The Fringe 2013: The Next Few Days

23 08 2013

Instead of doing daily round ups I thought I’d include 3 clusterfucks of information. The first you’ve probably not read and this is the meaty filling to a review sandwich, think of me like Three Weeks but food like so Three Woks.

Owen Niblock – Calculating Comedy
Ryan’s Cellar Bar, 13:15, 3-24

A return to computational based comedy from Niblock. His last show with Gigatron didn’t end well so he rebooted and some other computational jokes. A funny look at the construction of comedy with great guests and plus at the end I got to accuse a computer of not being able to run an android game.

Favourite Joke: Had to be the Gigatron’s witty retorts at the end.

Nat Luurtsema – Here She Be
The Counting House (Ballroom), 14:45, 3-24

A tale of what happens when you break up with your boyfriend and he happens to be in the three person comedy troupe you’re part of. Well you move in with your parents and you begrudge your ex any happiness

Favourite Joke: Reference to Dan Antopolski as Nat and Tom’s 30 year old Jewish child they fight over.

Young & Strange – Magic, Illusion & A Hate For Each Other
The Jam House, 18:30, 3-24

The two television featured magicians try to regain their riches by putting on one big ‘free’ show. A nice opening montage, followed by bickering, great card tricks and a brilliant final illusion then making it snow.

Stuart Ritchie – What’s The Point Of Going To School
Banshee Labyrinth – Chamber, 19:50, 14

An informative lecture from the Edinburgh University Psych student, felt very much like a relaxed seminar, questions were forthcoming and it put to bed a few bad headlines. Also came with support for the idea of grammar schools so long as the other children aren’t left behind.

Helen Arney + Rob Wells – Domestic Science
The Canon’s Gait, 12:10, 3-24

A fun tour through the start of Rob and Helen’s relationship. Who knew if you’d ran out of ph paper Sharwoods noodles could do the job for you. A brilliant ending where Helen created a rainbow with the audience to the tune of “Rainbow Connection” by the Muppets.

Rory & Tim – Time To Stand Up
Whistlebinkies, 13:30, 3-24

I’ve shied away from reviewing showcases as it’s unfair to judge people on a small amount of material however the titular sketch duo (the third man didn’t think it was time to stand up) descended into madness. A rowdy set of audience members thought they were funnier than the comedians they weren’t and they showed their lack of logic by being unable to work out what biological determinism was when Rory clearly explained the concept afterwards. Intelligent humour and when the rude members of the audience left we had a nice parlour game similar to ‘Heads Down Thumbs Up” called “Mafia”.

Favourite Joke: The Biological Determinism joke was well crafted and deserves an audience who get it.

Wil Hodgson – Kidnapped By Catwoman
The Canon’s Gait, 14:25, 3-24

A reprise of last years show with countless comic book references and wandering roads into the past and trips down the chip shop skiving lunch. A nice collection of tales all sewn together with references to strong women, ones that could easily beat you up (not ones that would). I personally loved the references to Batman (Adam West’s one) and Wil showed an incredible knowledge of the history of comic books, it was interesting to hear how DC sewed up the market with the Comic’s Charter which did the other genres apart from superheroes out of business.

Favourite Joke: The references to Dick Grayson’s “Boy Wonder” *wink wink*.

Kate Smurthwaite – News At Kate 2013: World Inaction
The Canon’s Gait, 15:40, 3-24

A chat show involving the creator of PBH’s Free Fringe, Peter Buckley Hill who answered audience questions including a pretty incisive one about the size of the Free Fringe and if it will plateau from this dashing gentleman at the front (ed. Self deprication is meant to be a British trait). Stand up involving ex-SPAD Alexis Wieroniey an American in London who I’d seen and enjoyed before and Paul B. Edwards.

Favourite Joke: Alexis Wieroniey’s nice story about Jack Straw. A nice mental picture there.

Tom Webb – Wedding
Dragonfly, 17:30, 3-24

A nice stand up hour by the versatile comedian (part game show host, part compere, all funnyman). A tale deriving from the fact he is now able to get married in St Paul’s Cathedral due to his father’s MBE. A trip through the world of dating (and being broken hearted in a long distance relationship) in a packed room (so happy to see this) and all topped off with the saccharine ending of a woman emerging from the crowd and Tom getting married by a Sailor Captain on shore leave. Saccharine but oh so sweet.

Favourite Joke: The end part of the show where Tom wanted to screw over St Paul’s by getting married in a non-religious ceremony.

Adam Strauss – The Sordid Sex Life Of The Montane Vole
Ciao Roma, 19:05, 3-24

An altogether different hour from Adam on the same subject and vastly different from the show I saw lat year, this was more straight stand up rather than comic spoken word. Adam spent the hour regaling us with tales of animalia’s genitalia and flirting with girls in the audience. It’s a hard life. Funny one liners and even the stories had punch, I personally loved this, however I believe it could have been more sordid haha.

Favourite Joke: I love kids, well kids who’re related to me, the rest can fuck off.

Kate Smurthwaite – News At Kate 2013: My Professional Opinion
Ciao Roma, 19:20, 3-24

A brilliant hour concentrating on Kate’s position as the foremost shout at the nutjobs lady for Radio 5Live, and also This Morning. The This Morning story has to be seen to be believed and includes a tonally perfect impression of Dorries and also Kate screaming into a megaphone.

Favourite Joke: The reversal of Kate and Richard Littlejohn’s articles. Amazing that I fell for it but it shows how fluid opinions can be


At this point Tom’s show was by far my favourite I’ve seen, he delivered and carried it right down the aisle and some other wedding pun, Kate’s shows are always enjoyable, Adam great and had fun at the others.


The Fringe 2013: My first few days about

12 08 2013

I’ve not done this for a while but thought I’d give a quick run through of all the shows I’ve seen so far after the first week (and a bit including previews).

Stu & Garry’s Catchily Titled Improv Show – Stuart Murphy & Garry Dobson

The Stand (1), 11:30PM, 4th, 11th & 18th

This show was part of a preview double bill and involved the two seasoned veterans of ‘Whose Lunch Is It Anyway?’ the Sunday afternoon free show that runs the rest of the time that the Fringe isn’t here. It was the usual fare of fun games including the ‘Endowment’, ‘Emotional Rollecoaster’, ‘Two Headed Interview’ (with guest Silky) and my particular favourite ‘Should’ve Said’ (also featuring Silky). It’s late night so expect some choice language and adult themes.

It Was This Show Or Have Kids – Silky

The Stand (2), 14:30, 1st-25th (not 12th)

The second of a preview double bill (hence his guesting on Stu & Garry). A nice hour of jokes about life of a Scouser who travels about. Nice tales and lovely songs. A nice collection ranging from whimsy to dark humour.

Favourite Joke (not verbatim along the lines of)- You know when you find it hard to get over someone… Then you have to reverse to make sure.

Nut Allegory – Silky

The Dram House Upstairs – Sneekit, 12:15, 3rd-24th (not 12th)

A show I chose to go along to on the strength of the preview and I’m glad I did, the same mixture of whimsy and songcraft with some darkness. A winding tale about being recognised (only three times) and tops off on the third recognition by a doctor while using a audience member (me) to show the discomfort at an ultrasound check on his testicles.

Favourite Joke – The Bodyform Mixsong

Look At The State Of Britain – Keir McAllister & Vladimir McTavish

The Stand (3), 19:00, 1st-25th (not 12th)

A nice look at the countries of the UK (and Wales) in the lead up to 2014 with contributions from Stu and Garry and some lovely chaps from down south who support independence wholeheartedly. Great dissection of the political scene up here, and Ruth Davison.

Favourite Joke – Strand about the weather

Crunch The News – Grainne Maguire / John Luke Roberts (hosting)

Cabaret Voltaire (downstairs 1), 12:05, 3rd-24th

A great hour of satirical comedy with special guests. In my two shows that I saw the NUS Scotland president Gordon Maloney was with Grainne Maguire and Colin Fox was with John Luke Roberts. Each show follows a certain script, the movie round where the panellists (2/3 comedians + special guest) all pick a random news story and title it like a movie and the audience have to guess, then there’s the audience question which is placed on a whiteboard at the front and all members given a piece of paper before the show and the panellists read their favourite and the crowd’s favourites have sweeties thrown in their general direction. This is then followed by a discussion with the special guest and then stand up by the comedians.

Funny Bone China – Martin Croser

The Dram House Upstairs – Fantoosh, 13:15, 3rd-24th (not 13th)

A weird hour of comedy, all from the protagonist Martin (is he a character? He does a brilliant piece at the start about the hour being a character piece) who is commissioned to write jokes for a friend’s china company to place on cups. Very funny and definitely alternative.

Favourite Joke – The Triangles

Steals The Show – Bristol Improv

WhyNot?, 15:00, 3rd-24th (not 6th, 13th & 21st)

The first of three seperate shows by the troupe, this was the short form games one. Games like 3 Headed Expert, Moving People and a brilliant game where two performers had to source their lines from books given by the audience. Not only this to give themselves an extra challenge each game was framed by the Fringe programme.

Broken Stand Up – John Luke Roberts

Voodoo Rooms – Ballroom, 16:15, 3rd-25th (not 13th)

A solo hour from the host of Crunch The News. A quirky strange hour with impressions of Alan The Button (Alain De Botton) and Alan Clark. A nice welcome return for his catchphrase “Slippy Fins” and a touching reunion at the end with his parent over some John West Tuna.

Favourite Joke – Washing Symbols You Haven’t Seen

Is On The Mend – Aiden Goatley

Voodoo Rooms – Speakeasy, 18:05, 3rd-25th

A follow up to the successful 10 Films With My Dad, this show deserves to be just as successful. A trip through a year of depression and how movies were his salvation. From ‘Indian Superman’ to 20 minutes into ‘In The Name Of The King’. This shows tells psychology and psychiatry to forget the medicine and prescribe full-length movies on YouTube and Jason Statham.

Favourite Joke – The ending at Lidl with his daughter

Into Dorkness – Dan Schreiber

Madogs, 19:25, 3rd-24th

A show from the former QI elf in a cosy back room seating about 10, a nice look back on the coolest nickname ‘Dan Dan’, how to chat up people at geek parties and culture clashes

Favourite Joke – Strand about Prince Phillip and President Banana of Zimbabwe

Enthusiast – Nathaniel Metcalfe

Cabaret Voltaire (downstairs 2), 14:35, 3rd-24th (not 14th)

A well reviewed show and it’s easy to see why. i don’t want to ruin it for anyone you need to see it yourself and see how heavy metal, Art Attack and the Who’s Who of 1990-1991 are linked.

Favourite Joke – The whole hour


As well as comedy there are lots of fringes to the Fringe (ha I’m pleased with that one). One that I’ve dropped in on this year is run by Edinburgh Skeptics who have regular Skeptics in the Pub events but also do specialised talks which unfortunately are one offs. this year I’ve seen Rhys Morgan and Rich Peppiatt, I was going to see John Sweeney before he cancelled and I’ll see Stuart Ritchie talking about education on Wednesday coming.

One Rogue Reporter – Rich Peppiatt

This is an updated and cut down version of the show he did last year. If you’re unaware our press and the people who run it are BASTARDS. They’re trying to weedle out of legislation and the conclusions of the Leveson Inquiry. So up steps our hero, Richard Peppiatt ex of the Star and such stories where he had to dress in a Burka to try and get a reaction. Sickened by this not being what he wanted to do in journalism he resigned and started to write this show where he became the scourge of Dacre et al. Also he gave us a sight that will never be erased from my eyeballs… Neville Thurlbeck’s balls.

My favourite part had to be Rich foisting the villainous evil man Kelvin McKenzie (he of ‘The Truth’) by his own pitard by exposing him to himself about some risque texts sent by McKenzie to a lady that was not his wife. Funniest parts being McKenzie saying he wished he could expose himself and then saying that a TV personality who texts people outwith their relationship texts about bushes and rubber.

Miracle Cures And Almost Lawsuits – Rhys Morgan

The young man who puts us all to shame with his activism. He’s done so much in so little time. The real time in which prodigy should be applied and this talk was a whistle stop tour through the past few years and homeopathy through the ages. A nice recourse to the time when he was threatened by an IT guy pretending to be a lawyer for nutjob apparent Dr Stanislaw Burzynski.

The Cabinet Reshuffle… Or Cameron’s Begging Note To The Right

4 09 2012

Well as if it was even more possible there’s been a lurch to the right as Cameron seeeks to save his job from Bullingdon buddy BoJo. I’m going to look at the changes in the major departments and big names and what effect they’ll have on the gender balance of the cabinet and the Liberal influence.


Jeremy Hunt – Culture, Media & Sport > Health

On the way out?

Andrew Lansley can only be considered a disaster so if a reshuffle was to happen he would obviously be on the list. He’s now the Leader of the House

Can this be considered a promotion.

A man under so much pressure at Leveson. Vince Cable lost his remit on BSkyB for being too personally invested in the decision this yet a man who rofled with Fred Michel a trusted employee and fixer for EvilCorp. This is possibly a reward for taking the heat from Cameron not knowing what lol means.

How will he do in Health? What’s his expertise?

Well considering he believes in homeopathy hopefully this will lead him to believe that making no changes to the NHS will help. However more likely to be the case that he will stubbornly force through the government reforms and sell the hospitals to HospCorp. Oh yeah and he thinks he should be able to tell women how to control their bodies. Well his expertise is in teaching adults and working in PR so… Great choice Cam.


Chris Grayling – Minister in DWP > Justice

On the way out?

Ken Clarke, you know the down to earth one with the European views, oh the likeable one, the one who you could maybe tolerate for 20 minutes before making your excuses and leaving. He’s now a minister without portfolio… Keeping him around as can’t afford to lose him.

Can this be considered a promotion.

A big one. He served in the Department for Work & Pensions since the election but this was only a matter of time due to the roles he had held in the shadow cabinet.

How will he do in Justice? What’s his expertise?

You can only imagine badly, this is the guy who came out (sic) and said that B&B owners who use their premises as their home should not have to tolerate gay couples staying in their home if they didn’t want them to. However he did say that gay couples were allowed to stay in high street hotels as he realises in this day and age that you should only be allowed to discriminate if you’re a small business.


Patrick McLoughlin – Chief Whip > Transport

On the way out?

Justine Greening has moved to International Development and this is a major demotion for her.

Can this be considered a promotion.

Yes it’s a bold move as McLoughlin was a Chief Whip so expect some arm twisting from him.

How will he do in Transport? What’s his expertise?

Well he’s sparked the ire of BoJo already as he is seen as someone who will force through the third runway at Heathrow. An ex farm worker and coal miner also a representative on the National Coal Board. So at least he knows what used to power trains. Although was a minister in the days of Thatcher and Major so he knows how to privatise and subsidise (pity he’s not in health cos that’s what they’ll be doing).


Maria Miller – Minister for Disabled @ DWP > Culture, Media, Sport, Equalities & Women

On the way out?

Jeremy Hunt has been promoted see above.

Can this be considered a promotion.

Very much so, she has been part of the shadow ministry in Education & Skills and Family. Also working a role in DWP seems to be a pre-requisite for promotion so if anyone wants a look at the new Business Secretary when Cameron forces Cable out just look there.

How will she do with this brief? What’s her expertise?

This the most laughable promotion, she is the minister for equality who has voted against recent equality legislation as did her superior Teresa May (who also held the equality brief). Her expertise is an economics degree, work in advertising and in marketing. So if she wasn’t holding the equality brief she may be actually one of the few to understand her job. The government aren’t helping themselves with this lightning rod.


Owen Paterson – Northern Ireland > Environment

On the way out?

Caroline Spelman, an unimpressive performer at DEFRA was let down by family stories earlier this year so she’ll be going home to spend more time away from her family.

Can this be considered a promotion.

Depending on your point of view, he was the main voice for any issues to do with a constituent state but now moves to be the guy that will be sacked if Foot & Mouth happens again.

How will he do with this brief? What’s his expertise?

He came out with the right normalisation policy in Northern Ireland so it’s unfortunate for him he won’t be seeing that through but a move to DEFRA may see him move further up. He is a History graduate and a leatherseller so DEFRA may be a good match for his business background. However he is a known shale gas supporter, climate change denier and pro-culling so all over the place.




Also saw a change as Cheryl Gillan left to be replaced by her deputy David Jones (not a more Welsh name could be found), he has Welsh parentage and has sat in the Assembly so probably a good move for retaining close links with colleagues.


The Baroness lost her job as co-Chairman of the Conservatives to Grant Shapps but to console herself she still has the job of being a ‘Faith & Communities’ Minister and has been added to the Foreign Office team so a case of making sure gaffe prone Warsi is away a lot of the time.


David Laws returns to Government after his totally un-needed snafoo which cost him more than the extra money he lost if he had declared his partnertude. He has returned in the education brief as a junior minister and hopefully a replacement for Gove.

Liberal Influence

With Clarke a centrist out of the way and the Lib Dems being treated like kids (being put at a small table away from the adults and allowed to do their thing unless they disrupt the big table) the influence hasn’t changed. Three in three out in junior positions. Basically Cameron has said “I’ll let you invite other friends around but you can’t have those other ones back”.

The Fringe Part Six

20 08 2012

As you’ll no doubt be aware if you know me I’m from Edinburgh so here’s my views of The Edinburgh Fringe continued. I’m mostly around the PBH Free Fringe or the Laughing Horse one (well I’m planning on seeing one show in that). Well why the Free Fringe? Well basically because I’m poor.

Three For Free

Belushi’s, 13:20, 1hr

Three stand ups. MC’d by Alex Keedie who performed in the middle, chat about hating Lib Dems, Richard Hanrahan was first up and was the funniest of the three and finally Patrick Morris who is very funny too.

Aidan Goatley – 10 Movies With My Father

Voodoo Rooms – French Quarter, 14:40, 1hr

A tale of father son bonding over Blues Brothers and Avatar. Also starring the best animal actor since Sarah Jessica Parker, Kimble. Great talking about a father who knows everything and a son brought up in an alpha male way but ends up living in Brighton and doing a scriptwriting degree.

Fat Kitten – Versus The World

Voodoo Rooms – Speakeasy, 16:50, 1hr

The improv team headed by host James Ross (crazy hair = crazy humour) took on Horse Aquarium. Definitely the best show of today it was like Whose Line Is It Anyway on speed. A packed venue helped out and finishing on Maths Chat Up Lines is the only way to end an improv show.

Peter Buckley Hill – This Show Isn’t Sh*te It’s Shite

The Canon’s Gait, 18:05, 1hr

The show by the head of the PBH Free Fringe (it’s almost as if it’s named after him). A pointed attack on indiscriminate censorship, lovely songs, talk of graduation wear and a free CD at the end, ye cannie beat a bargain like that.

The Fringe Part Five

20 08 2012

As you’ll no doubt be aware if you know me I’m from Edinburgh so here’s my views of The Edinburgh Fringe continued. I’m mostly around the PBH Free Fringe or the Laughing Horse one (well I’m planning on seeing one show in that). Well why the Free Fringe? Well basically because I’m poor.

This day was basically a tidying up exercise to see the ones I missed and clashed other shows with

The Two O’ Clock Show

The Banshee Labyrinth – Chamber Room, 14:00, 1hr

Three stand ups. Starting with Kiwi Anna Freyberg whose T-Shirt jokes worked amazingly and her moving tale about her teacher from secondary; then Chris Boyd who had an evil ex and lots of 90’s pop culture references and David Hannant who I saw at the Hungover Comedy Club and his punchlines (well punchline) worked well.

The Comedy Manifesto

Ciao Roma, 15:20, 1hr

Kate Smurthwaite hosted to great effect. Rick Molland and David Mulholland aptly joined by Vladimir McTavish (Rick’s team mate) and much made of the fact there were three Scots in the room (him, me and a guy a few rows in front). The surreal American star of the Temps (whose name escapes me) joined David and it was fantastic.

Michelle De Swarte & Bobby Mair: Unbalanced

Belushi’s, 16:50, 1hr

The crazy Canadian warped stand up who is only a little creepy made me giggle  but the star was definitely Michelle the host of Dirty Digest and tales of modelling and drug use tempered by her bargain hunting (a discussion about £20 shoes from Topshop with a girl in the front row).

Adam Strauss – Varieties Of Religious Experience

Royal Mile Tavern, 18:10, 1hr

Not comedy we are assured from the beginning but a lecture from a sufferer of OCD. More romance and failed at that (if I ‘ve found out anything from the Fringe it’s that I love hearing about this) and tales of plus fours and psychology. There were jokes and enjoyable asides but more than aything an interesting look at OCD and depression and drugs as a way to ‘cure’ them.

Bobby Carroll – Low Voltage

Royal Mile Tavern, 19:20, 1hr

The host of the Hungover Comedy Club did not disappoint; a self styled misanthrope regailed with tales of Newcastle (or Croydon) and offered people an out 20 minutes from the end as the material got really dirty with two jokes ‘The Saddest Stripshow in the World’ and ‘Kinky Girls’. Such a laugh.

The Fringe Part Four

18 08 2012

As you’ll no doubt be aware if you know me I’m from Edinburgh so here’s my views of The Edinburgh Fringe continued. I’m mostly around the PBH Free Fringe or the Laughing Horse one (well I’m planning on seeing one show in that). Well why the Free Fringe? Well basically because I’m poor.

Andrew J Lederer – Cold Chicken

Southsider, 12:55, 1hr

A more laid back gig than I expected. Andrew chatted about his depression and all the things he did to try to overcome it while overstaying his visa and living in a rented room from an illegal renter. Quite surreal but definitely one to see.

London Is Funny Presents…

Ciao Roma, 14:10, 1hr

Hosted by Tom Webb (who you’ll guess is a favourite of mine). A couple of comedians come on do their stuff and plug their show. My favourite was John Luke Roberts who hosted Crunch The News the week I went to see it. One liner of the Fringe “you know what killed Unicorns… Nuzzling”.

Discount Comedy Checkout

Base, 15:45, 1hr

A cast of 6 basically playing Whose Line? Brilliant and even a blackout couldn’t dampen the fun.

Susan Harrison-Folken Britain

Le Monde – Shanghai, 17:30, 1hr

A quirky wee one. Character driven trip through walking tours, folk bands and the swear to God (as he does) best impression of Tony Blair I’ve heard in ages.

The Fringe Part Three

14 08 2012

As you’ll no doubt be aware if you know me I’m from Edinburgh so here’s my views of The Edinburgh Fringe continued. I’m mostly around the PBH Free Fringe or the Laughing Horse one (well I’m planning on seeing one show in that). Well why the Free Fringe? Well basically because I’m poor.

This day was basically a Robin Ince fest and since he’s gone today I can’t really recommend to go and see them but I can brag that I was there.


Carl Sagan Is My God

Ciao Roma, 13:00, 1hr

Guests doing a variety of things Robin reads, Jamie Gallagher did a thing with eggs that didn’t work, Helen Keen did some robot hosted puppetry about the moon, Helen Arney did a great wee song and to top it off I, yes I, was abused by the Pub Landlord. My hugs apparently aren’t good enough to be a support worker and I’m too old to wear a DangerMouse T-shirt.


Wil Hodgson – Care Bear Punk

The Canon’s Gait, 14:25, 1hr

A Great compilation of tales on alcohol, a strange encounter with a ruffian who fely Wil’s mohican needed accessorising with kebab meat and travails of a skinhead.


Robin Ince – Happiness Through Science

The Jam House, 16:00, 1hr

Robin’s last performance of this show in Edinburgh. Full of tales about Feynman and somehow condensed a 3hr show into an 1hr. Love hearing about the flippant responses he and Brian Cox used to be able to send to idiots who emailed in.


Robin Ince – In And Out Of His Mind

The Canon’s Gait, 19:15, 1hr

Apparently a ‘work in progress’, it was hilarious and Robin didn’t even get past his first few cue cards and page of jokes. Although the highlight was certainly his expressioning on a 22 year old in the front of the audience a sense of his own mortality.


Kate Smurthwaite – News At Kate 2012

Ciao Roma, 20:20, 1hr

Kate’s review of the year. Swinging by topics such as c***s (and how calling Cameron is offensive as she’s fond of hers), divorce (and the in laws that made her realise she needed one), and abortion. Her material was top notch as always and somehow (although deservedly) Melanie Phillips avoided being villain of the year to a sexist comic whose name I care not to remember.


Thom Tuck – Goes Straight To DVD

Cabaret Voltaire, 22:05, 1hr

A reprise of the ‘award losing’ show of last year. He watched all of the Disney STD.. VD’s (Straight to D.. VD’s) for out enjoyement and interlaced them with tales of his romantic woe (in very far flung locales) and disturbingly cradling a Simba doll near the end. Hilarious although I felt like I was laughing when I really shouldn’t have been, maybe hearing someone fail at love is funny to me. A great show and a singalong at the end for all the Little Mermaid fans and talks about how Meta Timon and Pumba are, this show is for everyone, cept maybe the kids.