Donaldson) Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 3.40pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Rubberbandits ●●●●● The Irish comedy rappers start off promisingly, bounding on stage wearing carrier bags on their heads like Mexican wrestling masks to create a high energy atmosphere. As the show wears on, the limitations of their banter becomes apparent and things start to flag. The biggest issue though is the overuse of the video background which manages to negate the presence of the duo rather than enhance it. (Gordon Eldrett) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug (not 19), 10.40pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12). Sean Hughes ●●●●● Straight from the off, the Dubliner has a real surprise for his crowd and it takes a little while to adjust to his ‘new look’. But once everything settles down, Hughes is the same old fool for love who appears on the surface to be OK with being on his own most of the time. There’s some chat about the technological obsessions of our day and philosophical musings on why we are the Penguins of his title. (Brian Donaldson) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 25 Aug, 7.30pm, £13–£15 (£11–£13). Seann Walsh ●●●●● There are a few moments in the talented Walsh’s set where he seems to want more from his audience but concedes at the end that this is effectively the same act he’s done for the last few years, and probably next year too. What we get are fluid, energetic but ultimately dispiriting routines about the iPhone’s battery life, being drunk on Facebook and the awfulness of hangovers. (Niki Boyle) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 9.20pm, £10.50–£13 (£8.50–£12). Shelby Bond ●●●●● Shelby is often mistaken for a gay man, which he doesn’t have a problem with. Also, he doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs, and while he likes sex and relationships, he’s not into kinky or abusive stuff. Shelby is a ‘people pleaser’, by which he means he puts the needs of others before his own. In this twilight setting, his easy-going, affable, inclusive stage persona comes as a pleasant surprise. (Miles Fielder) Just the Tonic at The Tron, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 11.40pm, £7 (£6). Simon Evans ●●●●● Evans’ familiarity with the limelight and comfort with chatting with an audience leads to him eating up a large chunk of the hour- long running time before launching into the meat of his show about his acquisition of a new dog. Then the comedy kicks up a gear and is especially delicious when he starts in with some dastardly machinations against his family. (Suzanne Black) The Stand, 558 7272, until 25 Aug, 8.10pm, £12 (£11). Simply the Jest ●●●●● Simply the Jest perform pared-down almost prop- less sketches, which is probably a very good thing given that there are nine of them and there’s barely enough space on the stage. Like many sketch shows, they employ recurring skits to provide us with that satisfying sense of structure but there are no fancy effects or gimmicks here just some solidly good writing. (Marissa Burgess) Just the Tonic at The Caves, 556 5375, until 25 Aug, 10.15pm, £8–£10. Tanyalee Davis ●●●●● The Canadian comic offers up a frank discussion of her downstairs lady area and the medical problems it has created for her over the last year. Her gynaecological misadventures took her to three continents and Davis takes us right along with her, exposing every gory detail, often with visual aids. Mixed in with the hospital stays are plenty observations about her family, her love life and that majestic creature, the manatee. (Suzanne Black) Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 25 Aug, 7.45pm, £10 (£9). Terry Clement ●●●●● Hallucinatory comic Clement brings us some unclassifiable and chaotic humour. From his opening gambit a parody spoken word piece in which he describes idly watching a turtle on a beach (which then turns into Clint Eastwood), to his shambolic, foul-mouthed songs Clement cuts a confusing figure. Besides some fleeting moments of interest, there are a lot of references to how many drugs Clement does and a few too many songs which don’t quite hit the mark. (Kirstyn Smith) Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 8.05pm, £10–£11 (£8–£10). Tom Wrigglesworth ●●●●● Funny- sad shows about earthy but inspirational relatives have been something of a vogue these past few years, so while you can hardly fault a man for wanting to tell what seems to be a genuine (if slightly-embellished-for-dramatic- reasons) personal story, Wrigglesworth is definitely treading on tried and tested ground. Happily, this show about his granddad stands up well to such comparisons, and this is really a rather


lovely hour. (Laura Ennor) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 7.40pm, £9–£12 (£8–£11). Tumi Morake ●●●●● It’s easy to see why Morake has been billed as the Queen of South African comedy. Her nifty blend of political reflection and racy asides can make this show a completely watchable and well-spent hour of stand-up, though she doesn’t seem completely comfortable with both her set and an audience who may not be roaring with laughter at every punchline. (Andrew Latimer) Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 9pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11). Twonkeys Blue Cadabra ●●●●● Through his frequent flights of bizarre absurdity, the man only occasionally known as Paul Vickers will take you on a journey to some very strange places; and only those with a stout sense of adventure will survive. You won’t catch him straddling the stage at the big purple cow any time soon, but with a gradually growing army of Fringe warriors, Twonkey will soon be set to take over the world. Or a world, at any rate. (Niki Boyle) Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 477 7007, until 25 Aug (not 20), 7.30pm, free. Wardens ●●●●● In this new play, five people take shelter from a mob rioting over an unspecified cause. Three of the characters are traffic wardens all of whom suffer daily at the hands of the public and approach their jobs with differing degrees of sadism. A sluggish script is not elevated by the performances and the less said about a laborious sub-plot involving faeces the better. (Suzanne Black) Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 3.30pm, £12.50–£13.50 (£11.50–£12.50). WitTank ●●●●● WitTank’s trio race through a succession of public school themed scenarios featuring a large cast of characters worked into a loose plot that skips though time and setting while rooted firmly in class. A throaty alpha-headmaster and a rowing team bore-turned snack addict are stand-out characters on a rota in which roles are interchanged with A-grade precision. (William Parish) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 6.20pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10). Yannis Pappas ●●●●● Dispirited by the small turnout, the New Yorker initially alternates between engaging and crestfallen. When he picks himself up he’s a fearless comedian, tucking straight into a racial opener, including some rather upfront observations about the locals. He later settles down with more sedate material on relationships, technology and lost youth, although his thoughts are always skewed by interesting, off-kilter angles. (Murray Robertson) Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 19), 8.15pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). 15–22 Aug 2013 THE LIST FESTIVAL 53