The Assembly Rooms The Very Best of the Fest: Fringe Review

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Less Than the Sum of Their Parts

3/5

Despite claiming to encapsulate the very finest entertainment at the Fringe, this show is only average at best. Whilst you might expect an evening of variety delivered by the Festival’s best acts, in reality you get a selection of fine performers delivering material largely centred around sex gags.

Although a bit of coarse sexual referencing doesn’t go amiss in stand-up, when it becomes the theme for a variety show it becomes dull rather quickly. The fact that each act went on lengthy digressions into this territory was somewhat frustrating. Late night comedy is supposed to be racy, but the lack of intimacy at the Assembly Rooms’ Ballroom made this difficult to pull off. Heckles came across as awkward, stilting the acts and slowing the overall pace of the show. However, once this was out of the way, there were moments of very good comedy.

Compered by the Scottish icon Fred MacAulay, he aptly introduced each act and got the audience into a jovial mood. The comedians on this occasion included Richard Herring, Tom Stade, Martin Mor and Phil Nichol. Though they all seemed to spend a considerable length of time divulging the ins-and-outs of sex in lurid detail, it was only once they had moved on to their own, more individual material that the night was able to really get going.

A highly energetic set from Canadian comic Phil Nichol acted as a crescendo to the evening, performing a rendition of the much loved classic Eskimo by his old band Corky and the Juice Pigs. With the audience in stitches, it acted as a mask to what was an otherwise mediocre evening.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

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