list.co.uk/festival Reviews | FESTIVAL COMEDY
RICHARD BROWN: STOP, CHILDREN, WHAT’S THAT SOUND? EVERYBODY LOOK, IT’S RICHARD BROWN! A show set up to shock and appal doesn’t quite hit the mark ●●●●●
Given that Richard Brown thinks it’s the height of lazy journalism to compare him with Frankie Boyle (for a shared physical appearance, nationality and offence-nudging brand of stand-up), there will be no mention of that in this review. What can be said is that the Edinburgh comic goes to such lengths to inform us that his ‘dark’ comedy will ‘split the room’, it probably feels like a defeat if no one walks out in horror. In truth, the brave souls who made it all the way through to the end would have enjoyed a comedy experience like few others on the Fringe this year. We are shown footage that can be best described as ‘when animals attack’ with bullfighting fans and zoo visitors getting roughed up, before a robot (it’s Brown) with a Foster’s box for a head performs a funny lampooning on the Live at the Apollo school of commercial comedy.
There is a lot of shambolic charm about his show, but neither Brown’s satirical might nor his power to shock are as transgressive as he thinks they are. (Brian Donaldson) ■ Just the Tonic at the Caves, 0330 220 1212, until 28 Aug, 12.40pm, £5 (£4) or Pay What You Want.
LARRY DEAN: FARCISSIST Poignant and silly follow-up to his 2015 Best Newcomer-nominated hour ●●●●● TWONKEY’S MUMBO JUMBO HOTEL An entertaining piece of nonsense ●●●●●
Larry Dean is apparently fearless when it comes to sharing the intimate details of his life, whether it’s confessing to teenage bank fraud or the ins and outs (pardon the pun) of his (gay) sex life. It’s even more brave when you consider that he has a stutter which kicks in the more honest he is. But Dean is a charming performer of great warmth and we’re only too happy to let him divulge. Besides if we didn't, we’d have missed out on a fantastic gag about giving a fella a blowjob with a little added extra, which includes one of the best analogies heard all month. Farcissist is a tidy hour full of neat call-backs to
follow up last year’s Best Newcomer-nominated show. It’s a fine mixture of the poignant parts in life – wearing his heart on his sleeve in particular when it comes to talking about his late beloved gran – to silly elements such as the unexpected result of a prostate exam. The latter area is surprisingly commonplace in stand-up now but Dean is especially amusing with it, especially given that he fainted at his. The boy will surely go far. (Marissa Burgess) ■ Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 7.15pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).
Paul Vickers in his guise as Mr Twonkey the storyteller certainly provides the best value, pound-for-pound, of weirdness anywhere on the Fringe. His amiable whimsy, for which he has a small but devoted following, is peppered with songs about, say, Santa going on an opium binge and ending up with nothing but broken badminton racquets to give away.
His tale of a hotel threatened with redevelopment is only a tiny portion of the hour and is of no real consequence. Instead, he mainly messes about in an endearingly shambolic way with The Ship’s Wheel of Psychic Knickers and a parade of nightmarish puppets. That one of these puppets can identify types of brandy by smell suggests that alcohol might be powering the show.
The sort of people who like Captain Beefheart are likely to love Twonkey, and the converse is also true. It’s pretty much a load of old nonsense with props and songs, so those looking for coherence or jokes should steer well clear. Towards the end he laments, ‘we’re going to have to live with these memories for the rest of our lives’. He’s not wrong: for good or ill you won’t forget a visit to Twonkey. (Craig Naples) ■ Sweet Grassmarket, 243 3596, until 28 Aug (not 23), 9pm, £6.50 (£5).
BETH VYSE AS OLIVE HANDS IN ALL HANDS TO THE PUMP . . . A brash celebratory spoof of daytime TV with too few jokes to truly score ●●●●●
If Keith Lemon and Sam Simmons remade Noel’s House Party for ITV3, it might turn out a bit like this slice of mad but fun nonsense from Beth Vyse. Unlike her stand-up hour, As Funny As Cancer, Vyse’s Olive Hands is more of a comedy play, with a couple of other comedians in tow.
Clad in leopard print, one high heel and an expletive-adorned eye mask, Olive is trying to resurrect her career as a daytime TV host by working on a cruise ship bound for her adoring fans in North Korea. When the ship goes down, we’re all ‘decanted’ to a submarine where we’re in danger of being attacked by an onboard leopard.
In the meantime, her son (Ali Brice) is trying to convince
her he’s not gay, as he falls in love with the daughter of Jane McDonald (in a canny nod to 1990s BBC TV doc, The Cruise), who has gone down with the ship. All of this is accompanied by a soundtrack of Ottawan’s disco hit ‘Hands Up’, which, whether you like it or not, will stay in your head for hours. Vyse is great at engaging the audience, and action takes
place all over the bunker-like room in The Hive so everyone feels involved. It’s bonkers and it’s entertaining, but the jokes aren’t strong enough to carry the heady, very interactive atmosphere. Don’t try to follow the plot: as Vyse freely admits, it makes zero sense. That’s not really the point of this brash comedy, a lively celebration of the larger-than-life types of This Morning, Loose Women and the like. It’s crazy, and that’s a good thing, but her set needs better jokes to be remembered for anything other than endless inanity. (Yasmin Sulaiman) ■ Heroes at the Hive, 226 0000, until 28 Aug, 3.10pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.
18–29 Aug 2016 THE LIST FESTIVAL 37
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