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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Best of So You Think You’re Funny?: Fringe Review

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Do You Really Think You’re Funny?

2/5

When one of the acts announced that this shouldn’t be called The Best of So You Think You’re Funny, but instead, Which Comedian is Free on a Week Night at 11.30 and in Need of 50 Quid, he certainly made a valid point. What should in theory be an evening of top comedy is let down by uninspired acts and an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Whilst it is not the case that the performers themselves were lacking in the comedy department, it is instead the result of a badly thought out show. It would not be fair to highlight the names of the acts on this particular night as they were not the root of the problem. Many of their jokes were funny and despite a particularly unreceptive audience, they did well to hold the room. However, throughout the show there remained an overbearing feeling that each of the comics were there purely as a means to get a bit of extra cash. As one of the acts bombed before his twenty minutes were up, he voiced concerns as to whether or not he would still receive his pay.

Perhaps this was a particularly bad night and given that it wasn’t one of the heats and the final isn’t until the end of the month, there was no incentive for the acts to deliver. However, for a comedy competition that has taken place for 24 years, you would think it would be a bit better.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

Do the Right Thing: Fringe Review

do-the-right-thing_26407Let the Right Thing In

3/5

For those unaware of Do the Right Thing, it’s a multi-award nominated panel show podcast recorded in front of a live audience. The Fringe incarnation of the show – which will be released in digital form next month – features different high profile acts, each answering a selection of questions that more often than not deviate into the absurd.

Hosted by Danielle Ward, the comedians are presented with a number of rounds that include: what would be the right thing to do in this scenario?, ask the expert and playing agony aunt. The success of a panel show is dependent on the guests it attracts and their ability to think on their feet, so expectations were high when our host was joined by Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Richard Herring, Paul Foot and Michael Legge.

All vying for a bit of the limelight, the results were – as expected – relatively hit and miss. Whilst most did well to try and capture the audience’s attention, it was Paul Foot who stole the show at the end of the day. His off-kilter brand of comedy worked perfectly in this situation and made it difficult for his companions to respond. The scripted moments were average at best and it is testament to the evening’s guests that the show was able to pull through. A considerable lull at the 40 minute mark when the acts were clearly lagging meant the show struggled to get back on its feet.

As far as late night comedy goes the quality of each night is dependent on the individual acts, but given the calibre of guests it attracts it is unlikely that you will be disappointed.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

The False Corpse: Fringe Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WC’s strangely disturbing production is a bold attempt at considering the darker side of the life of a comedian contemplating self-destruction following a growing displeasure with his life and work. Dissecting the fundamentals of comedy, it aims to explore the root of what makes us laugh – which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to work. It is important to point out that this is not the fault of the cast, whose impressive aptitude for acting is admirable given their relatively young age, but instead the fault of the script itself. Written by Emmerdale’s Shaun Prendergast, it strives for a pathos that it is never able to achieve; nonetheless, it’s an idea which – if better orchestrated – would make for a very astute production.

Sweet Grassmarket, 6 – 10 Aug, 12.50pm (1.50pm), £5.00 – £7.00, fpp261.

tw rating 2/5

Taken from Three Weeks, published online Wed Aug 31st 2011.