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Free Festival News & Reviews

This is where you can read recent news articles and reviews of shows in the Free Festival.


List News & Reviews: By Star Count | By Date


Joke Thieves

August 16, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Joke Thieves

Joke Thieves

Created by Will Mars, this amazingly ridiculous show is guaranteed to have its audience in stitches.

After all, what’s not to love about comedians stepping way outside their comfort zone and discovering the terror of trying to be someone else? Click Here For Review


August 16, 2019    Fest

Review of Gráinne Maguire: Guys... It's Problematic

It was going so well, too. Gráinne Maguire gets right to the end of her engaging new hour, battling gamely against the weirdest sound-bleed from next door (complete silence punctuated by occasional applause: are the silent discos doing stand-up now?) then lets big chunks of the audience escape before she proffers the bucket, like air from a balloon as you fiddle with the string.

A valve-like analogy is one of the show’s high points actually: Maguire suggests that many Westerners use anxiety as an energy source, crushing the worries down until they become almost a fossil fuel, unless some outside force gets in and releases the pressure; like love.

That’s relevant because our host recently acquired a boyfriend, which is how she begins here, slightly unpromisingly. Thankfully though the new beau is Asian, so it opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities about how a significant other can alter your own self-perception. Suddenly Maguire feels all white-privilege, rather than funky-immigrant (“I was one of the cool ones!”). Comparing herself to his high-achieving exes hardly helps the personal paranoia levels, either.

... Click Here For Review


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

Chris McGlade is the very definition of no-holds-barred comic - a cigarettes and whisky comic from a previous time who approaches sensitive topics with all the sensitivity of a rampant sledgehammer.

He is brazen, and he definitely looks to shake his audience out of their pre-established ideas of acceptability, but he isn't callous and his comedy isn't cruel. This is never clearer than with his new show, which is centred around the murder of his father and his own difficult journey towards forgiving the murderer. That willingness to show vulnerability, using comedy to process pain rather than to ironically glaze over it, is what makes him more than an old-school shock comic. Click Here For Article


August 16, 2019    One4Review

Review of Ashley Storrie: Hysterical

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that Ashley Storrie has not been on the comedy scene for very long in real terms, okay a venture into it when she was barely a teenager and of course with her mother a stalwart she has been in the environment since, so I suppose it isn’t hard to understand why Ashley exudes all the skills, total confidence, has stage presence and a wicked turn in material.

She is on stage from the very start, welcoming her crowd, directing them to seats, chatting away making everyone at home before we get to the meat of her show, and it is a sumptuous feast.

Ms Storrie’s material is wide ranging, explaining the derivation of her show title, her family, the new dog, thinking she had serious health issues, visits to GP, porn watching, being turned on by the weird, Twitter trolls all give her topics to showcase her excellent writing and comedic skills, something that is grasped with both hands and served to a enthusiastic packed out house.

Her career is going pretty well. A regular radio show, a recommissioning of a TV series she co-presents, and of course playing sold out Fringe shows point to a bright future for this talented Glaswegian. Oh and how does she create those noises used to enhance her closing routine.

Being an unticketed Free Festival show the queues build up long before start time. Get there early to ensure a seat, you should not miss out on this hour of top quality comedy. Click Here For Review


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Daniel Muggleton: Pimpin' Ain't Easy (But I Reckon it's Easier for Straight, White Men?)

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

So it turns out Daniel Muggleton also has a law degree. That was unlikely and makes the entry above this look kind of silly and uninformed. The odds on this really were very low. Lawyers are, generally speaking, not funny.

Anyway, not-a-lawyer Daniel Muggleton is a UK-based, Australia-born comedian with a new Fringe show about some of the many differences between the two, as well as some of the things that unite them – like racism and misogyny. He is, in fact, very funny.

He delves into serious matters in good faith and with real perceptiveness, but never allows the weight of it all to drag him below the easy-going, no worries style that befits a comedian in a bright red tracksuit. Click Here For Article


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Jimmy McGhie BA (Hons)

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

Jimmy McGhie is feeling a little lost – a single man on the cusp of 40, marooned in his sister's attic with a second class arts degree and a sea of married, mortgaged, career-focused contemporaries to look out on. A more serious man might despair. Fortunately, McGhie has an irrepressible talent for taking things lightly.

Taking his “Need(y)” show from earlier in the year as its blueprint, his Fringe show is a work in progress that is still in search of its final form. Fortunately, when the bits and pieces are as good as McGhie's you don't find yourself worrying too much about what he might one day make out of them.

Not while the jokes keep coming, at least. Click Here For Article


August 16, 2019    One4Review

Review of Caroline Mabey- Hair of the Dog

Caroline Mabey is a strong performer in want of much stronger material. Her performance is polished (more impressive given her assertion that she’s on the point of a mid-Fringe breakdown) and she demonstrates both the audacity and empathy that would allow her to pull off any variety of edgy, risqué, controversial, absurd, or impassioned comedy that you care to mention.

... Click Here For Review


August 16, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Amy Howerska: Serious Face

Amy Howerska has moved to the US for marital reasons. Aside from culture clash observations, the first half of her set is mostly upbeat stuff about being happily in love, not only with her husband but also with his family, and Howerska owns it all winningly. The latter half contrasts the experience of her new extended family with her issues with her own folks. This is the ‘serious face’ bit from which the show derives its title. Things do lose their way (and the audience) a little then, though there’s a pretty memorable coda. Howerska weaves engaging vignettes, punctuated with plenty of good and well-timed gags. It was worth her coming back over the pond, and not just so she could do a Shakespeare’s Sister bit. Click Here For Review


August 16, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Old Jewish Jokes

Ivor Dembina has been a stand-up comedian for 30 years. When he started out, a new scene was developing: out went the dad jokes and in came alternative comedy. Dembina’s dad had other ideas, however, advising his son to carry on with some ‘Old Jewish Jokes’. When he became an established comic, his local community synagogue wanted him to do a fundraiser, providing the content would be appropriate: imagine a modern Jewish comedian prohibited from telling jokes about money, sex or anti-Semitism. Though these themes seem brash and hard to swallow (the two walkouts might be testament to that), Dembina’s perfectly-crafted method of telling a joke – either from his own experiences or from a Jewish joke book – will have you howling with laughter. Click Here For Review


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Darcie Silver - I know you are but what am I?

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

Honourable Mention

The great beauty of the Fringe is that it brings together comics from every career stage – superstars with regular TV slots rub shoulders with newbies just starting out, cult favourites who never quite made it mainstream and everybody working at all the places in between.

Darcie Silver is right there near the beginning, and (like almost everyone round those parts) she still has a way to go. Our review made clear that her show is far from the finished article, lacking the self-assurance to deliver on its potential. But Silver's got something – a delicate stage presence and a gleeful willingness to go dark or get dirty in service of a good line. It's a potent combination.

The star rating wasn't great, but that is mostly a reminder that star ratings only tell you so much. Click Here For Article


50 of the best jokes at the fringe

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Happiness bully

50 of the best jokes at the fringe

I didn’t get involved in the incident outside the kebab shop. I thought ‘let the chips fall where they may’. Click Here For Article


August 16, 2019    One4Review

Review of Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Mr Frank is a newcomer to the Fringe, but not to comedy, having performed in America for some time. His experience is evident in his confidence and easy facility with his material, and in his effusive, enthusiastic energy on stage. He bounds up, delivers a one sentence précis of the show, and bam, we were off – no time-wasting with welcomes or crowd work, just straight into cerebral, logical, well constructed stand up.

This show contains my favourite dick joke I’ve ever heard at the Fringe. It’s clever and it’s silly, and it examines the world from an unexpected perspective; statements which could describe the whole show. Mr Frank takes a pragmatic, logical, sensible look at a variety of topics – religion, gun ownership, aliens, politics, climate change – and examines the incongruities thus revealed. He’s very careful not to mock, simply to question. Nevertheless, for those looking to be offended, there is sufficient here to misconstrue.

A varied response from the audience I was with, but there was consistent and audible laughter throughout the show. The quality of his material and performance is consistent, and things move at a pace which suggests you’re expected to be relatively well-informed and have some smarts (no dumbing down here).

Lovely first Fringe, and hopefully not his last. Click Here For Review


August 16, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Aaron Twitchen: Can't stop a rainbow

At Bar 50’s Alcove we were treated to the conundrum of comical masculinity performed by Aaron Twitchen, a gay man with a hairstyle (a bit like Bjork’s) who also did circus work. I believe I may have inadvertently intruded on a no-press performance, but I hope I’ll be forgiven because I’d rather just think of myself as a punter with a pen. So what did I see? Well, Twitchen is an expert storyteller; with his small, closely-packed audience lapping it all up. In fact ,you’d be equally ravished if you picked up the story from just about any moment in his set.

It seemed he had broken up with a long-time partner (a matter of months which according to Aaron was a long time in gay terms), so found himself going to Egypt for a getaway to mend his broken heart. He hadn’t gone alone, however, but had been joined on the venture by friends. He joked about his father, the fact that pyramids offer no shelter from the sun and that where he was in Egypt was in fact 300 miles from the pyramids. Alongside these hilarious stories came his take on the contemporary era, taking huge swipes at anything that interested him or that he cared about.

... Click Here For Review


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

August 16, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about American Refugee

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: 4 Great Free Fringe Shows

The fact that Sid Singh is both a comedian and a human rights lawyer should be enough to set him apart from the mass of comics competing for your attention at this year's Fringe. The novelty of seeing someone who could make a living standing before a judge, standing instead inside a comedy club working - that alone should be worth the price of admission.

Add in the fact that the price of admission is zilch and you've got an even more enticing proposal.

Throw in the fact that Singh has found a way to fuse these two professions into an entertaining, insightful and informative show about borders, bigotry and the sublime power of well-directed hate, and you've got one of the most unique, prescient and politically powerful shows of the whole festival. Click Here For Article


August 16, 2019    The Skinny

Review of Ew Girl You Nasty - Katharyn Henson

A brazen hour of crazy anecdotes from Katharyn Henson in her Edinburgh Fringe debut.

As Katharyn Henson starts her hour with an anecdote about eating dog food as a child, we get a pretty quick sense of her wild and self-deprecating style, which somehow manages to build and build from there as the show goes on. She takes great pleasure in all things obscene and if you’re willing to go along with it, there’s plenty of laughs to be had as she pushes the limits of what the audience find tolerable.

Some audience members appear alienated by how full-frontal the set is from the get-go, but it certainly prepares the room for the hour ahead. However, Henson’s audience interaction stalls the momentum somewhat as her audience questioning rarely leads to interesting material, instead receiving awkward reactions from the selected participants.

There’s a lot of fun to be had over the hour, particularly if you prefer your comedy on the darker side. Henson covers a tremendous amount of ground with her vulgarity and free-spiritedness, making it the more enjoyable as she explores literally every nook and cranny, an analogy comparing coke to a board game being a real highlight. Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    The List

Review of My Mother's Shoes

A daughter looks back on her relationship with her Polish mother.

Although her mum died seven years ago, Karola Gajda still loves her, and that's the biggest take-away from her show My Mother's Shoes. Her mum certainly had it tough and no mistake. From a Polish family, Gajda's mum was deported to a Siberian gulag by Stalin during WWII, and things didn't stop there; due to a series of medical misadventures, she ended up having her feet removed due to gangrene after she came to Britain.

She had a pair of special shoes created so she could still walk; for Gajda growing up, the rhythm and volume of these shoes coming up the stairs provided a quick gauge to her mother's mood.

Gajda's show is more than a simple tribute; yes, it's a history lesson, but also a personal rumination of the complexity of a parental relationship. Gajda's relationship with her mother didn't always run smoothly, and it's clear that she regrets some of the conflict between them. But there are also sweet memories here too, of an afternoon tea at the Ritz, and of her mother's desire to share the positives in her life. Reliant on cortisone to survive, there's evidence here of her hard-scrabble existence, but the scope of the story is very much about what can be carried forward; the past informs the present here to good effect. Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Which Princess Are You?

Sunjai Arif regaled us with sarcasm and quips as he made his way onto the tiny stage, in a tiny room at the Laughing Horse. If we were in any doubt about what the show, “Which Princess Are You” would be about, he immediately set us at ease by stating his love for Disney movies and more specifically, Disney Princesses. He got us involved straight away by asking which princess we thought we were and played a game to discover our inner princess, handing out tiny, not-that-well-made masks depicting said princesses.

... Click Here For Review


Edinburgh festival 2019: the 10 best jokes

August 15, 2019   The Guardian

Article about Darren Walsh: Punimal Farm

Edinburgh festival 2019: the 10 best jokes

Darren Walsh: Cat flaps are for pussies. Click Here For Article


August 15, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Hero Worship

How many people have dreamed of meeting their idols? Well, Joel Sanders has lived that dream several times over.

Sharing his memoirs of meeting some of his personal comedy and music heroes, Sanders talks of experiences most would kill to have in his own friendly, funny little way.

Mixing it up by telling a different set of stories each time, Sanders has enough tales to keep an audience happily entertained for hours. Featuring celebrities such as Billy Connelly, Jim Davidson and Hugh Cornwell from the Stranglers, the show was like a conversation in a pub and a celebrity magazine rolled into one.

Sanders talked to the audience, not as a host of a show, but as an old friend or very good acquaintance as he shared experiences about shaking hands and having drinks with his idols. Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    Chortle

Review of Sam See: Coming Out Loud

Edgelord comedians take note. One of the biggest risk-takers on the Fringe is a small, smiley Singaporean man with a genial manner and dressed in a colourful bow-tie and waistcoat.

Because where he’s from, Sam See’s very existence is illegal, with same-sex activities punishable by up to two years in prison. And the system for compulsory military service is like Carry On Kafka, with officials having to rank gay recruits on a scale of effeminacy. See only has to explain this ridiculous state of affairs to get a laugh.

If that wasn’t challenging enough, See has even performed in even stricter regimes, using subterfuge to gig in front of the most unlikely of audiences in the most unlikely of places, and again his stories are fascinating. Click Here For Review


Edinburgh festival 2019: the 10 best jokes

August 15, 2019   The Guardian

Article about Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

Edinburgh festival 2019: the 10 best jokes

Olaf Falafel: Actors who can cure my lisp? I’m pretty sure Anne Hathaway, but I’m going to ask Colin Firth. Click Here For Article


August 15, 2019    Young Perspective

Review of Robin Morgan: What a Man, What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now)

Amazing title aside, Robin Morgan provides an hour of hilarious stand-up, fit for men and women of the modern age.

Robin Morgan’s free hour-long at the Fringe consists of some very sharp, relatable comedy. I was taken in, initially, by the extended title. The show centres around three of the most important men in Robin’s life – his infant son, his father, and his childhood best friend. Throw in some excellent social commentary for good measure, and Morgan is very much a male comedian for the modern age.


Firstly, Morgan has an amazing taste in intro music. As the audience filtered in to the banger better known as ‘Truth Hurts’ by Lizzo, I noticed that the venue was packed. It was standing room only for some. Morgan hops on stage and begins musing on the creation of Wetherspoon’s – again, very relatable comedy. He doesn’t let a moment go to waste; his pace is utter perfection, allowing for all of his jokes and some engagement with the audience.

... Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    The List

Review of Gráinne Maguire: Guys... It's Problematic

The strongest and funniest sections of Gráinne Maguire's set are the honest bits where she talks about her decision to never relax, her maniacal need to chase fame, and her habit of comparing herself to others. She describes her creative process, or as she puts it, 'the magic comes when you try to escape your feelings!' Maguire makes interesting inroads towards some nice angsty stuff about bitterness and insecurities, all presented in a very smiley, chummy way. 'Old people love me!', she beams, while describing her passion for visiting royal historical palaces.

Gráinne Maguire is a very comfortable storyteller... Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Ben Van der Velde - Fablemaker

Audience stories are deftly spun into an entertaining collaborative tale.

Ben van der Velde uses his quick wit to craft a unique and funny story starring, well, you – or at least some of the members of his audience. His skill at telling tales and finding the humour in situations makes this an unusual and enjoyable show.

As Ben welcomes us and amiably begins to ask questions, we learn that there are a few people here from Northern Ireland; there’s a philosophy student, a psychology one… and soon the laughter comes. The show flows seamlessly from these introductions, initially to simple callbacks, and then to more and more outlandish suggestions – casting the audience members as heroes, villains and sidekicks in the fabled tale that he skilfully weaves.

... Click Here For Review


August 15, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Sketch Thieves

Don’t worry – the thievery in this show is all consensual. Four sketch groups volunteer to perform a slice of their material in the first half, and then for the second they have to attempt to perform each other’s. Will Mars’ spin-off from his successful ‘Joke Thieves’ stand-up compilation show, this proves to be a riotous hour of improvisation and adaptation. We saw sketch groups Northern Power Blouse, Bad Clowns, Two Little Dickheads and Double Denim put themselves through the thievery wringer, and given how different their respective styles were, seeing the jokes of one group through the lens of another proved to be both funny and genuinely interesting. If you go, get there early – our performance was packed out. Click Here For Review


August 14, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

An hour with Chris McGlade is always an intense experience.

He has a unique comedy voice – part emotional and political powerhouse, part working men’s club gagster.

He is no respecter of personal space and you can find yourself almost literally eyeball to eyeball with the man as he gets vehement on the subject of friendly but non-PC joking in a multi-ethnic, working class community, the spiky friendship between his father and his Pakistani accountant or the impressive CV in direct action that he has built up over the years.

The laughs in a Mcglade show are big, old-fashioned, belly-laughs, and with them he buys himself the space to tell his story, in this instance, the horrific murder of his father and how he came to terms with it. He builds up with hilarious descriptions of life with his hard drinking, heavy smoking, frequently violent parents, his impoverished upbringing and the legacy of the Black Irish.

The overly woke would probably have PTSD for weeks after this show, but I defy even them not to fall about laughing at the section about his parents’ smoking.

The heart of the show is the death of his father and how he came to forgive his killer. He deals with this in classically in yer face Mcglade style. Emotions are raw and massive and it is a tribute to the relationship he has built up with the audience that we stay with through all of this. A unique experience. You might need a drink afterwards. Click Here For Review


August 14, 2019    Telegraph

Review of Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

In a sweaty basement room in the heart of Edinburgh off the Royal Mile, a northern comedian called Chris McGlade, 54, is delivering one of the most enjoyable and life-affirming hours on the Fringe. What’s remarkable is that his upbeat show derives from the bleakest subject-matter: his father’s murder.

Looking – with his warm, charismatic smile – like a gaunt version of the actor James Nesbitt, McGlade, from Redcar, near Middlesbrough, isn’t seeking to make his name or his fortune. Instead, this regular face on the still-surviving working-men’s clubs in the North has something to get off his chest – a rather asthmatic chest at that; his folks smoked like chimneys when he was a kid.

“When we went on holiday we used to put patches on the budgie,” he jokes.

... Click Here For Review


August 14, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Godley on the Fringe

Popular performer pleases packed room.

Once settled Godley launches into her familiar Glesga patter zeroing in on those in the audience who share her life experiences. She revels in recounting a time before health and safety and pesky nonsense like anxiety and allergies cluttered the social zeitgeist where ‘bairns wid be pit oot o the hoose and telt tae come back at fower.’ Said bairns could, on occasion knock the door of a neighbour and offer to take their baby for a walk in their pram.

Having effortlessly rattled through some dangerous nostalgia and an analysis of the usefulness of the menopausal woman in a combat zone she has a smart little anecdote about her dad’s time in care home. She manages to convincingly portray a man who shared her humour by pretending to be smothered by a pillow in a confusingly (for the staff) tender moment of banter. Click Here For Review


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: The Scotsman critics' best comedy shows to see this year

August 14, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Jimmy McGhie BA (Hons)

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: The Scotsman critics' best comedy shows to see this year

Jimmy McGhie, Laughing Horse @The Pear Tree, Until 24 August Click Here For Article


Edinburgh Fringe 2019: The Scotsman critics' best comedy shows to see this year

August 14, 2019   The Scotsman

Article about Adventures in Dementia - Steve Day

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: The Scotsman critics' best comedy shows to see this year

Adventures in Dementia - Steve Day, Laughing Horse The Lock Up, Until 10 August Click Here For Article


August 14, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Aaron Twitchen: Can't stop a rainbow

IN THIS one-man LGBTQ themed stand up performance the positive, warm and energetic AARON TWITCHEN discusses his friendships, love life and the amount of wine he consumed during his journey of self-discovery.

Unlike most Stand up Fringe shows where the performers spend a sufficient amount of time preparing and rehearsing their material, Aaron’s show hardly feels scripted, and he is primarily relying on his fortunately strong improvisation skills as he interacts with the audience. In most cases this works out in his favor.

He poked fun at the audience’s cultural stereotypes without making anyone feel offended, however he did occasionally use a few remarks that some of his guests might have found inappropriate.

During the part of the show that he spoke about his breakup he managed to portray very vividly the pain of his rejection and isolation which made him feel particularly authentic.

Aaron displays a beautiful range of emotions which further enhance the overall feel of the show. Although he did initially start his performance with a subtle tone, that soon changed and even became a little jarring towards the end.

This is not one of the greatest shows on at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe but it definitely has its flare and a fair share of hilarious moments to enjoy. Click Here For Review


August 14, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of American Refugee

This is a game-changer of a show, or at least it should be, because playing the game Sid's way, you get the feeling that your chances of winning are exponentially increased. Sid is a fan of hate.

And he wants to show us how to weaponise it in the right way, which, currently, we are not doing. He has not had the greatest of years – TV show cancelled, work visa expired, fired from a well-known improv company based in Amsterdam for being 'difficult' and currently here at the Fringe in a dodgy position, immigration status wise.

But we should be thrilled that border control is so … well, I will let Sid tell you about that. This is a powerfully political show that tackles all the 'isms and checks white privilege but not in a way you have heard before.

He is a human rights lawyer when he is not sneaking into countries to do powerhouse political comedy shows, and so when he talks, you really should listen, because his hourly rate is normally a lot more than a donation in a bucket.

There are big laughs here from unlikely places and we learn a lot about Sid's open-minded attitude to sexuality, racism in Amsterdam, the other side to the idea of kids in cages and Sid's confessed career as a gold-digger. Sid is brutally honest when he tells us that comedy cannot change the world. But what he does is bringing it closer. Please don't deport him. Click Here For Review


August 13, 2019    The List

Review of Johnny Depp: A Retrospective On Late-Stage Capitalism

Film star behaves like a knob shock.

Before Johnny Depp himself bowls up on stage, ties up the presenters and reminds the audience how amazing he is, the academic intentions of this lecture-performance are clearly established. Depp began his career as a heart-throb, negotiated this into relevance and box office star-power, before becoming a dumpster fire of toxic masculinity: how did this happen, and why is he a lesbian icon? Neither question is answered, but the trawl through Depp's catalogue of films and shenanigans is amusing and details a slice of pop-cultural history.

With most of his films mentioned, it is surprising both how ubiquitous Depp has been, the range of his roles and how many absolute stinkers he has taken the money for and ran. His behaviour, meanwhile, is a boorish reiteration of rock'n'roll clichés: adolescent pledges of love to Winona Ryder, hotel rooms smashed, excessive expenditure on drink and drugs and Hunter S Thompson's cremation, threatening the POTUS. His grand finale – spousal abuse – is the point when his antics become expressive of their fundamentally ugly values. Yet despite the criticism of his cavalier attitude to cash, Depp doesn't come across as especially wicked.

And perhaps that is late capitalism's identity: not evil but thoughtless, privileged and desperate to please and appear cool. Depp doesn't come well out of the presentation, but the political force of the arguments about how his fortune could be used to benefit society is lost in the jokes, rendering the show entertaining, toothless but suggestive of a sharper critique to come. Click Here For Review


August 13, 2019    The List

Review of Becky Brunning: Bloom

Wholesome hour that takes in coming out, fathers and reproduction.

Sipping on some of Lidl's finest own-brand Malibu, Becky Brunning presents a feelgood show about love and family. Bloom is split chiefly into two sections, one that focuses on her relationship with her folks growing up, and the second that looks to the future and considers the complications of starting out on a life in the big bad world.

Material on her father is especially strong. Portraying him as a 'right-wing hazard' of a man, Brunning humorously conveys his attempts to navigate the modern world with its new attitudes and terminologies, and the blurred lines between chivalry and sexist egoism. Her fondness for the man is laid out explicitly though, through flashbacks to him raising the family as a single man. Even when things get serious, Brunning doesn't shy away from the darkly comedic elements.

Brunning is also recently married, with much hilarity ensuing as she recalls coming out to the extended family through a wedding invitation, and documents the couples attempts to find a suitable sperm donor. There are laughs and acute observations throughout, and Brunning is an endearing presence who makes sitting in an impossibly hot and crammed box on the Cowgate an enjoyable, wholesome occasion. Click Here For Review


Highly Recommended Show

August 13, 2019   Fringe Review

Article about All Aboard!

Highly Recommended Show

High energy stand-up and songs from an extremely talented Romanian.

The diminutive Dragos Mostenescu is on a journey. Where to, who knows, but he’s keen to get us all aboard, if only to see where we end up. And what a fascinating ride it proves to be. Full of humour, good music, very clever word play and a nice balance of stand-up and songs.

Mostenescu hails from Romania but, following over twenty years experience of writing and delivering sitcoms and comedy shows in his homeland, he’s been plying his trade over in the UK for the past two years. His Fringe show debuted to much critical acclaim earlier this year down in London’s Leicester Square and, five minutes in, you can see why he’s already building a reputation on our fair shores.

... Click Here For Article


August 13, 2019    Fest

Review of Drunk Lion

Chris Davis' one-man storytelling show is a delirious and disorienting fable.

Philadelphia writer-performer Chris Davis’ one-man show—his sixth time at the festival—is a head-spinning, hallucinogenic fable about a meeting with an alcoholic, lovesick lion in a rural Mexican cantina.

Drunk Lion is inspired by Davis’ own experiences in Chiapas, Mexico, where he lived and learned Spanish for a year, rarely leaving the small country town in which his foster family lived. Whether or not he actually met a talking lion during his time there is unclear.

Casually dressed and alone on stage, Davis dives into his story like a backpacker in a bar, swigging beers as he energetically and effervescently recounts how he released said lion from its cage, got drunk with him in a bar, then aided and abetted him as he tried to win back the lost love of his life – the enigmatic Juanita. Every now and again, he pauses, and smiles at the audience, acknowledging the absurdity of his story.

... Click Here For Review


+3 Interview

August 13, 2019   Edinburgh49

Article about Happiness bully

+3 Interview

An interview where I talk about laminating, Acupressure slippers and my desire to present a country music radio show.
 Click Here For Article


August 13, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Daniel Muggleton: Pimpin' Ain't Easy (But I Reckon it's Easier for Straight, White Men?)

Dry, caustic and unsparing, Australian émigré Daniel Muggleton is a deceptively sharp, informed social commentator in a tracksuit, with offbeat analyses of Brexit, racism and misogyny.

Likening his appearance and manner to that of an undercover agent, he’s avowedly aware of the struggles of women and minorities, but happily benefiting from the patriarchy and white privilege all the same.

With his motives and principles so thoroughly compromised, he can be damning of his adopted home, his opening musings on the UK leaving Europe, the NHS and Royal Family archly witty, though essentially an extended diss on Brits’ lack of physical attractiveness.

Australia’s infamous immigration policies don’t escape his condemnation. But Muggleton suggests that he’s only really judgemental for the pastime of testing his perceptiveness, rather than any great political point-scoring. He’s wryly amused rather than energised by wokeness’ appropriation by multinational companies with dubious labour practices. And he’s matter-of-fact highlighting the source of toxic masculinity that prompted the #MeToo movement. With minimal grandstanding, indeed, supreme casualness, Muggleton shares his opinions understatedly, effectively and with real promise for his stand-up career going forward. Click Here For Review


August 13, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Daniel Muggleton: Pimpin' Ain't Easy (But I Reckon it's Easier for Straight, White Men?)

Dry, caustic and unsparing, Australian émigré Daniel Muggleton is a deceptively sharp, informed social commentator in a tracksuit, with offbeat analyses of Brexit, racism and misogyny.

Likening his appearance and manner to that of an undercover agent, he’s avowedly aware of the struggles of women and minorities, but happily benefiting from the patriarchy and white privilege all the same.

With his motives and principles so thoroughly compromised, he can be damning of his adopted home, his opening musings on the UK leaving Europe, the NHS and Royal Family archly witty, though essentially an extended diss on Brits’ lack of physical attractiveness.

Australia’s infamous immigration policies don’t escape his condemnation. But Muggleton suggests that he’s only really judgemental for the pastime of testing his perceptiveness, rather than any great political point-scoring. He’s wryly amused rather than energised by wokeness’ appropriation by multinational companies with dubious labour practices. And he’s matter-of-fact highlighting the source of toxic masculinity that prompted the #MeToo movement. With minimal grandstanding, indeed, supreme casualness, Muggleton shares his opinions understatedly, effectively and with real promise for his stand-up career going forward. Click Here For Review


August 12, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Robin Morgan: What a Man, What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now)

Energetic, naturally and naughtily charismatic, Morgan takes his audience on a cruise through the uncharted waters of life as he knows it. Not quite 30 and warm up for Graham Norton, Morgan has the ability and skills to make a conversation based on his local pub resonate with the punters. Touching on topics of sexuality, masculinity and the British inability for males to compliment one another without losing their street cred, why can’t the average bloke be nice? Why can’t a guy compliment a women without being weird? Taking Weatherspoon’s beer garden to new ‘binstopian’ levels, and challenging the political situation, ‘…the rise of Fascism in Europe…that’s not coming back,’ he is as astute as he is comical.

If you see one freebie this fringe, make this the one if you want an hour of belly-hurting chortles, a few shocked gasps and the experience of feeling lighter and brighter having an hour of Morgan mundane mania.

Be sure to get there early as it’s first come first served. Click Here For Review


August 12, 2019    Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review of Robin Morgan: What a Man, What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now)

‘Arrive early’ they said. It wasn’t until I saw the massive line of spectators waiting outside The Pear Tree to be seated, that these words meaning sunk in.

As an established stand-up, warm-up artist and writer with an amazing repertoire under his belt, it’s no surprise that filling the room takes longer than anticipated. However, once in place, Morgan is quick to the punch and makes storytelling and comedy seem easy.

Living in a world where toxic masculinity is vast, and double standards are ample Robin Morgan questions what it means to be a man, and what makes a good male role model today.

Becoming a Father to his now two-year-old son has helped Morgan realise that even though he has had a good relationship with his father, he has never been able to say ‘I love you’ to due to the expectations of masculinity.

Morgan’s cheeky charisma and natural storytelling talent has the audience laughing alongside him, and enthusiastically joining in when prompted to do so. With millennial and dad jokes constantly coming, the hour flows naturally.


Crying with laughter is not an option at Robin Morgan: What a Man. But this light-hearted and at times heart-pulling comedy set – which spreads a much needed positive message – could possibly make you choke up or even shed a tear for the brave role model that stands before you. Click Here For Review


August 12, 2019    Fest

Review of Paul Foxcroft: Debut

Quirky tales of dating disasters and being Bon Jovi'd.

Paul Foxcroft calling his second show Debut is typical of the wilful contrariness and talent for crossed wires of an ex-theatre technician who's electrocuted himself no fewer than three times. Suddenly single for the first time in 12 years, he's been released back into the wilds of the dating game, surprised to find that the rules have changed in the intervening period. But with the usual peril of a comedian being reviewed, he's no longer in charge of how he's perceived, especially how he relates to women, with a routine shop enquiry provoking repulsion.

You can't blame him for his confusion though. This apparently mild-mannered, unthreatening man has attracted the attention of US Homeland Security, his reaction to their raised guns a study in ever-so-English eagerness to please. And his ongoing interactions with women have become a social minefield, from sort-of-dating an unavailable fellow comic, who's at least given him permission to talk about it; to losing a bizarre battle of wits with the toddler daughter of his improv partner Cariad Lloyd. At least he's stolen her canny tactic for whenever a conversation gets too awkward.

... Click Here For Review


August 12, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Passport and Prozac

Byron Bertram took command of the Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 marquee the minute he stepped out in front of us. In fact he bellowed at us, not in an angry British way, more in a Canadian large personality way. As we sat in the half-filled tent he cajoled us into participation in his laughter, but also in the general uproar, which would be a good word for describing his set. He took us on a journey into the extremes of his over-active mind and imagination, confessing to having a mental deficiency and being on meds, with a burgeoning pride and reality.

Bertram knew his material was comedy adamantine, taking great relish in the fact as he stood full square before us with a great smile in his eyes – he almost didn’t have to say anything and we were splitting our sides with laughter. It got better by the second, ranging from mocking modern culture to quips about his beloved mum, a great character. He joked about alcohol, made comparisons between the police in Canada and Britain, pointing out the politeness of the police here, having no need for guns but instead deploying social skills to enforce order on nights out in towns and cities. When he would scream into the microphone, he wasn’t being a diva; instead it was all part of his charm.

To his credit he was no jovial Santa personality, it was his seriousness about comedy that began to set him apart as a stand up. He even received positive heckling. His idea for the title Passport and Prozac was influenced by his extensive travelling and Prozac being the medication he was on. He was unsympathetic towards today’s PC society, but it was enough to mention it rather than rip it apart, though he would have been more than capable if he’d wanted. But, with a preference for very clever wit and a delivery to die for, Byron’s lack of airs and graces made him a pleasure to watch, listen to and feel improved by, all the while crying tears of laughter. It’s definitely shows like this that make the Festival for me, shows which step out of time and give weight to the theory of time flying when you’re having fun. This was an enthralling and masterful performance from a great traveller from Canada. Well worth an hour of your time. Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Fest

Review of Bollywood and Birmingham to Berlin and Brexit

A well-worked hour with a worth-heeding message.

You get to see some interesting spaces across the length and breadth of the Fringe, from grand old lecture theatres to the intimate City Cafe Nineties room, with its full-wall photos of Britney, Blur, B*Witched, and the like.

Now you might think, from the title, that Dharmander Singh’s serious-sounding show would be a little out of place here, but actually this colourful setting suits it rather well. A memorable early routine involves the ebullient Singh suggesting a Bollywood remix of Hollywood hits, which generally involves adding dancers and fireworks to cheer up the sad bits.

... Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Chortle

Review of Rob Oldham: Worm's Resolve

One word review for this: Wow! Rob Oldham has aplomb, brains and delivery beyond his years. It’s hard to credit he’s just turned 24 and he’s now delivering a ‘difficult second show’ that I’d be happy to pay money to watch, or to see him delivering to a club audience.

There’s an ease and composure to his delivery that is confidence-inspiring for an audience. He’s of the ‘thinks funny’ rather than ‘funny bones’ school of comedy and I enjoyed his analytical, self-conscious approach.

He’s explicitly structured the piece in three parts, declared the subject matter as morality, and makes reference to working in comedy and how things haven’t quite taken off for him in the way he he had been tempted to imagine after a good Edinburgh last year.

... Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Fest

Review of Borne Of Chaos

Eric Lampaert presents a thoroughly gut-wrenching depiction of mental illness and its powerful effects.

Borne of Chaos is a bold, dramatic depiction of the genuine terror of mental health issues and the subsequent clarity that develops when these problems—temporarily or permanently—go away.

Eric Lampaert approaches the topic with admirable frankness. He candidly lays out the significant events from his childhood and adolescence that he believes contributed to his own mental health issues, and in doing so he opens himself up for dissection.

Aspects of the show are highly disturbing, with Lampaert able to contort his body and voice in the most sinister of ways. The comic’s horrifying physical manifestation of depression itself is something that will remain in the subconscious for a while.

But he flits between sinister theatrics and knob-gags frequently, and while the transition sometimes feels slightly strained, the smut feels like safe territory and we’re happy to get back to it.

Although a indulgent at times (with some of his dance routines, it isn't clear if he’s taking the piss or not), Borne of Chaos has huge theatrical value.

The show isn’t designed to be a smooth ride. It’s an artistic depiction of depression, anxiety and psychosis, and we shouldn’t find that comfortable. Ultimately, Borne of Chaos is about growth, developing understanding and forgiveness. It’s about owning your past experiences, trauma and mistakes, and seeing how you have grown from them. Click Here For Review


3.5*

August 11, 2019    Chortle

Review of Robin Morgan: What a Man, What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now)

3.5*

Ostensibly a show about what makes a good male role model, this is more of a lovely excuse to race through some school and family stories about being a son, being a father, what it means to say ‘I love you’ to your dad and failing to remember stories where you are less than heroic.

This could be schmaltz, but it isn’t. Robin Morgan is looks like a more handsome Stephen Merchant: tall, not quite so gangly, pale and bespectacled. He also has an easy listening voice and the kind of perfect diction that allows him to rattle along at about 300 words a minute.

I cannot listen as fast he speaks, but when I catch up, it’s bloody funny and the audience were laughing loud or louder all the way through.

... Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Jimmy McGhie BA (Hons)

McGhie's new show is delightful, even in its unfinished state.

This is his ninth Edinburgh hour and on this, first performance (Jimmy hasn’t done previews), it is still a bit sketchy as a whole. As individual bits, it is brilliant and the experience is a little like having a master chef talking you through the top quality ingredients he is using in tomorrow’s banquet. You get to look and sniff and feel the quality of the stuff, it just hasn’t been cooked into a ‘thing’ yet. Many people here call this ‘work in progress’ and charge quite a lot to watch. Jimmy just pulls back the curtain between his space and the bar and gives us what he’s got.

Car-crash dates and existential angst, his daddy issues and the effects of growing up in the very bowels of the patriarchy, niche porn, millenials and why bottling it up is the way to go, together with an ongoing bonding experience with our small but enthusiastic audience make for a satisfying hour with a comic who is supremely good at what he does, even when he is not doing very much.

Jimmy even nixes his bucket speech because he reckons it wouldn’t be right. And this is a man with a mid-life crisis to finance. McGhie is one of the few comics who come with my money-back guarantee... Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Fest

Review of Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

In one respect, Chris McGlade's latest hour is a typical Fringe offering, in that he's mining personal trauma for his narrative. Yet the Middlesbrough grandfather isn't your typical standup. He's a product of the working men's club circuit and avowed sceptic of over-sensitive, political correctness. Moreover, the pain he's exorcising is the brutal murder of his father. And his challenge has been two-fold. How can he justify forgiving his father's killer? And how can he make it funny?

Performing off-mic in his intimate venue, the expressive McGlade appeals directly to his audience, imploring them to engage with his tale. Offering a comprehensive, unvarnished tableaux of a working-class family with dark Irish blood in their veins and domestic violence, criminality and marital tension lurking in the background, he nevertheless finds plentiful humour in their eccentricities and contradictions, sharp-elbowed laughter their coping mechanism when times have been hardest. McGlade's relationship with his late father was particularly complicated. His dad's outward difficulty in expressing affection and crushing of his son's adolescent dream, yet generous, forgiving nature, leading inexorably to this show being performed.

McGlade has had other serious struggles in his life. And while he may not have always reacted in his best interests, his instinctive recourse to jokes in his bleakest moments is self-evidently cathartic and has gone a long way towards making him the accomplished storyteller he is now, a twinkle in his eyes reinforcing his stated optimism for what lies ahead. Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

 Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

Nick Elleray has lived his life admiring the Rolling Stones and attempting to use spirituality to become a more tranquil individual. For a man who delivers such a composed performance, you can sense the inner rage that still hasn’t depleted in Elleray. The Aussie comedian has spent years reeling after the Stones’ 1989 release ‘Steel Wheels’, and considers whether you can ever really forgive your favourite band for their poorest effort. He puts on a cracking display in ‘Big Nick Energy’, questioning whether he still has the vigour that the title suggests. Comedically, he certainly does, as proved by this competent and unique display, advising us on how to impede a possible midlife crisis through observational humour. Click Here For Review


August 11, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Stealth Aspies – Aspies Anonymous

Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a beacon of individuality for our time: it presents a platform for anybody with the desire to express themselves and whatever makes them individuals. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, perceived or actual disability, and any facet of humankind that makes you part of an in-group, this city and its festival will let you do you. It is perhaps surprising then, that amidst the ocean of niche markets, there are relatively few shows addressing the autistic spectrum – a social ‘disorder’ that affects about 1 in 60 (although it has been suggested that almost everyone displays tendencies that place us somewhere on the spectrum). Enter Paul Wady, Champion of the Autistics, on a mission to educate the world on how autism should not be classified as a disorder, and that those of us who display autistic attributes should embrace them as a positive part of our identities.

... Click Here For Review


August 10, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Eleanor Conway: You May Recognise Me From Tinder

Eleanor Conway's vagina has a name (Jenny), and this is important to know. Eleanor Conway has a history, and this is important to know. Eleanor Conway is very funny, which is essential to know. This is all explained in the introduction of Eleanor Conway: You May Know Me From Tinder. Conway outlines her journey through hook-ups and relationships, as well as a short stint of being paid for sex work. Her take on sex and desire is inclusive, non-critical, and in nearly all instances the gags revolve around her relationship with Jenny – her longest life partner.

Conway can command a crowd whilst maintaining the flexible authority to deal with hecklers and comments from the front row – these being far more liquid than they were solid. When delivering stand-up you know your audience has had some level of lubrication before the show begins and Conway is an excellent MC whilst the audience takes their seats. Conway is excellent at signposting – by this, I mean that she outlined to her audience exactly what the routine would include without spoiling the big gags later on. This allowed the audience to feel comfortable in her (very) capable hands.

As such the show delivers some great moments whilst doing total justice to Conway's own stories from the front line of keeping orgasms regular.

... Click Here For Review


August 10, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Anesti Danelis: Six Frets Under

I love it when a show launches a smile onto your face & just leaves it sitting there for the duration – like yoga for the mouth muscles. Last year the Mumble had the delight of seeing Canadian musical comedy duo, Death Ray Cabaret & found them to be quirky sorcerers indeed! At the same their mate, Anesti Danelis, was an Amused Moose finalist. Roll on 2019 & of course I had to go & check out Anesti’s return for those aforementioned reasons – he’s supposed to be quality & I now find myself a fan of Toronto’s ley-line meetings of musical comedy minds.

Anesti Danelis is like, good, so good. A well-deserved finalist & a master of his craft. The eloquent clarity of his singing voice & the lucidity with which he presented his ‘stories’ combine into a bouquet experience, like walking through a country garden draped in blossoms in the morning. The stories aren’t quite so floral as my metaphor, however, they are all wee lantern-lit snippets into his world, where he accidentally says ‘incest’ in a candle-shop & tinstructs his landlord he has turned into an actual bird to avoid paying his rent.

Myself & the audience were completely enamoured by the pretty flawless songs, among which are scattered buzzing one-liners & clever philosophical epigrams such as ‘how come children are the future when they ruin our hopes & dreams.’ Of the songs, I loved the playground jazz of ‘What Do Men Really Like,’ & of course the song which probably got him nominated for those Moose-antlers in the first place – Goats. I swear down, this IS the funniest song I have EVER heard; a surreal journey on a violin that combines Greek folk music with whatever psychedleic drugs Anesti was on at the time he created the number. Click Here For Review


August 10, 2019    Chortle

Review of Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

There is plenty of food for thought in Chris McGlade’s heartfelt and often intense show about his murdered father. He tells the story with a potent intimacy, standing on a stool to physically loom over us in a room no bigger than a broom closet, drawing us in with a frank and dynamic performance.

The story starts by describing what sort of a man his dad was: emotionally distant, tight with money, and a ‘wind-up merchant’ who would mock everyone he encountered.

... Click Here For Review


August 10, 2019    One4Review

Review of Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

We’re ostensibly on the ISS, crew who’ve been given the afternoon off by benevolent boss and front-row occupant ‘Patricia’. But this is a front, Mr Falafel confesses; he knows we’re not on the space station, he would just like to encourage us to be a bit silly, and return to being like children – like his nephew, who’s play inspired the title of the show (and makes for a lovely anecdote).

There are lots of different elements to the show – impressions, fromage-ology, magnificent bagpipes, interactions with a shopkeeper, shouting things vaguely obscene at the powerpoint – and they chain together to create a show which is gently whimsical and vaguely absurd. Mr Falafel is a natural on stage, with a gruff Rhod-Gilbert-esque melodious delivery bubbling with enthusiasm for the silly.

... Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Ashley Storrie: Hysterical

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Godley on the Fringe

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


Four Star Review

August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Comedy Queers

Four Star Review

 Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Sam See: Coming Out Loud

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


50 UNMISSABLE SHOWS AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE 2019

August 9, 2019   To Do List

Article about Sam See: Coming Out Loud

50 UNMISSABLE SHOWS AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE 2019

 Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019   Squirrel Comedy

Article about Stand-up Philosophy

Very interesting concept for a festival show. Our host, Charlie Duncan Saffrey, introduces two guests to give a 20 minute talk (hopefully funny) on the theme of the day and the audience are welcome to debate with the guests after they have finished. Today’s theme was “belief” and our two guests, Alex Farrow and Alex Mason, gave interesting talks which we then argued about.

There is a list of each day’s theme outside the venue, so you can come prepared to debate on a particular subject. Apparently the Head of the Philosophy Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science is coming up to give one lecture. Given all the turmoil in British politics in recent times this show should provide some, ahem, lively discussion.

There are some laughs to be had, but mostly, Stand-Up Philosophy is recommended for those wishing to stimulate their intellect in the afternoon or looking for a good argument. Click Here For Article


FUNNY WOMEN PICKS OF THE EDINBURGH FRINGE

August 9, 2019   Funny Women

Article about About Time / Bully

FUNNY WOMEN PICKS OF THE EDINBURGH FRINGE

Selected by Becky Singh – Funny Women Awards Director Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Erich McElroy: Radical Centrist

In Radical Centrist, Erich McElroy delivers a hilarious look at the political tug of war going on around us, where both sides are vying to out-extreme each other. Being an American who has now become a British citizen, Erich is able to relay an outsiders perspective on both countries politics. He claims “everything is political now” and in his jokes shows how he is constantly battling to do the right thing in his daily life.

Erich McElroy is a bona fide comedian and his show is a guaranteed laugh. He speaks a lot about the differences in cultures between the US and the UK, and as an American, I agreed with his radical view on beans for breakfast. Erich told one joke about baseball which missed. I think it is difficult for UK people to get an image of baseball in their heads, and the joke felt out of place. But he made other astute observations about British customs and habits, which were appreciated by everyone in the room. He told hilarious and poignant tales about raising children in today’s political climate and he explains how even his choice of dog was a political act.

The show helped me examine my own political choices in a new way. Erich mentioned some of the common ideas amongst left leaning people, and it made me question whether I really thought that way or if I was just agreeing with my peers. I think Erich McElroy can help us look at our politics with a bit of humor, and this could be the first step to finding common ground with the other side. Click Here For Review


FUNNY WOMEN PICKS OF THE EDINBURGH FRINGE

August 9, 2019   Funny Women

Article about Gráinne Maguire: Guys... It's Problematic

FUNNY WOMEN PICKS OF THE EDINBURGH FRINGE

Picked by Becky Singh – Funny Women Awards Director. Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Socially Awkward Penguin

EMMY FYLES is “like a female Mr Bean”, wearing her onesie and holding nothing back as her show surrounds one central theme – social awkwardness.

What’s interesting about Emmy is that she is not a stereotypical stand-up comedian, she herself is socially awkward! Hence why for her being a comedian is fantastic because the conversation is “one-way”.

Emmy covers a vast range of topics from the lap dancing bars of Edinburgh, international leaders, her mother, weddings, Hollywood, social media, blind dates and many, many more.

She does this through a combination of her own witty humour and using a screen to display images and videos, the majority which she has self-produced.

Much of what she discusses is very relatable for young people, especially those who may not be the most confident in the world and who are prone to having socially awkward moments.

She comes across as a very down to Earth human being and warmed audience members with her humour.

Despite life’s difficulties, she chooses to be her best self and is bringing great joy to her guests at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Full Moon Cabaret

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    ShortCom

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

“If the show isn’t good, at least you get to sit down for 45 minutes” is a brave way to start a stand up comedy show. But, luckily Nick Elleray doesn’t have to worry about handing in a poor performance as his relaxed storytelling transcends the usual stand up fare. Detailing his life in vivid, and hilarious detail about his overtly masculine childhood, Rolling Stones obsession, and foibles as he traverses modern living. Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Losing My Mindfulness

Mindfulness instructor breaks down under the pressures of a coercive relationship in Katie Jane McLeod’s comedy theatre piece.

The mindfulness workshop taking place in Cabaret Voltaire’s sweaty cinema room each afternoon is, conversely, not very relaxing. Our workshop leader (Katie Jane McLeod) is mid-crisis, visibly breaking down before our eyes. Although she’s preaching mindfulness mantras at us, she’s in torment herself. A controlling boyfriend has her doing all the housework, managing the finances, buying him expensive gifts, lending him money, neglecting her family and friends, all in support of his DJing ‘career’, and she’s fielding calls to sort all this, for fear of him, while trying to do her day job in HR. As we learn, it’s based on painful personal experience.

It’s a strong concept and McLeod acts the part well – manic in places, obviously stressed and furiously fighting to hold it all together. There’s a touch of Jessica Hynes’ Siobhan about her (from Twenty Twelve / W1A) and the odd Brentian moment too. Click Here For Review


MARTHA MCBRIER talks about bringing HAPPINESS BULLY to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

August 9, 2019   West End Wilma

Article about Happiness bully

MARTHA MCBRIER talks about bringing HAPPINESS BULLY to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Glaswegian cussing, crowd work extraordinaire MARTHA MCBRIER is the Queen of the Free Fringe. Her show at this year’s festival launches a campaign against the perennial HAPPINESS BULLY in her hard-hitting and hilarious show about suicide, country music and not smiling just because the office idiot told you to cheer up. Ahead of the show’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival run, she talks to West End Wilma.

... Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019   British Comedy Guide

Article about Happiness bully

Martha McBrier talks about country music and how suicide might be the last taboo Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019   Squirrel Comedy

Article about Everyone Dropped Out of My Sketch Troupe

Ah, the danger of having to think up your show title in January. We may not get a sketch show from Mary Flanigan but we do see some solid and hilarious stand up. Mary is a Catholic from Belfast, who now resides in Birmingham.

Mary gives us just under 45 minutes of stand-up comedy gold. She talks about the joys of online dating, being Irish, being a Catholic (and all that lovely guilt), being single, her exciting job and much more. There is some swearing (of course), but this shouldn’t offend anyone and you’d be a fool to miss this show. In fact, the show was so popular that people were being turned away on day two. Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of All Together Irish Again

If you’re Irish and feeling homesick I strongly suggest you head down to Dropkick Murphy’s for a pint of the black stuff and the free show, All Together Irish – which is showing twice a day, and will introduce you to some of Ireland’s top comics and some international guests.

Saturday’s show featured Conor Drum, Rory O’Hanlon, Colin Chadwick, Anna Clifford and the self-proclaimed Irish Ed Sheeran, Fred Cooke.

The room was packed full, and the audience clearly agreed, or at the very least were very amused at the numerous jabs at the Belfast accent – apparently it is very unsexy (I take serious offence).

Overall this show promises a hilarious hour of comedy, and it is well worth the watch whether you’re Irish or not.

Plus you can’t argue with the price (there isn’t one).

... Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Eleanor Conway: You May Recognise Me From Tinder

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Aaaaaaaaaaaaah, It's 101 Clean Jokes in 30 Minutes

Masai works 11 months as a care worker to save up his annual leave to bring huge smiles to the faces of those in Edinburgh every August and he certainly did not disappoint.

His style of comedy is cracking short puns and one liners however these are not randomly plucked out, he manages to tell an entire story in a short space of time during his 101 joke shows.

From 2014 to 2016 he was in the top ten best jokes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in 2016 he won the award for best joke. He covers a very wide and extensive range of topics including family, work, teaching, charities, celebrities and football. And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg.

His engagement with the audience is first class, consistently coming to the audience for them to choose a number for him to tell a joke, and every time the fully packed audience – especially the one that chose the number for the joke – are left in stitches.

He even invited an audience member on stage for a very interesting and memorable comedy sketch.

The inevitable question arises: what is better – clean jokes or naughty jokes? The truth with these two shows is that the performances by Masai Graham are to an incredible standard.

This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to answer that question.

Masai Graham’s shows truly are up there with the best that the Fringe has to offer – and it’s free! Click Here For Review


August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrgh, It's 101 Naughty Jokes in 30 Minutes

Masai works 11 months as a care worker to save up his annual leave to bring huge smiles to the faces of those in Edinburgh every August and he certainly did not disappoint.

His style of comedy is cracking short puns and one liners however these are not randomly plucked out, he manages to tell an entire story in a short space of time during his 101 joke shows.

From 2014 to 2016 he was in the top ten best jokes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in 2016 he won the award for best joke. He covers a very wide and extensive range of topics including family, work, teaching, charities, celebrities and football. And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg.

His engagement with the audience is first class, consistently coming to the audience for them to choose a number for him to tell a joke, and every time the fully packed audience – especially the one that chose the number for the joke – are left in stitches.

He even invited an audience member on stage for a very interesting and memorable comedy sketch.

The inevitable question arises: what is better – clean jokes or naughty jokes? The truth with these two shows is that the performances by Masai Graham are to an incredible standard.

This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to answer that question.

Masai Graham’s shows truly are up there with the best that the Fringe has to offer – and it’s free! Click Here For Review


August 9, 2019    Deadline News

Review of 101 Comedy Club

Picture BBC’s “Live at the Apollo” – the comedians coming on one by one to do short stand-ups in front of a live audience. 101 Comedy Club is exactly like that, but without any flashy entrances.

In the little venue of the Hanover Tap, comedians from across the Fringe Festival each do stand-up pieces to try and convince the audience to come to their individual shows. It’s very much a “try-before-you-buy” sort of show. First up was John Pendel, Nicole Harris, Paul Jennings and Mat Wills.

Wills opened the show by playing with the audience a little, poking fun at the people in the front row and laughing at his own jokes along with everyone else. He then invited the acts on the stage, one by one, to do their pieces and make everyone laugh, which they did.

For anybody thinking about seeing a comedy show, but isn’t sure about which one to choose, going to the 101 Comedy Club might be the best idea. It’s completely free, audiences can get a feel for comedians and their performances and it’s a good laugh... Click Here For Review


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about A Booklover's Comedy Show

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


50 UNMISSABLE SHOWS AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE 2019

August 9, 2019   To Do List

Article about Japanese Sweet Wasabi: No Mask Required!

50 UNMISSABLE SHOWS AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE 2019

 Click Here For Article


14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

August 9, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about Louise Leigh Identifiable

14 of the best free Fringe shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival - including top-rated comedy

 Click Here For Article


August 9, 2019   Squirrel Comedy

Article about Polenta and Sage Take to the Stage

This show is only on for five nights, and it’s away from the main venues (take the 23 or 27 bus to Tollcross), but it is well worth making the trip to see this perky pair telling us all about their lives, bedtime routines and dreams. Polenta and Sage wear brightly patterned pyjamas and nightgowns and have some entertaining props (including a very special robot). There are some very creepy yet upbeat songs and being very much on brand, we all get to have some yoghurt (Yum!).

Polenta & Sage were confident throughout the show in both their wonderful scripted material and clever ad libs using some audience suggestions. They had a number of well placed props which worked well until they found that one of their bags had a hole in it and was empty (or was that part of the show?). I had a ball and felt this sterling surrealism deserves a longer run near the centre of the Fringe action.

The audience were very vocal in their appreciation and I can only forsee big things in the future of these two young ladies. Part of the Free Fringe, so remember to bring a fiver to support this talented duo. Click Here For Article


August 8, 2019    Deadline News

Review of Johnny Depp: A Retrospective On Late-Stage Capitalism

Co-writers and directors Val Dunn and Jenna Kuerzi present a funny, smart and highly improvisational take on the legacy of one of cinemas most iconic Hollywood heartthrobs.

In a small back room, reflecting the shows improvisational, minimalist aesthetic, Johnny Depp takes you on a journey through his filmography. The audience is forced to witness the star’s self-aggrandizing take on everything from 21 Jump Street to Alice in Wonderland 2and beyond. Audiences should come prepared to join in as Johnny also needs a little help in bringing his career retrospective to glorious life.

Johnny Depp: A Retrospective on Late Stage Capitalism is both exactly what you’d expect it to be and also something else entirely.

... Click Here For Review


August 8, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Happiness bully

Martha McBrier is a mad little maverick mistress of mirth. I’ve never seen anything quite like her. The over-riding feeling I got while watching her in action was that of a one-woman Under Milkwood set somewhere in colloquial Glasgow. There were wee twists of audience participation, but most of the show was a one-way dramatic monologue of sorts, which is different from a comedian telling a joke, & its appreciation as an audience member depends very much on our performer’s abilities. Martha has the ability, that’s clear, she’s a bubbly & amenable soul, but what of her ‘drôle matériel’?

Her theme, & title, is an admonishment of the ‘Happiness Bully’, those ‘cheer-up’ pushers of positive emotions who you just want to punch in the face when you’d prefer to be stewing in your own moody juices. While flyering, her target demographic, she tells is, are ‘miserable lookin fuc£ers!’ So asking them to see the show is quite hypocritical really, but I’m just nit-picking there, sorry. She’s very much a mixed bag is Martha, one minute snappily observing Humanity with a wry smile & a cutting line, the next getting a bit lost in the absence of presence during the act of transplanting creativity into our minds. Her routine was, well, routine, but her lilting diction is a pleasure to hear, & the oral mini-documentary about her life is most entertaining. Click Here For Review


August 8, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Full Moon Cabaret

A fun night like no other.

Imagine an illicit cabaret club in a seedy basement in Berlin. Smoky, sexy and thoroughly disreputable. Everything is Bob Fosse – Joel Grey is the MC, Liza Minnelli is the lovely Sally Bowles, chanteuse, comedienne and general sex goddess. Then imagine this scene of delicious debauchery transported to an equally hot and sweaty basement in Lothian Road in August and you have the tour de force of cabaret burlesque entertainment which is the phenomenal Full Moon Cabaret, brought to you all the way from Berlin itself by the its irrepressible compere – Viva Lamore.

A million miles away from blander Las Vegas-style showgirl burlesque, Full Moon Cabaret is a gritty, disgraceful and shamelessly rude celebration of flesh and human vices. From the rubber limbs of the twisted Roy Tracey – contortionist stripper and circus supremo – through the Hula Hoops rotations of Anya Askew, and the incredibly beautiful and highly inventive dance of burlesque queen, Arabella Twist – tonight performing a haunting Frida Kahlo routine – this cabaret is a non-stop procession of jaw-dropping performance art and beautiful bodies.

Whereas it’s unfair to single out any member of this irrepressible ensemble, a tiny bit of special praise must be meted out to the stunning ‘dirty blues’ vocals of Nicole Smit who, with seance-like ability, brings back the spirits of Bessie Smith and other dead divas, specialising in their more underground material with lyrics like “I need a hotdog between my buns,” and other much ruder innuendos.

There are drinking games and theatrical tableaux, dancing girls and boys and dirty jokes and irreverent pantomime. It’s fun night like no other and even concludes with the infamous “mooning contest” where audience members can bare all to compete for a half-price cocktail – your reviewer was beaten hands down by a lady in a lurex dress! – and is a fitting end to any hot summer’s evening at the Fringe. Click Here For Review


The funny jobs Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedians did before getting into comedy

August 7, 2019   ITV.COM

Article about Happiness bully

The funny jobs Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedians did before getting into comedy

 Click Here For Article


Emergency Questions - What is your favourite anagram?

August 7, 2019   Chortle

Article about Happiness bully

Emergency Questions - What is your favourite anagram?

My favourite anagram is I’m Eric Barthram which is an anagram of my name, Martha McBrier. This was the title of my Fringe show in 2011 which I performed as Eric Barthram, ie. a man. I had a beard and everything. This turned out to be an unintentionally seminal work, as in later years other female comics on the Fringe performed as men. This will always be my favourite anagram as like so many performers I am an egocentric fuck. Martha McBrier, Happiness Bully, Counting House, 19:15 Click Here For Article


August 7, 2019    Fest

Review of Madame Chandelier's Rough Guide to the Opera

Whether you're a seasoned opera-goer or a complete newbie to the art form, Madame Chandelier's Rough Guide to the Opera has something for you. In this 45-minute five act performance, standup soprano Delea Shand provides a crash course in some of the most-loved opera plots, performing her take on their best-known arias and providing anecdotes from her own life and opera career in between.

The arias are where Shand shines. City Cafe's nineties room may be small, but she fills it with her voice, breaking between lines to give her take on the plot (The Magic Flute is from Mozart's misogynistic phase), or asides about operatic technique such as the Queen of the Night's "opera shouting", while in La Bohème we experience "opera coughing". The two are not dissimilar.

Shand easily involves her audience in the show, trusting some with instruments to accompany costume changes, playing an opera drinking game with "expensive cheap champagne" and ending with help from some spectacular backing dancers. Her open nature makes it easy to join in the fun... Click Here For Review


August 7, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Adventures in Dementia - Steve Day

 Click Here For Review


August 7, 2019    One4Review

Review of Jenny Collier: The Jen Commandments

Most of this show is your basic common-or-garden stand-up; nothing fancy, just solid material delivered by an experienced performer. Where Ms Collier lights up – and to which her audience respond with burgeoning enthusiasm – is in discussing, in blunt and uncompromising terms, sex, poo, and periods. Usually, though not always, as three separate topics. Ms Collier definitely has a penchant – and a talent – for talking about things in a manner both entirely relatable, and which makes you go, oh, squick. I palpably felt around half of the audience freeze during a particularly juicy anecdote about periods, and the other half laughed.

The show is a riff on some life-coach advice Jenny once read, which ties things nicely together and provides a vehicle for the funny. She demonstrates her crowd work credentials before the show-proper, and deals amusingly with the inevitable sound-bleed from the venue next door. There’s a good pace of laughter throughout, with a finale which leans on Jen’s talent for goading an audience with grossness.

Solid stand-up from a comedian with a wicked glint. Click Here For Review


August 7, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Twat out of Hell: Deluxe

Yes, Gary G, get in my son! Nice one! Finally a comedian who I’m like, yes, that’s what I’m talking about. Well, what he’s talking about really, & its proper funny. A big-boned dandy fop with a beard, he personally gets the Henry VIII resemblance down straight away, & pops back to it from time to time through his set, which according to his catchphrase, never actually begins. I thoroughly recommend Gary to anyone knocking about round town in the late morning, for he fearlessly believes in his vision, that somebody can actually be as funny as he can!

Gary G Knightley could have been an opera singer, but has turn’d his lung capacity to instead taking a deep breath & unleashing 50 minutes of non-stop, brashy bold, direct & sparkly full tempo funniness on a crowd which just laps him up. Even those who are subjected to his dodgy line-crossing, which is like never cringeworthy, but I’m like in mi head, ‘come on brother!’ But he just gets away with it, he’s like a demolition ball flying through the room, wrapped in a rubber safety coating.

... Click Here For Review


Dave Chawner: Mental

August 7, 2019   ThreeWeeks

Article about Dave Chawner; Mental

Dave Chawner: Mental

The certifiably lovely Dave Chawner (yes, we are fans) heads back to edfringe this year with a show about mental health.

I’m always really admiring of performers who manage to approach serious issues from a comical perspective. And it’s a topic Dave has broached before in his stand-up, plus he’s written a book about his recovery from anorexia. So we’re curious to see what approach he takes in ‘Mental’.

No surprises – then – that I arranged a chat, to find out more.

CM: Okay, let’s start at the beginning: I think the title might be a bit of a clue, obviously, but can you explain what ‘Mental’ is all about?
DC: Yes, the clue is literally in the title. It’s a show about mental health, rather than mental illness. I was a guest on ‘The Today Programme’ on Radio 4 and the researcher called me and said “I’m really excited to talk to you because I don’t have any mental health”. That made me laugh. We all have mental health. One in four of us has mental illness, but four in four of us has mental health. Why do we only talk about illness rather than well-being, why do we always talk about the negative rather than the positive? I want to change that. Good mental health is amazing, it’s something everyone deserves. I wanted to use comedy as a fun, engaging and creative way to get that across

CM: What themes do you explore through the show?
DC: Emotional regulation, mental awareness, public health literacy and coping mechanisms… but don’t worry it’s not as dull, dry and boring as it sounds, I talk about Ant & Dec for a bit so it’s not all heavy!

CM: So, it’s clear you feel that comedy is useful when talking about mental health: can you explain the how and why?
DC: Comedy is the perfect tool to talk about mental health because when people are laughing they have to be listening, and when they’re listening they can learn. I want to use that in order to reach people who have experience of mental illness, so that they can realise they are not alone, but also to reach out to people who have never even thought about mental health, and to educate them in a fun and creative way.

... Click Here For Article


The 30 funniest jokes and one-liners from the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe

August 7, 2019   The Telegraph

Article about Rob Oldham: Worm's Resolve

The 30 funniest jokes and one-liners from the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe

Rob Oldham: I turned 24 last week. Pythagoras was 22 when he worked out the lengths of a right angled triangle for the first time. I covered that in Year Six, so I’m doing pretty bloody well. Click Here For Article


August 7, 2019    The Scotsman

Review of Charmian Hughes: What-not

Charmian Hughes is a masterful storyteller.

... Click Here For Review


The 30 funniest jokes and one-liners from the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe

August 7, 2019   The Telegraph

Article about Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

The 30 funniest jokes and one-liners from the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe

Olaf Falafel: I'm addicted to smoking jackets – I'm on 20 a day – I've tried the patches but, if anything, they just make them more fashionable. Click Here For Article


August 7, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Snack Chat

At some point in the recent Irish past, accidentally or by fate, two comedy comets collided at a gig, & have been fused together since. Eddie Mullarkey and Mag’s McHugh have brought a show to Edinburgh called Black Sheep, which according to Eddie is all about bringing, ‘some levity to the mental health discussion, laughing at yourself is the best therapy as Freud said. Together the two of us are bringing two very different life stories, Mags is in her 50’s and grew up a devout catholic. I’m in my 20’s and grew up with porn on a mobile phone. Different realities. Different struggles, different anxieties.’ On top of this, they have also committed to a vision called Snack Chat – with a 10AM start – yes, that’s right 10 AM.

Breakfast with the Black Sheep can be found in one of the City Café vencubes, & begins with mistress cheeky-smiles herself, Mags, dishing out yum-yums & sausage rolls from Greggs down the flowery brooks of her generosity. Then came the comedy, & my first experience of the slick, fun to be around, tracksuit-topped blue-eyed bard of Tuatha de Danaan, Eddie Mullarkey is one of those comedians who you laugh, or at least grin inanely, at whatever he does. He’s the MC for three comedians – typical floor-spot fare – & each morning there will be a different line-up drawn from the increasingly narrowing pool of comedians willing to get up before mid-day. Apparently Mags sometimes MCs as well, so they’ll always keep mixing it up. For my own visit, a large group of teenage Italian English language students from Ferrara were in, which our three guest comedians handled to varying shades between competency & bewilderment – great fun to watch!

Snack Chat is an extremely informal session, whose most important and essential parts are its early start & relative sobriety of gusts & performers. Most people across the planet are buzzing with energy in the morning, & you can really feel that kinda freshness in the room. With the line-up changing each day, the quality will always be different, so I’m gonna mark the concept, which is at the end of the day – or rather the beginning – a proper tidy way to start the day. Its perfect for folk checking out of their digs & have a couple of hours to wait for their train. Click Here For Review


August 7, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Black Sheep

Ireland’s Mags McHugh and Eddie Mullarkey form a motley dichotomous pair who find fantastic humour in their differences and how they each fit into the world. Black Sheep is intimate stand-up which triumphs at making the audience feel as though they are in on the joke. From a comfortable settling down, an almost constant snigger accompanied the show. The individual jokes were funny but it felt as though there was a larger, underlying gag – one which took the piss out of everything.

McHugh and Mullarkey are talented and charming in their own right, but the show’s appeal lies in their unusual bond. They obviously have a deep respect for one another, and it would have been nice to see more of their compelling chemistry on stage. They deliver most of the show as individuals, and it struck me as a missed opportunity for more unique comedy as a duo. If they could pull off a whole back-and-forth style set, it could be really quite special.

Their potential as a committed double act doesn’t lessen the success of the current format. McHugh is a refreshingly peculiar and assured character; her fearlessness is both inviting and challenging. Mullarkey presents as a cheeky-chappy, class-clown type, but has a warmth in his eyes that gives away his compassionate wit. As we filtered out, both made a point of shaking each audience member’s hand which was a pleasant end to what had been a conversational show. You leave feeling as though you’ve just been to lunch at your bizarre but loved Irish family friends’ house. Click Here For Review


August 6, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Sam See: Coming Out Loud

It's a fact of life that any standup on the Fringe who is neither white nor straight is likely required to spend at least part of their show addressing it. Sam See – working the room in a muggy Attic, immediately gaining some audience traction by offering to lightly spray them with cool water – is no exception. That said, he does appear to understand how being a gay stand-up from Singapore is a definite USP.

There’s real steel in his comedic bones.

Singapore, it turns out, doesn’t really "do" Human Rights that well, famously once described as "Disneyland with the Death Penalty". It's a country where a man, publicly declaring themselves on stage to be homosexual, genuinely risks arrest, imprisonment and large fines. Given how See likes to discuss his sexuality on stage (talk about what you know, right?), he has had to often officially "pretend" he's gay, even though he and everyone watching him knows it's the truth. This may help explain why, on seeing an audience member taking notes, he has to remember they’re a critic, not a government inspector.

Lee comes across as honest, clever and (at the risk of being condescending) endearing. (Sexy too, especially if you like bow-ties.) But that doesn't mean he’s a push-over; there’s real steel in his comedic bones. There has to be: while it may be entertaining to learn about the full reach of police powers in Singapore when it comes to stage magicians, See doesn't shy away from the darker consequences of such laws and social traditions. Yes, he may detour for comedic affect into now "traditional" subjects for an Fringe show (Grindr and dating, for example) but never gratuitously.

... Click Here For Review


An Interview with Erich McElroy

August 6, 2019   The Mumble

Article about Erich McElroy: Radical Centrist

An Interview with Erich McElroy

Where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Seattle originally, but I’ve been in the U.K. since 2000 and
currently live in the mean streets of Kingston upon Thames.

When did you first develop a passion for comedy?
It started right after I moved to London. Comedy was in every function
room in town back then. Then the recession hit and the circuit slowed
down a lot. That’s when I started being a full-time comedian. In comedy
timing is everything.

What are the differences between a British comedy audience & an
American?
I have never really performed in the US as a stand-up. I started here
and gigged here – British audience are great. Feisty, a bit drunk, and
demanding.

... Click Here For Article


August 6, 2019    Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

“Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, Nick Elleray quotes from his favoured Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser which immediately sets the tone for what to expect.

Big Nick Energy starts humbly – Elleray setting up his own mic in the attic of the Counting House. No glamorous entrance. No booming voice introducing performer to stage. It wasn’t necessary as Elleray is the average Joe who’s ready to make you laugh at the world.

A practitioner of meditation, Elleray’s show is an invitation to his own self-assessment. He delves into analysing the negative aspect of himself: anger issues, restricting masculinity, and his disappointment in his beloved Rolling Stones. Elleray represents a man of his era who struggles to get his head around modern-day life.

But the show is far from doom and gloom. Elleray is a positive pessimist that takes life in his stride. Using himself as a catalyst, the show gives its audience the ability to laugh at societal pressures – even if just for this moment. Big Nick Energy is a brilliant blend of jokes observing the good and bad sides people can possess, all while Elleray effortlessly flows through the set. Even if life wasn’t meant to be easy as Fraser suggests, Elleray sure makes it more bearable. Click Here For Review


August 6, 2019    One4Review

Review of Shut it down Carol

Mr Hedges presents as a genuine, lovely, and humane comedian. He checked if it was okay to ask people direct questions. He told stories about people in his family, but never with mean intent. Mr Hedges does long-form comedy, a long narrative with diversions and interludes for context and background and additional colour. At the core of his comedy, Mr Hedges is a fabulous storyteller.
On stage, Mr Hedges seems entirely comfortable, though on this occasion perhaps a little (unnecessarily) worried about how the show would float on a smaller audience. Some people were clearly in the wrong room, but those who weren’t found enough to laugh at and the rest to enjoy.

As should be expected from a story-teller, Edd has the pacing and tone nailed, able to generate a cloud of tension and then eviscerate it with a punchline. His stories are down-to-earth and really quite relatable – it’s unlikely everyone’s got a mum who’s done what his has, but every family has some odd stories that will pass into legend (or have already).

He talks fast, so pin back your listening ears, but this is an endearing comedian telling great stories. Click Here For Review


August 5, 2019    Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

“Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, Nick Elleray quotes from his favoured Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser which immediately sets the tone for what to expect.

Big Nick Energy starts humbly – Elleray setting up his own mic in the attic of the Counting House. No glamorous entrance. No booming voice introducing performer to stage. It wasn’t necessary as Elleray is the average Joe who’s ready to make you laugh at the world.

A practitioner of meditation, Elleray’s show is an invitation to his own self-assessment. He delves into analysing the negative aspect of himself: anger issues, restricting masculinity, and his disappointment in his beloved Rolling Stones. Elleray represents a man of his era who struggles to get his head around modern-day life.

But the show is far from doom and gloom. Elleray is a positive pessimist that takes life in his stride. Using himself as a catalyst, the show gives its audience the ability to laugh at societal pressures – even if just for this moment. Big Nick Energy is a brilliant blend of jokes observing the good and bad sides people can possess, all while Elleray effortlessly flows through the set. Even if life wasn’t meant to be easy as Fraser suggests, Elleray sure makes it more bearable. Click Here For Review


August 5, 2019    The List

Review of Nick Elleray: Big Nick Energy

 Click Here For Review


August 5, 2019    The List

Review of Chris McGlade- 'Forgiveness'

How laughter helped with a family trauma

How do you ever process and get over the murder of your father, let alone forgive the perpetrator of the crime? That's the question Chris McGlade grapples with in his intimate new show, where he helps the audience get to know the man he knew as his father through a series of anecdotes about their life together, before detailing the aftermath of his brutal murder, and how his life has changed since.

McGlade begins by regaling us with tales of his early life in multicultural, 1970s Middlesbrough, where English and immigrant families lived, worked and laughed side by side. With an attitude inherited from his father, McGlade doesn't care about political correctness and several of his jokes sit uncomfortably given that we're not used to hearing certain language in our sanitised culture these days. But that's exactly the point he's trying to get across.

Laughter is the thread that runs through McGlade's show, and is how he got through this trauma so that he could forgive not only the murderer, but also his father, mother and, ultimately, himself. It's an introspective and thoughtful hour which isn't filled with thick-and-fast laughs, but McGlade is an assured performer and an engaging storyteller. He leaves you thinking about societal issues and whether there's anyone or anything we need to forgive in our own lives. Click Here For Review


August 5, 2019    Three Weeks

Review of Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

Olaf Falafel is a self-confessed idiot. He likes to milk an introduction, he likes a good whirl and he sweats buckets during this effervescent performance. It’s safe to say his shows are rammed with eccentric, absurdist behaviour, if a little predictable at times. ‘Knitting With Maracas’ doesn’t actually feature such a prop, but it is prop-heavy, which massively aids the Swedish comic’s stupendous exhibition of crowd interaction... Click Here For Review


August 4, 2019    The List

Review of Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting With Maracas

Ridiculous ride into family-friendly silliness

Olaf Falafel is back and as daft as ever. This year we're all on an international space station with the crowd good-naturedly playing along. The catering staff choose a cheese for the sandwiches, Patricia (possibly not his real name) on the front row is captain and there's an engineer in the second row.

But who would not get involved? This tall, endearing Swede sells his childlike nonsense to us with aplomb, plus his audience interaction is of the most gentle kind. In this early show of the run, the energy dips a touch halfway through but is soon cranked up again, with many big laugh-out-loud moments featuring cats and bagpipes while the human factory reset button is revealed.

It's a bonus that it's family-friendly, though as Falafel points out, the kids might struggle with the references to Phil Collins or MC Hammer (who is working in the art gallery), plus there's a cheeky interactive bit where they might learn a new phrase. Elsewhere there's the return of Biscuitology personality predictions in a cunning new form and the philosophy shopkeeper is on hand for some wise words. A magical ride into the ridiculous. Click Here For Review


Three To See 2019: Storytellers

August 4, 2019   Three Weeks

Article about Borne Of Chaos

Three To See 2019: Storytellers

Respected Fringe veteran – award winning, Lecoq-trained, all round human of brilliance Eric Lampaert – is the storyteller behind this show, and it’s his own, very personal story. This is a performance that walks the line between theatre and comedy, exploring hallucination, anxiety, depression, mental health hospitals and tales of escape, hypnotherapy, public shaming, near-death experiences and a constant drug-free state of Euphoria. “From the tomb of the womb to the womb of the tomb. From homeless to Hollywood. This is an honest retelling of Eric Lampaert’s trials and tribulations from birth to now and how he made it from the streets to cinema. Eric is finally a strong enough performer to share his story”. Click Here For Article


Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

August 4, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about CeilidhKids at the Fringe - Free!

Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

Living in Edinburgh means that you’ll need to know your Dashing White Sergeant from your Virginia Reel, so you might as well start your kids education early with a free family ceilidh workshop this Fringe.

CeilidhKids are hosting 45 minute workshops most mornings during the festival at Laughing Horse at The Counting House on West Nicolson Street in Newington.

Perfect for children aged 3-7 years with parents or carers but everyone can get involved, regardless of age or ability. If you've ever been the person that's had to stand awkwardly at the side of the dance floor during a wedding, this one's for you. Click Here For Article


West End Wilma

August 4, 2019   West End Wilma

Article about Happiness bully

West End Wilma

Interview about 'Happiness Bully' Click Here For Article


August 4, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Eleanor Conway: You May Recognise Me From Tinder

A remarkable show that mixes great humour with resonating personal experience.

Even before the show begins, Eleanor Conway takes total charge of the situation. She begins a full-capacity show by chaperoning audience members to their seats, scanning the horizons of Maggie’s Chambers for the coveted spare chair. Such a packed room already promises something memorable. Once everyone is sitting down – and she has roundly mocked everyone who had to be turned away – she begins. Free comedy can be hit and miss, but Conway is hit after hit after hit.

... Click Here For Review


August 4, 2019    The Mumble

Review of Wit & Mirth

Later on the same day that Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert was reviewing David William Hughes’ Elizabethan, I went to see his second Fringe show at the Free Fringe Bar 50 venue. David is British, but teaches music in Boston, USA. An Egon Spengler of the showbiz world, we enter a cocktail lounge of musical archeology, delving into the seventeenth century & elsewhere for classy little nuggets of song. Luckily its beer-o-clock, & David has a knack of getting the crowd singing & clapping along, & its all jolly good fun... Click Here For Review


August 4, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Louise Leigh Identifiable

Mild-mannered mainstream hour about middle-class motherhood.

Louise Leigh is that classic comedy triple (not-really-much-of-a-)threat: middle-class, middle-aged and, it’s fair to say, middle-of-the-road. Hers is a safe and familiar style, but Identifiable is none the worse for being, well, identifiable. Leigh’s a polished, sparky performer, able to energise a room, even a sweaty Counting House Loft at 10.30 in the morning, with routines on motherhood, self-image and knocking on a bit.

The two pillars of her set are the two personas she has doing battle in her head. One is what she perceives to be the perfect mother and woman, a vlogger she calls Candida McHubris, with an irritatingly just-so life. We’ve already learned from a hilarious opening sequence what Leigh would like to do to people who call their children Clytemnestra, so we know there’s a tension between her envy and hatred of a woman like that.

... Click Here For Review


August 4, 2019   

Article about The Afterlife of a Soap Star

“It was brilliant! Well worth going to see...definitely one of my best fringe experiences and would recommend the show” Robin Haskins


Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

August 4, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about About Comedy: Stand-Up Comedy Courses

Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

Watched enough stand up at the festival to think that you could do better?

The Laughing Horse are hosting two-day intensive comedy training courses where professional comedians and writers will let you know all the skills and tips you need to get started on your new comic journey.

Once you complete the nine-hour course you get to try out everything you’ve learned in a graduation performance, so technically we suppose you could spend the rest of the year saying you did stand up at the Fringe. Click Here For Article


August 3, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Stealth Aspies – Aspies Anonymous

Neurodiverse performers offer insight into their daily struggles

Most of us are neurotypical. The most commonly accepted estimate in the UK suggests that one in a hundred people are autistic or as many prefer to be known, neurodiverse. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. The Stealth Aspies are Britain’s first entirely autistic theatre company. And based on this show alone, the world is a far better place for having this theatre company in it.

Most neurotypical people have some sort of perception of autism that may be shaped by someone you know or someone you’ve met. But one of the defining characteristics of autism is that the things one autistic person could struggle with may be completely different to the things another autistic person may struggle with. This show gives an outstanding insight into some of these things. And while that descriptor sounds dully didactic, this show is also smart, exceedingly funny, poignant and breathtakingly creative.

... Click Here For Review


August 3, 2019    The List

Review of Eleanor Conway: You May Recognise Me From Tinder

A singular and engaging performance about modern relations

Eleanor Conway greets her capacity crowd as they enter, methodically directing them to fill the various nooks and crannies of this spacious venue. As she segues into a warm-up act for her own show, it's clear that this comic is very eager to please others, even if one of the main themes running throughout this hour is a very determined pursuit of her own pleasure.

... Click Here For Review


Emergency Questions

August 3, 2019   Chortle

Article about Happiness bully

Emergency Questions

If your house was on fire what three items would you definitely leave behind?

I would let everything burn. Maybe then my landlord might decorate. Click Here For Article


15 Tempting Food Related Shows to Indulge In

August 3, 2019   Edinburgh Evening News

Article about In-Bread With Joseph Emslie (Work In Progress)

15 Tempting Food Related Shows to Indulge In

Comedian Joseph Emslie comes to the Fringe with a 45-minute work-in-progress show about life as a coeliac. Click Here For Article


August 3, 2019    Chortle

Review of Ben Van der Velde - Fablemaker

True to his Fablemaker title, Van Der Velde strings impressive webs from bare threads and has clearly found his forte. His throwaway jests at times reveal painfully astute observations. He’s part stand-up, part-cold reader, guessing professions, childhood details and relationship statuses.

... Click Here For Review


Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

August 2, 2019   Edinburgh Live

Article about CeilidhKids at the Fringe - Free!

Want to impress your pals? Here are five Fringe shows that will actually teach you something new

Living in Edinburgh means that you’ll need to know your Dashing White Sergeant from your Virginia Reel, so you might as well start your kids education early with a free family ceilidh workshop this Fringe.

CeilidhKids are hosting 45 minute workshops most mornings during the festival at Laughing Horse at The Counting House on West Nicolson Street in Newington.

Perfect for children aged 3-7 years with parents or carers but everyone can get involved, regardless of age or ability. If you've ever been the person that's had to stand awkwardly at the side of the dance floor during a wedding, this one's for you. Click Here For Article


Best Shows of 2019

August 2, 2019   Short List

Article about Best In Class

Best Shows of 2019

 Click Here For Article


August 2, 2019   Edfringe website

Article about I Fahrt Berlin: The Journey Continues

Flo McCarthy-Doig

A wonderful mixture between storytelling and comedy, this hour long show takes you from the States, to Eastern Europe, to Thailand and finally Berlin using linguistic wordplay, musical comedy, and wonderful descriptive style to tell the fascinating story of James Coon's life Click Here For Article


August 2, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Johnny Depp: A Retrospective On Late-Stage Capitalism

Travelling to Edinburgh all the way from the US, Val Dunn and Jenna Kuerzi present a show managing to totally embody the spirit of this fringe festival. Although Johnny Depp: A Retrospective on Late Stage Capitalism steers a little clear of the latter part of its own title, remarkable amounts of research and charming impressions make for a wonderful, certainly unique, start to the Fringe.

... Click Here For Review


August 2, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Grumpy Pants

Punkish Barcelona clown offers spectacular fun for kids

Francisco Vita (aka Kiki) is one half of the Barcelona based duo Las Cossas Nostra, known for their mix of physical theatre, comedy, clown and circus. Francesco and Amelia Cadwallader have toured the world with their work as well as performing on streets and stage. This year, they bring Kiki’s solo show, Grumpy Pants, to Edinburgh’s Free Fringe.

Playful accordion sounds waltz and skip in the space of the Free Sisters’ cavernous Gothic Room as the family audience takes their seat. On stage, Kiki’s props of metal hoops, glasses of blue liquid, a hat on a pole, and some blue balls silently intrigue.

... Click Here For Review


August 2, 2019   

Article about The Afterlife of a Soap Star

Saw this show just now, and it's well worth checking out! Very likeable performer, with a well-told story. Plus she was in Doctors! Tom Mayhew


August 1, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Girl Bully

Girl Bully is an hour of vindication for any woman who has ever been asked if we still ‘need’ feminism.

Warning—the first question you’ll be asked upon arriving at Rock Rising’s Girl Bully might invoke a mini existential crisis.

This is exactly the reaction Mary Clohan and Mary McDonnell are trying to inspire. What makes someone a bitch? How can one word have so many meanings? Is the multifaceted ‘bitch’ reflective of society’s demands on the female population to be every kind of woman at once, without ever being the right kind of woman? As McDonnell points out during the Gameshow sketch, “We can’t win.” Click Here For Review


An Interview with Black Sheep

August 1, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about Black Sheep

An Interview with Black Sheep

Eddie Mullarkey and Mag’s McHugh have teamed up
The result is emerald, comedy emerald!

Hello, so first things first, where are you both from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Mags: I was born Watford England. Irish parents from Co Mayo. Irish upbringing. So Irish Dancing (Not Riverdance standard) Holidays in Ireland . Never felt English whatever that is. Just wanted to marry Elton John. He married Renarta, I was devastated. In my 50’s now. I moved to Ireland to care for parents. My Dad loved comedy and lent me his chair. I still live in Dublin and for now it’s home.
Eddie: I’m from Galway in the rainy west of Ireland. I’m based in sunny Dublin.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Mags: People laugh at me when I’m acting normal. I’m bewildered really as I think a bit differently… I did stand-up as a wee break from minding my parents. I knew I could talk to people as I work in recovery and with groups. Comedy was a challenge.

... Click Here For Article


An Interview with Henry Churney and John Wilson

August 1, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about A Jewish Sexagenarian and a Liverpudlian Plumber walk into a bar ...

An Interview with Henry Churney and John Wilson

Henry Churniavsky and John Wilson, aka Dickie Dido – now that is a must-see comedy combo!


Hello lads, so first things first, where are you both from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Henry: We are both from Liverpool. I was born in Kirby & live in Liverpool. John lives on the Wirral.

When did you first realise you were funny?
Henry: I’ve always loved comedy. My father introduced me to the Goon show & American Jewish Comedy. I wrote appx 6/8 years ago 2 comedy sitcoms. 1 about a Jewish family & 1 about a Liverpool Hairdresser. It was only when I found out I could do a stand up course & I could do it.

When did you first develop a passion for comedy?
John: Growing up with a comedian in the Family (Al Dean) always inspired me, and of course being a teenager in the 80’s I had plenty of great comedy to draw from, it fascinated me. It took me a while to find my comedy chops but always wanted to pursue this amazing art form.

... Click Here For Article


3*

August 1, 2019    Mumble Comedy

Review of A Jewish Sexagenarian and a Liverpudlian Plumber walk into a bar ...

3*

There was something infinitely charming about the hour of comedy supplied by Henry Churney & John Wilson last night at the brightly modern venue that is The Place. A completely unpretentious affair, these two gentlemen exist in another sphere from the comedians who work the circuits, & so their brand of comedy is different also. For that, this was a very refreshing, almost transcendent, start to this year’s Fringe.

... Click Here For Review


An Interview with Gary G Knightley

August 1, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about Twat out of Hell: Deluxe

An Interview with Gary G Knightley

If anybody can be toooo funny, Gary G Knightley can!

Hello Gary, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I was born in Barking, East London and now live out in the countryside in a village called Knebworth in Hertfordshire. Until recently, I lived in Angel, Islington, just around the corner from the Bill Murray pub which is a great comedy venue.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
When I was 4 I had learned the “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke, and after repeating it to my Mum for hours, I forgot the punchline, panicked and said “because the Donkeys got no head”. My Mum nearly collapsed with laughter and I’ve been chasing that laughter ever since.

How did you get into comedy?
I have always enjoyed performing, and have a degree in Theatre Arts, quelle surprise! The course I did at Uni had a stand-up comedy module, and it hooked me. Due to the fact that I hate learning lines and find the restrictive nature of plays irritating, comedy was a natural option for me.

.... Click Here For Article


August 1, 2019    The Wee Review

Review of Martin Mor - Instigator

A traditional show brimming with life from one of the Free Fringe’s comedy figureheads

Kitted out in a green t-shirt with brown shorts, shoes and colourful socks, Martin Mor seems to have donned the archaeologist look as he excitedly ambles onto his stage. He is a colourful, welcoming figure throughout his latest show, Instigator. For 55 minutes full of shocking anecdotes and personal insight, Mor demonstrates an obsession with starting something different, instigating something new. Contrastingly, the comedy format feels anything but new, a familiar stand-up setting with one man and a mic (even if Mor thinks the stage area looks like a sex dungeon).

A comedy figurehead fizzing with excitement for life, Mor makes an effort to forge relationships with audience members while simultaneously delivering the goods.

... Click Here For Review


An Interview with Sarah Lee

August 1, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about Sarah Lee: Half A Man

An Interview with Sarah Lee

Legal wizard by day, comedy genius by night, welcome to the Fringe, Sarah Lee

Hello Sarah, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
North London, born-and-bred. I still live about mile from where I grew up. (The red side not the white and blue side, before you ask).

When did you first realise you were funny?
I was at a party about 10 years ago and a friend came over and said “if I ever need to find you I just follow the sound of laughter”. That made me pretty happy and changed my perspective on myself.

Can you tell us about your day job?
I’m a hot-shot lawyer in the city. That’s not a joke, actually. Basically, if I can’t solve your problems in my day job, I can help you forget about them in my night job.

... Click Here For Article


Q & A

July 27, 2019   Broadway World

Article about Happiness bully

Q & A

Me talking about talking about suicide in my show. Click Here For Article


My Favourite Comedian

July 24, 2019   Female First

Article about Happiness bully

My Favourite Comedian

 Click Here For Article


Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It

July 24, 2019   

Article about Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I know it

Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It

Comedian Eliott Simpson brings his show (a)sexy and I Know It to the Great Yorkshire Fringe prior to a run at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. The (a) is aptly placed, as Simpson’s show centres around his asexuality, and society’s response to this oft forgotten and misunderstood minority.

Simpson is an instantly likeable figure, bounding on stage enthusiastically in an Austin Powers style violet suit and waffle bowtie, and from that moment on the audience feels relaxed in his self-deprecating yet simultaneously self-assured company. Complete with props to aid his cheesy yet well-placed one-liners (plus running commentary of how much they set him back), and PowerPoint which largely serves to project various ‘dick pics’, the laughs just keep on coming. A section on the new-found gay romance between the Babadook and Pennywise the clown is a highlight.

As with any work in progress there are a couple of jokes that fall a bit flat (I’d skip the one about the Glaswegian comic’s advice), but by this point the audience are so in tune with Simpson that it doesn’t matter. Overall, he succeeds in finding the right balance between being both informative and hilarious, personal and universal, with a fominute show that is accessible and inclusive to members of the LGBTQIA community and its allies. Worth checking out in Edinburgh – with this ace show you can have your cake and eat it too.

(a)sexy and I Know It previewed at The Basement, York on the 23rd July 2019 as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. Keep up with Eliott and his gigs calendar here. Click Here For Article


Top LGBT Picks for The Edinburgh Fringe 2019

July 23, 2019   Vada Magazine

Article about Gay Not Straight

Top LGBT Picks for The Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Guest writers Carys Crossen and Jo Flynn give us their rundown of the best LGBT shows to catch at Edinburgh Fringe this year. Click Here For Article


Edinburgh Preview: Been There, Done That, Back & Doing It Again

July 22, 2019   Beyond The Joke

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Edinburgh Preview: Been There, Done That, Back & Doing It Again




There's a school of thought that the Edinburgh Fringe is a Young Person's Game. But actually in recent years it has become an older person's game too. Maybe they are the baby boomer generation who can afford to lose a few grand every August or maybe they just love the thrill of the Fringe and the art of stand-up. Whatever the reasons here are some comedians who know the game inside out and are the collective epitome of a safe pair of comedy hands. And no, they are not listed in descending order of chronology. We'll not be having any age before beauty here. Some of them might not be doing a full Fringe run, but at their age I think we can allow them a few days off.
Charmian Hughes was a regular on the comedy circuit, then she went off and did the sensible thing of bringing up a family so had to give the Fringe a wide berth for a while. Now that the family has grown up she has started returning to Edinburgh and is back this year with her latest show, entitled What-Not, about identity and more. Charmian self-identifies as a what-not, the word for people who don’t have a word. Bridget Christie says "I love Charmian Hughes'" and Christie has excellent taste. Click Here For Article


Buxton Festival Fringe 2019 Comedy Reviews

July 21, 2019   Buxton Fringe official wesbite reviews

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Buxton Festival Fringe 2019 Comedy Reviews

What-not. There are several definitions in the dictionaries, and it doesn’t matter which one you use. What it boils down to is its either a kind of shelf for ornaments or bric-a-brac; or it’s a minor, inconsequential thing, or in this case person.

A Buxton Fringe favourite, what Charmian brings us this year is a wander through the world of the human what-not, and it is full of surprises and inventiveness. Of course, life is going to be a struggle when you are seemingly inconsequential, and even more when your mother thinks you are a Nazi. How do you get around that life hurdle then? Well, without giving too much away . . . with some difficulty.

This is one of the best shows at this year’s Fringe if the audience reaction is anything to go by. Charmian had them from the off and didn’t let them go. A polished and accomplished show, and despite the fact that she is taking it to that other Fringe, we weren’t constantly told it.

Thank you for that, and thank you for a great show! There’ll be another performance tonight (Sun 21st) at the same venue. DON’T MISS IT!

Ian Parker Heath Click Here For Article


Comedy Writers Picks

July 18, 2019   The Skinny

Article about Best In Class

Comedy Writers Picks

 Click Here For Article


Review: The Presented at 59E59 Theaters

July 15, 2019    DC Metro Arts

Review of The Presented

Review: The Presented at 59E59 Theaters

A recurrent favorite at 59E59’s annual “East to Edinburgh” line-up, California native Chris Davis returns to New York with his latest original solo show The Presented, after debuting it last year in Philadelphia, where he is based, and before taking it to Scotland’s iconic Fringe festival in August. In it, he gives an extremely funny, poignant, and personal vision of what it’s like to be a “solo-y theater-y” indie artist, sardonically guaranteed to “make you never want to pursue a career in the arts.” But you’ll be oh-so thankful that he did.

Taking us on a whirlwind journey through his ever-active and brilliantly insightful mind, Davis conveys – in direct address to the audience and with frequent one-on-one interactions – the angst of being a theater artist, while working “a shit job” making popcorn at a movie theater. Under the direction of long-time collaborator Mary Tuomanen, he makes us see what he sees and feel what he feels through candid stream-of-consciousness revelations, visually perceptible descriptions, and expressive movements and mime, while going full circle from enthusiastic and energetic to enervated and disheartened and back again, all within the minimalist space of the black-box theater.

Throughout his wildly surreal imaginings, inventive ideas for his dream play (with high production values!), and nerve-wracking anticipation of auditions and meetings, Davis conjures haunting memories from his childhood and adolescence that foreshadow and parallel the fear and pain of rejection and negative criticism faced in his (and any artist’s) career, considers the pressure of struggling to remain authentic and independent while not earning enough income to pay the bills, and lauds the performers he admires (contemporary fringe artist Geoff Sobelle and 19th-century actress Adah Isaacs Menken – successful, but still largely unknown to the audience) for never selling out, when so many alternative festivals are now going for the big bucks, not the true fringe entertainment on which they were founded.

If there were ever any question that Chris Davis is THE quintessential fringe artist, The Presented proves beyond a doubt that he is. How much this extraordinarily talented, personable, and engaging artist can do with a bare stage, a dirty backpack, a simple voiceover (with an imposing announcement of “The Presented”), and a rightfully responsive audience is nothing short of astonishing and rave-worthy. He gets a rave from me. Click Here For Review


An Interview with Nathan Cassidy

June 4, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about Nathan Cassidy: Observational

An Interview with Nathan Cassidy

 Click Here For Article


Broadway Baby

May 27, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Simone Belshaw: Goblin & Fiends

Broadway Baby

"Dirty, absurd, damn fun" Click Here For Review


May 24, 2019   The Post and Courier

Article about I Am the Horrible Thing

What was supposed to be a celebratory getaway to Costa Rica for local improv comedian Greg Tavares and his wife quickly turned dark when Tavares decided to take on “monster-sized waves” on his stand-up paddleboard.

“I got worked by a wave,” Tavares said. “I got separated from my guide that was with me. I got separated from my board. I didn’t have a flotation device and I had to fight my way back in. I almost didn’t make it.”

Nearly three years later, Tavares still is traumatized by his near-drowning experience, he said. One thing that has helped him cope is telling his story in a new one-man show, “I Am the Horrible Thing,” which he workshopped at Pure Theatre in the spring of 2018.

This year he will be presenting the show as part of Piccolo Fringe at Theatre 99, before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

This show is an artistic departure for the 50-year-old improv comic, who gets deeply personal as he recounts his experience, sharing childhood memories of growing up in Hawaii. Being serious in front of an audience made Tavares a little uneasy.

“At first, I was kind of afraid that people would laugh during it because they would think I was supposed to be funny,” Tavares said.

While he admits there are some funny moments — such as the story of his father taking the family to a nudist beach — the show is, more than anything, about his “harrowing” brush with death.

It’s not the inspirational story audiences might expect.

“I tried to fly in the face of some of the stereotypes about the idea of a true-life, near-death experience,” he said.

Audiences will not hear Tavares talk about how flowers smell sweeter, or how one is supposed to view every day as if it’s the “best day of your life.” Nor will he ask patrons for sympathy.

“I’m embarrassed that I almost got myself killed,” he said.

“I Am the Horrible Thing” is Tavares’ “loving tribute to the ocean for not killing (him),” and a way to process the fact that he lived.

He did not let it stop him from getting back out into the ocean; Tavares still tries to paddleboard at least once a week, though he must fight through his fear. Returning to the water has been therapeutic, he said.

Writing and performing the show forced Tavares to revisit his trauma and also figure out how best to engage the audience.

“My job is to re-live it in a way that’s passionate, connected and feels like it’s happening,” Tavares said. “The funny thing is that people, when they see it, sometimes have told me they’re actually worried I’m not going to make it out.”

Spoiler alert: he does.

Madalyn Owen is a Goldring arts journalist at Syracuse University. Click Here For Article


If You Like Funny Dirty Standup You'll Like Jez Watts

April 20, 2019   Onya Mag Australia

Article about Absolute Zero: Jez Watts

If You Like Funny Dirty Standup You'll Like Jez Watts

In Jez Watts’ own words, “if you like funny, dirty stand up”, you’ll enjoy Absolute Zero.

In Watts’ MICF debut, he fuses punchy, gritty comedy with music and self-deprecating anecdotes like his $18,000 debt to his girlfriend.

Off the back of touring Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, Watts has put together a highlight reel of his best bits of the last four years for his Comedy Festival inauguration.

The former-soldier, -husband, -neuroscientist and -drug addict (his words) will have you at both times laughing and feeling concerned at his tribulations (of which there are many).

An ode to Reggie Watts in the form of an improvised song made on a loop station is a funny, musical reprieve from bits about crippling debt and being prescribed animal antibiotics.

Despite his seemingly gruff exterior, Watts has an earnest and genuine spirit, with a backstory that will leave you feeling happy to have bought a ticket (because the fee will go straight to paying off his debt). Click Here For Article


April 6, 2019    

Review of Object of Desire

"With a tripod, a clothes hanger and an overcoat, Cora Todd, an emerging Scottish performance artist creates a dark, humorous and unsettling performance that is unlike any other I've seen" M Sherin (Rose Bruford)



DTCB Adelaide Fringe review 2019

February 22, 2019   Clothesline Magazine

Article about Circus Sonas Presents: DTCB The Prison Years

DTCB Adelaide Fringe review 2019

Dirty Tattooed Circus Bastards: Dangerous And Hilarious… Just How We Love Our Circus! Clothesline Magazine ~ Adelaide Fringe 2019 Review Click Here For Article


Fringe Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 4 Stars

February 17, 2019    Glamadelaide

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

Fringe Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 4 Stars

A Booklover’s Comedy Show is the brainchild of stand-up comedian, George Dimarelos. A certified ‘Super Greek’ (pun on ‘Super Geek’, get it? get it?) Dimarelos opened the bill of rotating comedians with the observation that a bookshow in a wine centre couldn’t really get any douchier. Delivered with a good dose of self deprecation, the audience went with him and what followed was a fair whack of audience interaction as they offered up their opinions and reading recommendations for the best books of all time.

Dimarelos performed his own book related stand-up, and acted as the glue holding together a bunch of comedians tasked with performing bookish comedy. The line-up changes nightly, but on Saturday night, the audience was treated to skits from the Burger King Illuminati (BKI), witticisms from Sam Bowden, nerdy comedy from Alexander Richmond, and astounding improv rap from MC Hammersmith. All these comedians have their own Fringe shows and are all worth checking out.

Some of the performances had tenuous links to books (BKIs skit about the Gringotts Bank from Harry Potter was fab, but their second skit lost me) but most got it over the line. Sam Bowden controversially argued that the book is not always better than the movie (Lord of the Rings, anyone?) and Alexander Richmond made everyone feel slightly uncomfortable with lots of Lolita references. MC Hammersmith is straight from the ghettos of middle-class white England and could himself pass for an older Harry Potter, but wow can this guy improv rap. The audience offered up a list of random, and quite unusual words (literary crowd show offs!), which Hammersmith promptly turned into a rap. He then did similar incorporating objects owned by audience members. (I offered up the miniature Kinder Surprise hiding in my bag courtesy of one of my children and yes, he managed to work it in.)

This isn’t a big name show, but it was an awesome start to this reviewer’s 2019 Fringe season, and I do urge people to support lessor known performers. All the comedians in this line-up were great in their own ways, and ringleader George Dimarelos deserves a big high five for his ongoing energy, enthusiasm and ability to keep smiling through all those snotty heckles! Go along to see something a little more high brow and different than your average Fringe funnies, then go home and read a good book. Click Here For Review


Fringe World Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 5 stars

February 6, 2019    Dircksey Magazine

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

Fringe World Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 5 stars

From a song about grammar, to a Shakespearean play, to the world of erotic literature, George Dimarelos’ A Booklover’s Comedy Show has it all. With a compilation of talented comedians and avid book lovers, each performer brought their own unique take on the world of books to the stage.

The show’s producer and emcee for the night, George Dimarelos began the show by asking the audience what our favourite book was – a question for his end-of-tour book list that he will be sharing with us later. The humour of the night is generally topical with the occasional use of wordplay and literary innuendos. Dimarelos introduced us to the night’s 3 talented comedians, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Gillian English, and Pamela DeMenthe.

Louisa Fitzhardinge’s performance is perfect for lovers of literature and grammar. With puns like “a novel idea”, Fitzhardinge unveils the grammar nerd in us all. She performs multiple musical numbers, with her own song ‘The Rational Anthem’. Using the song ‘What A Wonderful World’, the audience held up flags which she sang persistently as she changed between German, Italian, English and AUSLAN (sign language). Fitzhardinge secures the audience’s attention and amazement with her creativity and multilingualism.

Having an extensive knowledge on all things Shakespeare, Gillian English surprises the audience with her comedic hatred of some Shakespeare classics by her re-enactment of an uncommon Shakespeare play. English’s hilarious interpretation of Shakespeare is definitely something I’d pay to see at the theatre. She also delves into Disney’s ideals on teenage girls and romance. Being my highlight for the night, English’s performance is feminism at its funniest.

As a “humble” author, Pamela DeMenthe speaks to the crowd as if we were all her dedicated fans at the book release for her novel, Sticky Digits. She begins with a story about her journey into the world of writing erotic fiction. Following this, DeMenthe offers the audience tips on writing erotic fiction; such as writing erotic fiction for your crush which she guarantees will “get their attention”. She finishes her performance by reading a chapter of her book, leaving the crowd wanting more.

I’ve never felt homier than surrounded by a crowd of book lovers enjoying some literary comedy. With a range of loosely book-related topics, this show is a must see this Fringe season for any bookworm. Each night, like any good book, is guaranteed to be a wonderful and unique experience. Click Here For Review


FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars

February 5, 2019    Fourth Wall Media

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars

FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars
February 5, 2019
Fourth Wall Media
Review | Kieran Eaton

I better get my grammar in check because show creator, George Dimarelos is a self-confessed book geek, though he first accidently-on-purpose says book ‘Greek’ a funny and charming way to show off his Greek ethnicity. Dimarelos might look the stereotype – glasses and twee clothing – but looks can be deceiving because he talks the talk. This makes me want to know more about him because he seems like an interesting guy, however, as the host of the show, we are left with glimpses only!

The premise is simple – three guest comedic book lovers, give an example of their bookish sense of humour. Each night has a different selection of acts and so if you like this concept, you can see this show multiple times and gain different perspectives on the world of books. The night I saw showcased Louise Fitzhardinge, Gillian English, and Pamela DeMenthe, all doing their own shows for FRINGEWORLD 2019.

Before bringing on each act, Dimarelos explains his love of books in a conversational manner and emphasises that it does not matter how many books you have read in a year, he won’t say anything but there may be internal judgement if you only say one! This gets plenty of laughs because he judges well that most of the crowd are book enthusiasts. However, like a book club the crowd can have differing opinions on a book and that is OK because Dimarelos says that he’ll just add an author or book to his reading list.

Fitzhardinge is the first of this bunch to be brought on and give a sample of her highly successful show, Comma Sutra. It is comedic cabaret all about grammar and her love of language, making it difficult to find the perfect lover. She is also multi lingual so also highlights that in song. English is next with banter about Shakespeare, and the age of Disney Princesses. It’s a bit of a glimpse into her solo show, She Wolf. Finally, DeMenthe goes into the making of an erotic fiction novel, called Sticky Digits (Also her FRINGEWORLD show title).

For those who want to embrace their inner introvert A Book Lover’s Comedy Show is a must see for you! Click Here For Review


Charmian Hughes: What-Not

January 22, 2019   Scoop News

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Charmian Hughes: What-Not

Charmian says ‘My whole life has been a muddle of cross identification. Through a series of accidents and coincidences, I was born German to an English family, brought up Catholic when they were Protestant and was an only child yet had five siblings. If that sounds like the clue to the riddle ‘What am I?’, the answer is ‘what-not’ and I am reclaiming that word as a proud identity.’ Click Here For Article


January 16, 2019   Scoop News

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Charmian Hughes – Soixante Mirth
Written and performed by Charmian Hughes
Bats Theatre, Wellington, 9:30pm nightly, until March 4.
Reviewed by Ewen Coleman Charmian has just turned 60 and decides to look back on her life and have a good laugh, hence the title of her show Charmian Hughes – Soixante Mirth.
The 1960s, when Hughes was growing up as a teenager in the UK, is also a major feature of her show.
But what makes this performer a class above most stand-up comedians is the original and innovative way she constructs her show. She goes back in time and encounters herself as a 10-year-old looking forward, before revisiting the dreams and aspirations she had at 14 and then again at 23, all hilariously told.
Full of confidence, with witty and erudite comments that are both funny yet profound, Charmian Hughes is a great entertainer not to be missed. Click Here For Article


Words is Words is Words

October 18, 2018    Surrey Advertiser

Review of A Talking Therapist's Blues

Words is Words is Words

Mindblowing!… hugely gripping, fabulously crafted poetry, borne from personal tragedy, a huge depth of experience, and personal development. Tess has presence and presents – she hand's you a gift: words that will dance beside you and haunt you long after you leave her space. Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards, Monaghan, 2014


Its raw. Its from the heart. It will enter your soul. Prepare to be bewitched.
Surrey Mirror, 18 October 2019.


DANGEROUS ADVENTURES

September 9, 2018   BBC Radio

Article about Dangerous Adventures

DANGEROUS ADVENTURES

"A thrilling story. A pivotal time...action-packed."


The Guardian's Best Shows at the Fringe

August 24, 2018   The Guardian

Article about Rob Oldham: Worm's Resolve

The Guardian's Best Shows at the Fringe

'A vivid snapshot of being young and half-alive in the 21st century...whets the appetite to see what Oldham will do next. Click Here For Article


Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018    Edmonton Journal

Review of Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

He might have left his Christian upbringing far behind, but Andrew Frank isn’t quite done with it yet.
The Missouri-born stand up still farms his formative years in the Bible Belt for material, and if you’re easily offended by pointed, hilarious commentary on fundamentalist dogma then you might want to think twice about attending his Fringe show, Macrocosm.
If not, you’ll enjoy his riffing on plenty of religious topics, with lengthy side excursions into American politics, Anne Frank, climate change, science, and probably the smartest (and longest, no pun intended) dick joke you’ll ever hear.
Bring a calculator and brush up on your physics if you care to call him out on it. Frank is a witty man, trading obvious jabs for sly observations, cerebral quips, and machine gun spitted declarations on the morality of the western world, and he’s not above razzing the audience for missing or being slow on a punchline.
Stay sharp if you decide to interact with him, but definitely do not miss out. Click Here For Review


Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here For Article


Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here For Article


Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here For Article


The best comedy show titles at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

August 3, 2018   British Comedy Guide

The best comedy show titles at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

 Click Here For Article


Review: Seven Inch

May 18, 2018    Upstaged

Review of Fat Roland: Seven Inch

Review: Seven Inch

Fat Roland is a comedic onslaught of musical puns, cultural references, and audience interaction. Taking place in a single, hand-scrawled, cartoonish set, the monologue leads the audience through a narrative centred around the trials and tribulations of being a record shop owner in the digital age. Throughout the performance, we’re guided through Fat Roland’s internal debate surrounding updating his shop to something more fashionable and millennial-friendly. Slop anyone?

Before the show even begins, the audience is fascinated by the set design, which is simple but complex, the black and white squiggles being plenty to look at before the spoken-word artist comes onto the stage. The bold shapes and thick outlines on the shop’s furniture are reminiscent of something that 80s Will Smith would have rapped in front of for a music video, giving the performance an air of nostalgia. Fat Roland works in unison with the unique set design, tying in the records titles on display with his narrative, utilising everything that was visible to the audience. Whilst the set doubles as props, Roland has his own collection of 2d drawings, including realistic photos of popular celebrities, ensuring that the jokes are perfectly supplemented throughout.

The sound design for the performance works well, as it’s synchronised with the narrative and Roland’s movements. From songs that complement specific pieces of the narrative, to an advertising piece that seems too eager to wait its turn, the sounds amplify the comedic effect of the overall show and stay true to Fat Roland’s previous career as a DJ. Fat Roland holds the show together with impeccably timed reactions to the sounds being played, provoking an impressive response from the audience.

A casual mood was upheld from start to finish, with the audience being invited to answer questions, participate in pieces of the narrative, and even look after some of the props. It is clear that Fat Roland is more than familiar with performance, knowing exactly how to get the room roaring with laughter, from start to finish.

To conclude, the show is a fantastic combination of comedy, cartoons, and creativity, and is great for those looking for something uplifting and entertaining throughout. The independent nature of the show gives it a refreshing, homemade feel that makes it refreshing and engaging.
 Click Here For Review


December 2, 2017   The Student

Article about Mother and the Monster

‘Mother and the Monster’ is the debut production of the newly formed Paradigm Lab, a new theatre company founded by recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh and student theatre veteran, Vlada Nebo who also serves as director. Paradigm Lab sets out to immerse audiences through experimental techniques of production and direction. For its first show Paradigm Lab has certainly set the bar high.

Inspired by the life true story of legendary costume designer Millicent Patrick; Rory Kelly’s script follows reclusive prop maker Charlotte performed (in a slightly exaggerated style) by Amelia Watson. Watson struggles to match the quick changing emotion of the script as her character guides the naïve protégé Polly through the toils of a male dominated industry and attempts to deal with the ‘Monster’.

The play certainly fulfils its goal to be a ‘feminist fairy tale’ with the contrasting personalities of the ambitious Lucy and cloistered Charlotte both struggling to defend the integrity of their work in male dominated creative industries – the younger Polly clearly represents the younger generations resistance to the pressures of the patriarchy. Sarika Mathur stands out as Lucy, managing to balance the paradoxical traits of excitability and rationality.

The cast work together in near perfect cohesion; Nebo’s direction is clever and dynamic, the transitions are seamless and energetically push the action forward despite a slightly slow start. The costume and set are relatively minimalistic, with the surrealism of the monster bringing a comedic edge to an otherwise frightening character.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of ‘Mother and the Monster’ is the way in which they use sound and light. Assembly Roxy is a relatively small theatre but the use of light makes the show even more intimate, narrowing us in on the action and making the audience feel incredibly close to the action on the stage (including me up in the Gods). Since the dialogue is incredibly quick witted the changes in light mirror and enhance this, echoing the feelings of the characters on stage and allowing their emotion to be conveyed to the audience.

Of course the monster is the catalyst for much of the fear in the show, whenever his character appears the music changes to create a sense of foreboding, but this style is slightly cliché though effective. The mood of the piece shifts quite dramatically and the technical effects serve to magnify these quick tonal changes.

‘Mother and the Monster’ is an impressive debut for Paradigm Lab and I eagerly await their forthcoming shows. It plays at Assembly Roxy until Saturday 2nd of December and, with student tickets only costing £6.50, it is well worth a watch. Click Here For Article


Mother and the Monster

December 2, 2017    The Student

Review of Mother and the Monster

Mother and the Monster

‘Mother and the Monster’ is the debut production of the newly formed Paradigm Lab, a new theatre company founded by recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh and student theatre veteran, Vlada Nebo who also serves as director. Paradigm Lab sets out to immerse audiences through experimental techniques of production and direction. For its first show Paradigm Lab has certainly set the bar high.

Inspired by the life true story of legendary costume designer Millicent Patrick; Rory Kelly’s script follows reclusive prop maker Charlotte performed (in a slightly exaggerated style) by Amelia Watson. Watson struggles to match the quick changing emotion of the script as her character guides the naïve protégé Polly through the toils of a male dominated industry and attempts to deal with the ‘Monster’.

The play certainly fulfils its goal to be a ‘feminist fairy tale’ with the contrasting personalities of the ambitious Lucy and cloistered Charlotte both struggling to defend the integrity of their work in male dominated creative industries – the younger Polly clearly represents the younger generations resistance to the pressures of the patriarchy. Sarika Mathur stands out as Lucy, managing to balance the paradoxical traits of excitability and rationality.

The cast work together in near perfect cohesion; Nebo’s direction is clever and dynamic, the transitions are seamless and energetically push the action forward despite a slightly slow start. The costume and set are relatively minimalistic, with the surrealism of the monster bringing a comedic edge to an otherwise frightening character.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of ‘Mother and the Monster’ is the way in which they use sound and light. Assembly Roxy is a relatively small theatre but the use of light makes the show even more intimate, narrowing us in on the action and making the audience feel incredibly close to the action on the stage (including me up in the Gods). Since the dialogue is incredibly quick witted the changes in light mirror and enhance this, echoing the feelings of the characters on stage and allowing their emotion to be conveyed to the audience.

Of course the monster is the catalyst for much of the fear in the show, whenever his character appears the music changes to create a sense of foreboding, but this style is slightly cliché though effective. The mood of the piece shifts quite dramatically and the technical effects serve to magnify these quick tonal changes.

‘Mother and the Monster’ is an impressive debut for Paradigm Lab and I eagerly await their forthcoming shows. It plays at Assembly Roxy until Saturday 2nd of December and, with student tickets only costing £6.50, it is well worth a watch. Click Here For Review


Mother and The Monster

December 2, 2017    All Edinburgh Theatre

Review of Mother and the Monster

Mother and The Monster

The power of our darkest secrets is explored in Mother and The Monster, a refreshing debut by Edinburgh theatre group, Paradigm Lab.

This new play by Rory Kelly, directed by Vlada Nebo, explores the life of those who mainly remain firming behind the camera, giving an interesting take on those professions that we rarely shine a spotlight on.


Angus Gavan McHarg and Amelia Watson. Pic Andrew Perry

It’s in the downstairs room of Assembly Roxy that we meet legendary prop maker, Charlotte, who has turned into a recluse since missing out on an Oscar many years before.

As the play begins, Charlotte is living alone with her cleaner and biggest fan, Julia, for company. However, we soon find out that’s not the only presence in Charlotte’s house as she also has a monster of her own creation living in her cupboard.

It’s not until she finally breaks her silence and tells a wannabe journalist her biggest secret, that the Monster finally leaves her alone for good.

Amelia Watson gives an excellent performance in the lead role of Charlotte, a part which sees her on stage throughout the entire show. She’s has the power to make the audience laugh out loud, but really shines in the second act during her emotional confession that someone else claimed credit for famous horror movie monster that has haunted her life ever since.

animated performance
Angus Gavan McHarg makes the best use of the stage during his animated performance as the Monster in Molly Lambourne’s bright and colourful (but hardly scary) costume. During the first half of the show it can be a little confusing to figure out who this Monster is, but as the story develops in the second half it all becomes much clearer.



The cast is completed by Julia Weingaertner, who plays the loveable and shy Polly, and Sarika Mathur, who is pretending to be a journalist. Both actors give strong performances filled with humour as they support Charlotte throughout the show.

Monster and the Mother is a funny and poignant piece of theatre by an exciting and talented new theatre company that it’s definitely worth keeping your eye on. Click Here For Review


We are STILL all C*nts Review

August 17, 2017    Three Weeks

Review of Ashley Haden: F*ck you, and F*ck your beliefs.

We are STILL all C*nts Review

You might be a vegan, give lots to charity and think you’re a pretty good person as far as things go, but chances are you’re probably still a c*nt. Ashley Haden returns to the Fringe with his satirical political commentary on the shit unfolding around us. If you think the title of this show is offensive, then his jokes about rape, child refugees, paedophilia and suicide will probably emotionally scar you. Haden is like a drunk, tortured prophet of truth with his sharp, acute and, at times, strangely poetic musings on the state of the world and British politics. Deeply distasteful yet liberatingly transgressive, Haden delivers a set so dark you’ll need to bring a torch. Click Here For Review


WES SIDE STORY Moment comedian Wes Dalton helps hopeless romantic PROPOSE at Edinburgh Fringe gig

August 15, 2017   The Scottish Sun

WES SIDE STORY Moment comedian Wes Dalton helps hopeless romantic PROPOSE at Edinburgh Fringe gig

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/living/1421967/wes-dalton-edinburgh-fringe-proposal-whistlebinkies/

THIS is the moment comedian Wes Dalton helped a hopeless romantic PROPOSE at an Edinburgh Fringe gig.

The comic was on hand to offer the happy couple his congratulations during the show at Whistlebinkies in the capital.

The couple were egged onto the stage

YOUTUBE
3
The couple were egged onto the stage
The clip shows comedian Dalton egging on the couple to join him on stage.

And while the groom-to-be Sander smiles, his future wife Astrid looks terrified as she joins him.

MOST READ IN VIRALS

LET'S TACO BOUT IT Bad news, Wetherspoons fans - they’ve just had the last ever Mexican Monday

PHONIES EXPOSED Hilarious gallery reveals the cheaters who were caught out by some VERY awkward text fails

SHE NAILED IT! Ingenious student cheats on her science exam by writing the answers under her FINGERNAILS
Wes announced: “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done on stage.

“We could have the whole ceremony on here.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Wes Dalton
@WesleyDalton
Today @edfringe I convinced a Dutchman to propose to his girlfriend onstage.
Boyfriend dragging his heels?Come to my next gig #EdFringe17

11
2:34 PM - Aug 13, 2017 · Edinburgh, Scotland
See Wes Dalton's other Tweets
Twitter Ads info and privacy
And the crowd cheers as the romantic groom gets down on one knee to pop the big question.

Using a ring donated from the audience, Astrid looks delighted as she chokes back tears.

The pair got engaged on stage

YOUTUBE
3
The pair got engaged on stage
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing as Wes shouts “it’s the wrong finger!”

And the couple looked delighted as the audience celebrated. Click Here For Article


August 15, 2017   The Scottish Sun

THIS is the moment comedian Wes Dalton helped a hopeless romantic PROPOSE at an Edinburgh Fringe gig.

The comic was on hand to offer the happy couple his congratulations during the show at Whistlebinkies in the capital.

The couple were egged onto the stage

YOUTUBE
3
The couple were egged onto the stage
The clip shows comedian Dalton egging on the couple to join him on stage.

And while the groom-to-be Sander smiles, his future wife Astrid looks terrified as she joins him.

MOST READ IN VIRALS

SHE NAILED IT! Ingenious student cheats on her science exam by writing the answers under her FINGERNAILS

ADULTERY HOTSPOTS How faithful is YOUR town? Affairs website names and shames cheating capital of Scotland
Wes announced: “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done on stage.

“We could have the whole ceremony on here.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Wes Dalton
@WesleyDalton
Today @edfringe I convinced a Dutchman to propose to his girlfriend onstage.
Boyfriend dragging his heels?Come to my next gig #EdFringe17

11
2:34 PM - Aug 13, 2017 · Edinburgh, Scotland
See Wes Dalton's other Tweets
Twitter Ads info and privacy
And the crowd cheers as the romantic groom gets down on one knee to pop the big question.

Using a ring donated from the audience, Astrid looks delighted as she chokes back tears.

The pair got engaged on stage

YOUTUBE
3
The pair got engaged on stage
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing as Wes shouts “it’s the wrong finger!”

And the couple looked delighted as the audience celebrated. Click Here For Article


The Best Free Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

June 1, 2017   Culture Trip

Article about Full Moon Cabaret

The Best Free Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This devilishly cheeky show is destined to ‘subjugate the world to its eccentric erotica and deviant decadency’ while celebrating ‘the lunacy within us all’. An unmitigated pleasure palace. Click Here For Article


The heroes of the London Bridge attack

April 8, 2017   The heroes of the London Bridge attack

Article about Italian Stallion Fake Hero

The heroes of the London Bridge attack

-’’I have faith in our multi cultural society!!!!! ’’-
https://youtu.be/JIRFnnGSpSY
Joe Palermo An Italian witness on the scene during the terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market was helping people with injuries and assisting and taking armed police officers to the locations where terrorist were! A few people have disputed this! saying that this wasn’t true! Joe Palermo was indeed there! I’m inviting those ’people’ to make a request to obtain CCTV Footage and you will see clearly man wearing a stripes pink shirt, blue jeans and a Panama hat coming from the MUDLARK pub and taking the stairs to London bridge and talking to police officers near the terrorist VAN and then going back down the stairs with them. People have said that Italians are liars! That is offensive! I will persecute such persons! Thank you for not appreciating someone who was helping during the attack!
-Nearby, Joe Palermo was getting some fresh air outside The Mudlark Pub when a woman staggered towards him, bleeding from the neck. “I invited her into the bar because I could see all these people running around,” the bouncer says. “Working in security, I realised something was happening. I tried to give her first aid until a paramedic came up and she took over.” He went to try to get help. Behind the pub where the terrorists went, he says, is “like a “labyrinth”: “It’s easy for people to go one way and another without being seen.” He told a police officer where he thought they had gone.

When he returned to the pub, the doors were locked. He led around 20 other people away from where the terrorists were and they were let into Bill’s restaurant on Clink Street. Palermo armed himself with a fire extinguisher and a knife. After a while, people thought it was safe, and went to look out of the windows. “Then the armoured police came in, saying ‘get down! Get away from the windows!” Palermo says. Eventually, the police told everyone in the restaurant to run. Click Here For Article


Bounty of Beards: Merkin 9 to 5

August 15, 2016    List

Review of Evers, Booth and [NAME]

Bounty of Beards: Merkin 9 to 5

Finely-written sketches with lo-fi elements and double entendres galore

You can tell from their title that this troupe like a bit of wordplay, though sadly there's no tribute to Dolly Parton in here. What is here, though, is a bunch of finely written sketches.

The opening scene sets out their love of pun with as many piscine double entendres as you can possibly think of when the Plenty of Fish dating site is mistaken by a fish enthusiast for a fish suppliers and where 'crabs ruining your fishnets' could take on a whole new meaning. The follow-up using Match.com is equally as well-penned and stuffed with naughty inferences.

To allow for costume changes there are video interludes also starring fourth member Fen, who is riddled with stage fright after an incident with someone's leg. But here on screen, aside from her story and the group's attempts at tempting her back on stage, are a range of adverts such as the incongruously hilarious one featuring Alan Bennett crossed with a jihadi.

Bounty of Beards prove masters of the most unlikely combinations as the highlight here is the eponymously titled Amish band playing (non)electronic music complete with dodgy facial hair and a wooden xylophone. Kraftwerk's 'The Model' never sound-ed so lo-fi.
 Click Here For Review


August 16, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

 Click Here For Review


August 15, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

 Click Here For Review


August 15, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

https://theweereview.com/review/dyspraxia-politics-the-two-sides-of-don-biswas/ Click Here For Review


‘The Little Big Show’, by Laughter House Productions

August 15, 2015   The Circus Diaries

‘The Little Big Show’, by Laughter House Productions

Inside the Spiegeltent’s light and child-friendly younger cousin, the Kazador, we enter to sit around the tiny stage to an upbeat Elvis soundtrack, welcomed at the door by genial smiling host Mr Vita.

We are a tiny audience, but he invests as much energy and warmth on us as he would a full house, gently getting us going, and explaining the nature of his ‘mostly silent show’. Who needs words when you have a face – and eyebrows – as expressive as his?

The morning version of The Little Big Show is a half-hour solo spot, followed later in the day by a 45 minute mini-cabaret of four various artists. If they are all as engaging as Mr Vita, I wouldn’t hesitate to book.

His generous and warm-hearted clowning doesn’t falter for a minute when confronted by two very shy children of the three in attendance, and he gently coaches them to become the next generation of volunteer superstars – whilst cheekily involving the ‘Mummy’s too.

His object manipulation generates an awed ‘It’s floating!’ from in front of me as he smoothly rolls a large crystal contact ball over his fingertips, arms and chest; a cigar-box style manoevre with three big red balls is fun, and he loves our appreciation so much that we love giving it to him.

He balances objects on his face, launches forks that emerge from his creaking box of props into a dartboard, and is a strong and funny communicator through his mime and few words, faux-preening and showers of confetti.

Mr Vita is a consumate professional and charismatic performer who can entertain the whole family. A big personality on a little stage. Click Here For Article


Stand-up comedy - it's no joke

June 24, 2014   The Irish Post

Stand-up comedy - it's no joke

In the final part of his In The Thick Of It series, James Martin faces the challenge of five minutes of stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

“THIS could be the worst five minutes of your life,” Jarlath Regan tells me, ominously, over a cappuccino.

It’s late in London’s Leicester Square and the comic has just finished his set next door at 99 Club.

I tell Jarlath my stand up debut is just a couple of weeks away but I don’t have any jokes. That’s his response.

I’m not sure I’m up for this. Having spent years honing an extraordinary talent for evading public speaking at any opportunity, this is deep-end stuff.

Fate seems to be against me though. My plan to complete my Irish Post In The Thick Of It series working as a doorman outside an Irish club hit a legal minefield.

And so it was to be… my next and final challenge — stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

What did I have in my favour? Well, there was not one but two leading Irish comedians to draw on for advice.

I phone Andrew Maxwell. In his gravelly Dublin accent, he advises: “Remember, you are the f****** joke. You are the only individual in the room that is so psychologically vulnerable that you need the unconditional love of absolute strangers.”

Great! Thanks. To be fair, later I troll the interview transcripts and there’s plenty of good stuff there too.

I spot the overlap I was looking for.

First, Jarlath Regan warns against pulling any tricks on the audience.

“Go up and let it be the most honest reflection of what you believe to be funny. And believe in the jokes you are going to say — mean them,” he says.

Maxwell adds: “Only talk on-stage about what you find funny. Genuinely, what actually makes you chuckle. You’ll be far more excited to tell the audience. Don’t ever try and second guess them by writing material about what you think they might find funny.”

Got it! The next two weeks are spent scribbling away a collection of old stories, reflections on immature happenings and observations which have made me and my mates chuckle over the years.

For two days before showtime I barely leave the flat. My hopeful reasoning being that the more prepared I am, the fewer nerves I might experience.

At this point, I’m avoiding thoughts about something Jarlath said during our meeting.

Jarlath Regan offered James some comedy tips
The Kildare man warned that, even having been at the comedy game for as long as he can remember, the pre-stage jitters “never go away”.

“Even if you went at this forever, and you’re Jerry Seinfeld, there’s still this anxiety for half an hour before you’ve gone on that’s worse than anything you’ve ever felt,” he added.

Soon after, the long-dreaded night arrives. I’m booked for five minutes at Funny Feckers, a mid-week open mic night in Kentish Town, north London.

Wesley Dalton, a comedian and actor from Bray, is the cordial host and MCs the show, which celebrated its year-long residency last week.

On the night, Wes can see I’m nervous and tries to calm me down by reassuring me that no one in the audience is going to chop me up into pieces with a machete.

All I’m thinking at this point is: “How can he be so sure?”

What’s worse is that the day before, Wes gets an email from American actress Mary Lynn Rajskub who stars in the television drama series 24.

As well as acting, Rajskub does comedy and after she books up for five minutes Wes inevitably leaks the news on Facebook.

So what’s normally a busy night at Funny Feckers turns into a packed-to-the-rafters one.

The show is housed in a downstairs bunker at Hoot N’ Annie’s bar.

Picture the size of your richest childhood friend’s garage. Add at least 60 half-cut punters, plus, tonight, at least a dozen more clambering on the stairs for a view. Along with another handful front left, who are stationed so close to the stage you can almost smell their feet.

American actress Mary Lynn Rajskub also performed a set
That was my view taking to the stage — the fifth act just before 8.30pm on the night.

The comics before me are pretty hot as well. Laughs flow and the place is buzzing.

Strangely, the fear has subsided a little as it dawns on me that ‘this is it, there’s no way of backing out now’.

Maybe laughter therapy does work, I think to myself, although no Zen-like calm comes over me as Wes introduces me to the audience as a newbie. Instead my attention shifts to the material I’m eager to deliver properly.

I recall the simple yet effective tip of smiling to the audience (cheers Jarlath). I don’t fumble taking the mic out or trip over the stand. It’s already going better than expected.

In fact, aside from a few flashing moments when I think I might have a total freak out and forget what to say, the set goes surprisingly well.

People are laughing; I’m pretty sure it’s with me and not at me.

Although most of my on-stage recollections swirl into a blur, an early crack about growing up around Sutton (which I describe, perhaps harshly, as a suburban mess in south London) — and unexpectedly having to return after university — goes down well.

The liberal north London crowd seems to enjoy my working-class tales leaden with lads on the smash, trips to the bookies and snippets of bizarre yet brilliant tales overheard while pulling pints for geezers in Chelsea tops at the local working men’s club.

I race through the first four minutes. When Wes tells me I’ve got less than a minute to go, I pull a final trick out of the bag to finish.

As it’s a free open mic, the acts can’t be paid. So I pretend to have to cut short the set before I’d had the opportunity to do a section about the internship culture which is commonplace among my generation.

My reasoning is that, before my current job, I’d clocked up many months of working for free trying to get into the creative industries; and therefore there was no way on earth I’d be clocking up even more minutes on the free by running over with this gig.

I tell the audience as much, and leave them there. It feels like a bold move and it works.

I can’t say for sure, but I think I even hear a few whoops as I weave my way through the crowd and off stage, the most relieved man in history.

Afterwards, someone even invites me to do a slot at their open mic night. Another comes up and gives me surely the greatest accolade possible: “You seemed naturally funny.”

After the endorphin rush from the night subsided, the inevitable question arose: Would I ever repeat the experience?

I don’t think so. As a natural worrier, preparing for this gig had been an exhausting few weeks where the rest of my life seemed to hit the brakes.

A final 48-hours of hermit-like existence as I practised delivering the set didn’t seem too healthy either.

The hours would be appealing, for sure. But it’d certainly be no cop out.

I’ve got friends trying to make their way up the greasy comedy pole and they’re out gigging at least three or four nights a week.

They have to put up with low turnouts in dingy rooms, entering crap competitions (which, given the voting systems, are often won by whoever brings the most pals along) and endless self-promo work.

Plus there must be thousands upon thousands of others in exactly the same boat trying to catch the same break.

Nope. For me, I suspect it’ll go down as another one ticked off the list.

As you might do after going to see old ruins like the Giant’s Causeway or the Rolling Stones. Click Here For Article


February 21, 2014    The Scotsman

Review of Joke Thieves

 Click Here For Review


Review

August 24, 2013    Three Weeks

Review of 99 Club Stand-up Selection - Free

Review

Compèred by James Woroniecki, this comedy night delivered many laughs by four very accomplished comedians. Brett Goldstein effortlessly won over the crowd with his polished delivery, while Carly Smallman, singing with her guitar, found humour in the unlikely topic of incest, as she sang about fancying her (thankfully imaginary) little brother. Richard Todd criss-crossed all over the stage with his scraggly hair, showcasing his surrealist sense of humour with. The night was rounded off by Matt Green, who actively engaged with audience members he picked out, making jokes on the fly, as well as telling stories of his travels in Paris. A great opportunity to get a taste of four capable comedians. Click Here For Review


Review

August 14, 2013    The Skinny

Review of 99 Club Stand-up Selection - Free

Review

Presenting a new selection of four of the finest comedians from the Fringe each night for free, this show is stonkingly good value. These ripe talents will offer you a rich punnet of satisfyingly funny standup, so dig in! Tonight’s line-up demonstrated just why this show is so highly regarded each year.


First up the hilarious Dan Nightingale, who revealed how turning 32 had encouraged him to appreciate the value of reasonably priced, reasonably comfortable and reasonably fashionable clothes from Burton. It's also turned him into a Dickensian schoolteacher whenever he converses with the agonisingly hip staff in Topshop.

Second, Lee Wong, who takes advantage of his part-Chinese heritage to, among other things, shout through his letterbox and put off unwanted charity collectors coming to his flat. A witty young guy with a brilliantly dry and self-effacing humour.

Third, Michael Fabbri, who highlights how the internet can spiral out of control and off subject, demonstrating how you go from China to rich tea biscuits in just a few posts. An astute, funny comic who had the audience in creases.

Fourth, and my personal favourite, Australian Benny Boot. An energetic dude who buzzes on the stage and fires out a serious of incredibly funny short jokes. Covering everything from parrots to dynamite microphones, his enthusiasm is infectious.

Overall this foursome had the packed audience chortling throughout. Take advantage of this opportunity to see some of the finest acts of the Fringe for free – highly enjoyable and incredibly funny. Click Here For Review


August 7, 2012    ThreeWeeks

Review of 101 Comedy Club

'Funny. Fast. Free' ★★★★ Click Here For Review