For full length versions of these reviews see list.co.uk/festival Abandoman ●●●●● The plot (for what it’s worth) involves singer Rob Broderick going back in time in search of his lost father, a journey played out through improvised hip-hop songs fused with electronica and, remarkably, ceilidh. Life + Rhymes builds to a crescendo, Broderick ingeniously incorporates call-backs and the result is a truly joyous conclusion. (Murray Robertson) Underbelly George Square, 0844 545 8252, until 29 Aug (not 22), 8.45pm, £14.50–£15.50 (£13.50–£14.50). Alex Kealy ●●●●● Like an even l oppier-haired Ivo Graham, Kealy had to swiftly rethink his poster given that both Farage and Gove (yesterday’s men) were on there. He wears his erudition less than lightly on his sleeve and you’d imagine he’s in possession of the best joke about Galileo at this year’s Fringe. (Brian Donaldson) Underbelly Med Quad, 0844 545 8252, until 29 Aug, 9.50pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Alfie Brown ●●●●● Brown’s less than positive attitude towards Adele rears its head again with a lengthy dismantling of any notion that she carries a lovely voice while his girlfriend (in attendance) takes a few jokey blows. It’s good to see this genuine talent back on form as he delves deeply into why men are the woefully inferior gender and has terrii c gags about restraining a birth-giving woman and the sound of a baby crying. (Brian Donaldson) Laughing Horse at City Cafe, 220 0125, until 28 Aug, 3pm, free. Alice Fraser ●●●●● This Jewish- Catholic Aussie who was raised as a Buddhist has a delightful show (with songs) about a household featuring a selection of lodgers who, as the story unfolds, have one unlikely thing in common. And you might never think about possum skeletons in the same way again. (Brian Donaldson) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 29 Aug, 8.15pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9). Alison Thea-Skot ●●●●● Showing admirable dedication to the business of batshittery, Thea-Skot tirelessly machine- guns out bonkers characters, maniacally laughing to herself as she draws dafter and dafter props from her dressing-up box. Heavy drinking beforehand might enhance the enjoyment of the studenty silliness, but it’s a long haul for the sober. (Claire Sawers) Cowgatehead, 226 0000, until 27 Aug, 8.45pm, free. Andrew Doyle ●●●●● Doyle speaks so fast that he often overtakes himself and gets muddled up in a tangle of thoughts before staggering vaguely back on track. And then he loses it again. The audience seem to distract him constantly, more often than not creating a sparky frisson. It’s a typically haphazard hour from the former teacher, but there’s never a dull moment. (Murray Robertson) The Stand 6, 558 9005, until 28 Aug, 6.35pm, £10 (£9). Andrew Hunter Murray ●●●●● A deliciously fun debut hour, the Austentatious guy’s show is set in a pub where he’s about to host his i nal ever pub quiz: that’s the price of love, even if it comes in the shape of his grumpy tech assistant (and scorer), Angie. A few over-the-top characters and some witty audience banter later, and Murray has served up an opening solo show which promises plenty for the future. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 4.15pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8.50). Andy Bridge ●●●●● We’re all going on an art journey, sorry that’s an AART journey with aartist Mikey (Andy Bridge), to discover ourselves and realise our true potential. It’s a familiar theme, and not one that’s hugely brimming with fantastic gags, but nevertheless by the end we’ve all bonded, promised we won’t lose touch and leave with smiles on our faces. (Marissa Burgess) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 4.30pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).
Reviews at a Glance | FESTIVAL COMEDY
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Andy Field ●●●●● Field, winner of the Chortle Student Comedy Award last year (as he reminds us frequently), closes proceedings down as early as he thinks he can get away with. His reaction to subdued amusement probably means he’s used to relying on suri ng slightly undeserved laughs into funnier bits. (Craig Naples) Laughing Horse at Moriarty’s, 228 5558, until 28 Aug, 8pm, free. Bounty of Beards ●●●●● The opening sketch sets out their love of pun with as many piscine double entendres you can possibly think of when the Plenty of Fish dating site is mistaken by a i sh enthusiast for a i sh suppliers and where ‘crabs ruining your i shnets’ could take on a whole new meaning. The follow up using Match.com is equally as well penned and stuffed with naughty gags. (Marissa Burgess) Laughing Horse at Moriarty’s, 228 5558, until 28 Aug, 5.30pm, free. Briony Redman ●●●●● Having taken up live comedy to conquer a fear of public speaking, the humiliation of one wholly unwilling audience participant makes her lack of empathy unforgivable. This is all the more terrible given that Redman seems like a decent person, but her attitude and lack of gags in her empty character-strewn show makes for a pitiful experience. (Brian Donaldson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 1pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8). Croft & Pearce ●●●●● Fiona Croft and Hannah Pearce are Oxford-educated drama students, with a show full of the stereotypes they know those labels conjure up. They clearly have a very good ear and eye for dark details, and the result is smart and jolly funny. (Claire Sawers) Underbelly George Square, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug, 2.40pm, £10.50– £11.50 (£9.50–£10.50). Daniel Nils Roberts ●●●●● Roberts’ blend of character comedy and self- rel exive commentary features a lonely romantic novelist’s strained similes, some of which are brilliantly tortured. The gags are often very clever, especially the puns from a Hotpoint-sponsored Christian dietician, but they seldom seem to land properly, thanks to messy timing. (Craig Naples) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 4.45pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8). Danielle Ward ●●●●● She may not have great advice to offer the current crop of 17-year-old girls but that’s no reason to stop Ward trying as she pursues a i ne anti-Tory show roughly focussing on 1996, the year when she hit that age. And she has a rather neat twist on the rape joke incorporating a well-known teller of such gags. (Brian Donaldson) Just the Tonic at the Caves, 0330 220 1212, until 28 Aug, 2.40pm, £6. David Elms ●●●●● If you’ve spent the whole day plodding around the festival Elms is an incredibly soothing presence to end the day’s shows on. His is an incredibly measured, softly spoken delivery, which at i rst can appear deceptive as if nothing in particular is happening. But what emerges is a show that is far more layered than at i rst appears. (Marissa Burgess) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 9.30pm, £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£8.50) Des Clarke ●●●●● Clarke’s appearance this year comes as a trilogy: three shows, eight days each, based consecutively around love, sandwiches and the apocalypse as he i res through a whopping amount of material in an hour. Jokes about his motherland are entertaining, but he’s going to need to shake it up if he wants to draw a wider crowd. (Louise Stoddart) The Stand, 558 9005, until 28 Aug, 7pm, £12 (£10). Diane Spencer ●●●●● Recently the new mother of two step-daughters, Spencer has fun with their names and stories about dead pets. Thankfully, this domestic bliss hasn’t taken the edge from her more caustic material and there are gags about a Russian pal and Bangladeshi sweatshops which result in some audible intaking of breath. (Brian Donaldson) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 29 Aug, 5.45pm, £9–£9.50 (£8–£8.50). Dick Coughlan ●●●●● Coughlan is an intense presence but it’s a shame his show is so unfocussed and scatter-shot. It’s on surer ground when he sticks to his vague internet theme but pointing out the madness that has taken over Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is like shooting i sh in a barrel. (Henry Northmore) Laughing Horse at the White Horse, 557 3512, until 28 Aug, 8pm, free. Dominic Frisby ●●●●● Fix tax, and we can i x society, proclaims this libertarian comedian. The voiceover actor has also written various books and columns on i nance, and wants to share his economic expertise and political views through the medium of comedy. He wavers between playful dissent, proudly holding up his ballot paper, spoiled with a scribbled cock and balls, and a deeper sense of fundamental injustice. (Claire Sawers) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 28 Aug, 4pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).
Andrew Hunter Murray
Ed Patrick ●●●●● This Junior Optimist hour features a man who bats off suggestions that he should be choosing between medicine and comedy; Patrick has a warm stage presence which is hopefully matched by his bedside manner. Routines featuring true-life discussions he’s had about gynaecology, Harold Shipman and infection ratios should leave you feeling much better. (Brian Donaldson) Just the Tonic at the Community Project, 0330 220 1212, until 28 Aug, 6.55pm, £5–£7 (£6) or Pay What You Want. Elf Lyons ●●●●● Following her mother’s complaint that she didn’t feature prominently enough in her daughter’s comedy, Lyons decided to write a show about wanting to kill her. It might sound a malicious premise but it’s more about an excess of love rather than hate. She’s in turn endearingly awkward and delightfully silly. By the end of the run she’ll also be responsible for ruining many a pot of yogurt. (Rowena McIntosh) Voodoo Rooms, 226 0000, until 28 Aug (not 23), 7.50pm, free. Ellie Taylor ●●●●● Taylor recently got married but worries about how she’s going to stay faithful to her, albeit lovely, new husband having never had a ‘slaggy period’. Delivering a consummate hour of sharp observations, she’s deliciously visceral too, even managing to get away with a smear-test routine accompanied by a serious message. (Marissa Burgess) Just the Tonic at the Tron, 0330 220 1212, until 28 Aug, 2.20pm, £6 or Pay What You Want. Foxdog Studios ●●●●● Foxdog Studios are two very smart, nerdy guys who have wired themselves up as instruments to accompany our journey into a surreal virtual world where the acme of high living is sucking Dooley’s (a toffee cream liqueur experience) out of clothing at Leeds Ceilidh Festival. The community feeling engendered by the audience i ddling with their own smartphones to control the story’s characters is palpable. (Craig Naples) Laughing Horse at the Cellar Monkey, 221 9759, until 28 Aug, 11.15pm, free. Goodbear ●●●●● Goodbear’s sketches ebb and l ow to the rhythm of a clock illuminated at the back of the stage. The pair excel at physical comedy (perhaps it’s their height difference, perhaps it’s in their genes), but the skits that rely on sound effects and body manipulation are incredible. A late-night jazz bar comes to life on stage, or a pair of Python-esque cyclists race to the top of an unseen mountain. (Kirstyn Smith) Bedlam Theatre, 629 0430, until 28 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8). 18–29 Aug 2016 THE LIST FESTIVAL 49