Aaaaaaaaaaaaarghh! It’s the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show with Miss Behave – and It’s Free!: Fringe Review


A Menagerie of Misbehaviour


Given the perpetual debate concerning the over-commercialisation of the Fringe that has been prominent this year, it is with a great sigh of relief that events such as the Malcolm Hardee Awards are still taking place. A commemoration of the stalwart institution of alternative comedy that was Malcolm Hardee, the increasingly prestigious awards act as the antithesis to the Fosters Comedy Awards.

Presented by Mistress of Ceremonies Miss Behave, the weirdest and strangest acts of the festival came together in a bizarre evening. Featuring a number of notable guests including Charlie Chuck, Lewis Schaffer and Richard Herring, the two-hour variety show shocked as much as it entertained. With a Russian Egg Roulette contest supervised by the World Egg Throwing Federation, a brilliant burlesque performance of Collette’s Ring my Bell by Jess Guile and a full frontal rendition of the Balloon Dance from Martin Soan’s Greatest Show on Legs, it was undoubtedly an evening to remember.

Stern comedy critic Kate Copstick helped present the awards, which saw Irish YouTube sensation Rubberbandits receive the gong for Comic Originality. South African comedian Trevor Noah walked away with the ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ award, whilst Stuart Goldsmith took home the Cunning Stunt prize. His publicity stunt, which involved him promising to donate £1,000 of his own money to the Waverley Care HIV charity, but deducting £100 every time a critic used a pun on the word ‘prick’ in their review (his show title was censored in the Fringe programme to read Pr!ck), not only provided him with a notable amount of free PR, but also showed he was willing to help a worthwhile cause.

With free beer being handed out whenever the energy in the room lulled and all proceeds going to Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity, this deserves to be a staple of the Fringe.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

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


Less Than the Sum of Their Parts


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.

Do the Right Thing: Fringe Review

do-the-right-thing_26407Let the Right Thing In


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.