Doctor Brown – Befrdfgth: Fringe Review

doctor-brown-befrdfgth_25151Laughter is the Best Medicine


Following last year’s acclaimed Edinburgh show Becaves, Doctor Brown returns for another hour of sublimely surreal alternative comedy. Part mime act, part clown, Doctor Brown – real name Philip Burgers – delivers a unique brand of physical comedy that guarantees to stretch the imagination, as well as the abdominal muscles.

Having trained at the renowned clown-theatre school École Philippe Gaulier, Burgers has developed an act that defies convention, forcing his audience to reconsider what constitutes a comedy show. In a twisted take on observational comedy, he enacts everyday mundane scenes, yet it is his timing and positioning of these scenes that mark his brilliance. To the audience they appear to be an assortment of bizarre episodes presented as physical non-sequiturs but is clear that behind the seeming chaos there is remarkable structure. Dubious early actions appear clear when later alluded to, heightening their comic effect.

Undoubtedly and unashamedly silly, Doctor Brown speaks to the inner child within his audience. He breaks down the adult inhibition that usually acts as a defense mechanism, allowing you to give yourself wholeheartedly into the show and the character.

With an uncanny ability to have you in involuntary fits of laughter, Doctor Brown isn’t just highly recommended, he’s an absolute must.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

Claudia O’Doherty – The Telescope: Fringe Review

claudia-o-doherty-the-telescope_25150Good Scope but Lacking Focus


Claudia O’Doherty isn’t your average comedian. Following last year’s obscure outing What is Soil Erosion?, O’Doherty continues in the same vein, delivering absurd comedy that is certainly original.

Acting under the pretence that she is signed to an outlandish agency in Australia named the Nut House, she announces that part of her contractual agreement is to put on a show at the Edinburgh festival. However, as she points out, it was never implied that the show had to be comedy.

O’Doherty uses this ploy as a means to present her play The Telescope, which she labels under the guise of ‘difficult theatre’. A surreal and arty venture, she combines audio, video and rudimentary costumes to produce one of the most unconventional love tales you are ever likely to see. A feigned hiccup in the production sees O’Doherty have to stop the play despite all the technical elements being supposedly pre-programmed. The result is a clever blend of out of context media that she fills in with various amusing comments.

Undeniably weird, O’Doherty’s interesting mix of characters and playful whimsy makes for an entertaining – if not often laugh out loud – hour of comedy. However, it is clear that the new comic is still finding her footing. She certainly possesses bags of potential, but as of yet has not quite found her voice.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

George Ryegold’s God-In-A-Bag: Fringe Review

george-ryegold-s-god-in-a-bag_26455Just A-Rye of Comedy Gold


Dr Ryegold returns to Edinburgh with a new show that wouldn’t be amiss on Radio 4. The creation of Toby Williams, Ryegold is a character comedy about an unconventional surgeon who is self-interested, underachieving and lazy, yet somehow still likeable.

This year’s venture takes the form of a comedy play in which the corduroy-clad doctor struggles with love, a flaccid career and competition from a painfully arrogant colleague. Suspended for unexplained reasons – although appropriation of prescription drugs is hinted at – Ryegold is stirred into contention when an encounter with an irritatingly successful colleague gives him the chance to prove himself. A love interest comes in the form of stern headmistress Penny – Lindsay Sharman – who finds herself drawn to the portly physician despite his lack of gentility and tight-fisted nature.

While those that aren’t Ryegold come across very much as stock characters, Williams has created a persona that is fantastic with his verbose language and lack of subtlety. A scene involving the estranged doctor delivering a sex education speech to a group of year nine’s through comparing it to a porn film is particularly memorable, its risqué nature and clever wordplay being thoroughly entertaining.

God-in-a-Bag isn’t a bundle of laughs but choice moments certainly hint at brilliance. A charming comedy that toys with a playful black sense of humour, it can be recommended as enjoyable post-lunch entertainment.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

Clare Plested: Vegas, Jesus and Me: Fringe Review









Known as one half of Fringe regulars Plested and Brown, Vegas, Jesus and Me marks the solo début from the Catholic Watford binge-drinker. Recounting stories from childhood leading up to her recent marriage with long-haired carpenter Jesus, Plested seeks to find out whether she has been a generally naughty or nice person. With an amiability that is immediately apparent, she comes across as the sort of person you would happily share a drink with; unfortunately, however, not the sort of person you would go and see perform a comedy show. Her memories are quaint and affable but lack genuine comedic brilliance. Perhaps better suited to an older audience, this is not laugh-out-loud funny but enjoyable nevertheless.

Underbelly, 4 – 28 Aug (not 15), 5.20pm (6.05pm), £8.00 – £10.00, fpp58.

tw rating 2/5

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