Journey to X

Journey to X

Abortion and X-Factor may seem unlikely bedfellows, but they’re forced into an unholy union in the poptastic Journey to X. Inspired by Ireland’s draconian abortion laws, the play sees six aspiring starlets journey to London to audition... 

PowerCouple - Stand-up Comedy from Stephen Bailey and Gary John Senior

PowerCouple - Stand-up Comedy from Stephen Bailey and Gary John Senior

One of the beautiful things about the Fringe is the way in which so many shows can be supported simultaneously. At times, of course, this means cramming into spaces that are less than ideal: store cupboards; conference suites and – in this case – a staff room... 

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle

Almost two decades have passed since Alexei Sayle last toured. Judging by this evening, he’s been missed. That said, a sold-out comeback is not indicative of artistic merit. With the passage of time, a rose-spectacled audience has a tendency to romanticise the past... 

Pop Lock-in

Pop Lock-in

The bassline reverberates through the floor as the DJ blasts the latest anthems. Shapes are thrown, moves are busted and CHOONS are dropped. Through the semi-dark corridors of Electric Circus, girls chase after boys chasing girls... 

Wild About Wilde

Wild About Wilde

When asked to recite Oscar Wilde’s career highlights, few people think of his children’s literature. The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Importance of Being Earnest and that stretch in Pentonville (for... 

Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead (1hr Show)

Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead (1hr Show)

It’s raining outside and our host – Stuart Laws – is on a mission to entertain us. Officially, we’ve been allotted an hour of stand-up comedy and yet the show is called Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead... 

The G Spot

The G Spot

Fringe science: the number of people crammed into a venue is directly proportional to the liberties a reviewer can take. Full house: You can sit at the back and discretely take notes... 

Eric Davidson - Brigadoom

Eric Davidson - Brigadoom

Think of the most Scottish thing you can imagine. Then deep fry it and wrap it in plaid. That’s Brigadoom. Eric Davidson’s show doesn’t just pay lip service to being Scottish: it’s the Krankies riding Nessie into the Tunnock’s Tea Cakes factory while high on smack... 

Frimston and Rowett: A Sketch Show

Frimston and Rowett: A Sketch Show

Life is a lottery. We entered this world thanks to happy accidents, while unhappy accidents will see some of us exit, silenced by falling pianos and serial killers. The partner you marry; your roommate-turned-bestie; the country whose national anthem you proudly sing: all down to chance and serendipity... 

Sam Fletcher - Drawn-out Jokes

Sam Fletcher - Drawn-out Jokes

With his sex offender specs and wiry frame, Sam Fletcher is a high-octane Jarvis Cocker. That’s OK though. Geek chic is in right now. We can laugh at geeks. With them. Whatever. Right?Not this geek... 

A Woman Inside

A Woman Inside

Prison ain’t fun. We know this because it’s been hammered into us via a barrage of jail dramas, documentaries, movies and theatre productions. Those of us that have actually been to the pen – just visiting, Monopoly-style, of course – can confirm as much: prison ain’t fun... 

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

A 75-minute performance of Romeo & Juliet is hardly the stuff that fills jaded reviewers with optimism. Not in the penultimate days of the Fringe anyway, by which point they’ve already been assailed by a dozen other whacky adaptations of the bard’s most enduring tragedy... 

Shappi Khorsandi: Dirty Looks and Hopscotch

Shappi Khorsandi: Dirty Looks and Hopscotch

Comedians are a needy bunch. In their insatiable quest to generate more laughs, attract bigger crowds and cause more controversy, they will go to extreme lengths to grab our attention, most of which involve meddling with the audience... 

Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick

Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick

One man’s Skrillex is another’s alien communique; one woman’s James Blunt is another’s coffee table garbage. How do you tell whether John Alexander’s Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick will be to your liking? The simplest way would be to Google his name (or Yahoo it if you’re feeling nostalgic) and listen for yourself... 

Richard Thompson in Concert

Richard Thompson in Concert

There are 21 Richard Thompsons listed in Wikipedia, including a Conservative baronet, a racing driver and a Warner Bros animator. There is only one Richard Thompson who the sell-out crowd in The Queen’s Hall gathered to see however: the one who Wikipedia disambiguates with the word ‘musician’... 

Cinderella: The Musical

Cinderella: The Musical

One of the best things about the Fringe is its ability to throw up unexpected surprises; ducking into a pub to escape the worst ravages of the Scottish summer, it’s not uncommon to chance upon a free stand-up show that proves to be infinitely better than the risible fare you wasted £12 on the night before... 

Jigsaw: Gettin' Jiggy

Jigsaw: Gettin' Jiggy

The key to successful comedy is getting your audience onside. Once they’re safely in your back pocket, you can do whatever you like – fluff your lines; laugh at your own jokes; trip over props... 

Brian Kellock Trio

Brian Kellock Trio

One week into the Fringe, and nursing a bank balance that’s lower than my Facebook shares, I’m forced to witness the Brian Kellock Trio. Sober. As first world problems go, this is on a par with stepping into the shower without one’s shampoo... 

Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man

Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man

My abiding memory of this show is that I have no abiding memory of this show. I remember some wigs, and something that bulged suspiciously like a penis beneath Jonny Woo’s slutty underwear... 

Alan Anderson: Whisky Fir Dafties 2.0

Alan Anderson: Whisky Fir Dafties 2.0

What lengths would you go to just to taste a dram of whisky? Would you beg for it? Steal for it? Endure an hour of atrocious comedy for it?These are the questions you must ponder before purchasing a ticket to Whisky for Dafties, a colloquial introduction to the water of life... 

Danny McLoughlin - The Truth, the Half-Truth and Nothing Like the Truth

Danny McLoughlin - The Truth, the Half-Truth and Nothing Like the Truth

The Truth, the Half-Truth and Nothing Like the Truth promises an hour of solid stand-up. In that respect, Danny McLoughlin is every bit as good as his word. For 60 minutes, the Chester comedian treats us to anecdotes about fly-kicking his nan and scoffing all the sausage rolls at a working class wedding... 

James Campbell's Comedy 4 Kids

James Campbell's Comedy 4 Kids

Kids’ comedy is harder than you’d think. Aside from the challenge of keeping young bums on seats, there’s the jokes themselves to consider. Even if you’re successful in maintaining the children’s attention, what about the parents? If your material’s too simplistic, you’ll alienate the section of your audience that controls the purchasing power... 

Shakespeare for Breakfast

Shakespeare for Breakfast

Messing with Shakespeare is par for the course at the Fringe. Each year, theatre companies jostle to reinvent the bard’s sonnets and soliloquies, delivering them with post-modern, zeitgeist-grabbing tongue-in-cheek pizzazz... 

Nessie the Loch Ness Monster

Nessie the Loch Ness Monster

Ever since the dawn of the Toy Story dynasty, us grown-ups have been spoiled when it comes to children’s entertainment. No longer must we sit wearily, finger-tapping and text messaging while our progeny chortle their way through some fatuous fairy tale in which everyone lives happily ever after... 

The Red Bus Puppet Shows

The Red Bus Puppet Shows

It’s a beautiful day at the Fringe and I’m sat on the top deck of a red bus in the Meadows. Outside, joggers jog and bees buzz while the traffic streams by. As the world goes about its business, a group of wide-eyed toddlers sit on beanbags watching The Red Bus Puppet Show... 

Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

The wonderfully-named Mervyn Stutter bounds to the stage, resplendent in an outrageous pink suit. ‘Cor, bloody hell!’ he exclaims as he begins to pontificate about the success of the British Olympic team... 

Street Cries

Street Cries

The term ‘award-winning’ has long since been rendered meaningless, devalued by anyone who ever unlocked a Steam gaming achievement appending it to their LinkedIn profile. Thus, just as the plaudits printed on Fringe fliers should be taken with a large pinch of sodium, a musical cabaret devised by an ‘award-winning writer’ should not in itself be cause for celebration... 

Karen Matheson

Karen Matheson

During a hectic Fringe, it’s not uncommon to find harassed reviewers jumping from venue to venue with scant knowledge of the next act on their schedule. So it was that I arrived at Assembly Rooms with the vague impression that Karen Matheson was a comedian... 

Naked Dictators

Naked Dictators

Every year, the Fringe seems to get zanier, with its sublime productions out-shouted by the ridiculous. Competing for the dubious honour of this year’s maddest show, we have Naked Dictators, a musical comedy that is ‘guaranteed to have you goose-stepping all the way down the Royal Mile... 

US Beef

US Beef

“Get ready to 'meat' Buck Mathews.” So reads the opening line of the blurb for US Beef, a production that explores the ethics of the meatpacking industry. Tempting as it would be to fill the remainder of this review with similar puns, the truth is that you wouldn’t serve US Beef to your dog, let alone deem it fit for human consumption... 

Comedy Club 4 Kids

Comedy Club 4 Kids

The Bongo Club is more accustomed to hosting face-chewing ravers than sweet-chewing kiddies, but this evening the kindergarten has taken over. Row after row of chairs is filled with excitable children and mildly-excitable parents, assembled to witness the side-splitting spectacle that is Comedy Club 4 Kids... 

David Whitney - Struggling to Evolve

David Whitney - Struggling to Evolve

Struggling to Evolve ‘promises a guide to sex, drink and violence’ – which sounds like prime material for an edgy comedian seeking to unsettle his audience. David Whitney may talk like a chubby English comic, and he may sweat like one too, but the jokes appear harder to come by... 

Anon(ymous)

Anon(ymous)

Produced by Malibu’s Pepperdine University, Anon(ymous) is a modern retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, crammed into 90 action-packed minutes. To tackle Homer’s sprawling masterpiece while giving a nod to Western colonialism, slavery, war-torn refugees and immigration is a bold effort, and one that ought to be applauded, if only plaudits were dispensed for ambition and gutsiness alone... 

Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs

Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs

Not all of life’s surprises can be nice, but Adam Kay transpires to be a very pleasant one indeed. When a chubby man emerges onto the stage, clutching a bottle of shiraz, plonks himself in front of the piano and begins to bawl out a comedy version of ‘Parklife’, you fear for the worst... 

Romance with a Double Bass

Romance with a Double Bass

It is UWE Drama Society’s last show of the Fringe. It is my last show of the Fringe. It is most of the audience’s last show of the Fringe. Collectively, we’re hoping for a fitting finale to a fine month’s entertainment... 

Beardyman Unshaved

Beardyman Unshaved

As a society, we take exception to things being faked; orgasms; friendships; wills. Upon discovering such simulation, we get quite annoyed. We like our music fresh and original, not regurgitated and recycled... 

Beethoven for Breakfast

Beethoven for Breakfast

With a name like Beethoven for Breakfast, it stands to reason that this show won’t form the finale to a bacchanalian night’s boozing. It’s 9:30 a.m. in the Royal Over-Seas League building on Princes Street... 

Jollygoodlarks - How to Make it Huge

Jollygoodlarks - How to Make it Huge

Jollygoodlarks conform to the internet school of naming: mash all your words together to form an unwieldy hybrid. YouTube. PayPal. LinkedIn. Jollygoodlarks. Say it in a oner and don't you dare pause for breath... 

Motortown

Motortown

This is a show that spits in the face of gritty realism and then desecrates its grave.Returning from a tour of Basra, Danny discovers that things are not how he left them. England has changed and his former flame, Marley, has moved on... 

An  Englishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Irishwoman

An Englishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Irishwoman

The word ‘comedienne’ has to be one of the ghastliest constructions in the English language. Not only does it look ungainly but it’s completely superfluous. There is no need to feminise the word ‘comedian’... 

Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung!

Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung!

Once upon a time, Worbey and Farrell played piano to diners in posh hotels. Sick of their inimitable talents being unappreciated, they turned to Comedy and it took them under its wing... 

The Twoks

The Twoks

The Twoks sounds like a kids cartoon you’d find on Nickelodeon Jr. Thankfully their music turns out to be far more credible than their name. The moment this two-piece strike up a song, you just know that the kids would hate them... 

I am the Dead - Free

I am the Dead - Free

Attending free shows at the Fringe is something of a lottery. With over 350 performances to choose from, it’s possible to absorb a whole lot of culture without forking out a whole lot of money... 

Philosophy in the Bedroom

Philosophy in the Bedroom

It’s not often I’m lost for words, but after witnessing the eyeball-popping spectacle that is Philosophy In The Bedroom, I’m not sure where to start. There’s a lot I’d like to say about this lascivious show but am barred on the grounds of moral decency... 

Alphonse by Wajdi Mouawad

Alphonse by Wajdi Mouawad

Watching Alphonse is like taking a trip to the cinema. There’s a slew of undeveloped characters, an indecipherable plot and popcorn everywhere. In fact the whole show is reminiscent of watching Donnie Darko... 

Phil Nichol: The Simple Hour

Phil Nichol: The Simple Hour

American comics like to please. They want everyone to have a good time all the time. They work the crowd. They radiate charisma. They want to know ‘How y’all doing tonight?’ While British stand-ups are renowned for their self-loathing, bad teeth and crowd-baiting, the Yanks simply yearn for you to smile with them... 

Late Night Gimp Fight!

Late Night Gimp Fight!

What makes for a memorable show? What transforms an enjoyable night out into an unforgettable experience? It’s not always possible to assess the permanence of a performance upon exiting the venue... 

Tim and Light

Tim and Light

This year’s Fringe has witnessed the rise of a new genre of children’s theatre: butterplot. Butterplot is the name given to a show that looks and sounds amazing ‘butterplot’ lets the whole thing down... 

Lewis Schaffer is Free Until Famous 18th Year

Lewis Schaffer is Free Until Famous 18th Year

Lewis Schaffer’s show is called Free Until Famous. That means that if he turns out to be any good, I’m supposed to urge you to go and see him before you have to queue around the block for the privilege... 

Baby Wants Candy
BOBBY WINNER

Baby Wants Candy

Like tightrope walking over the Niagara Falls, Baby Wants Candy is an ambitious concept: either it works or it ends up six miles downstream. Tonight, the cast are heroes. Tomorrow, they could be dredged from the drink... 

William

William

Having contrived to mix up my ‘C’s, I arrive late. When I open the door to the tiny theatre, it is to discover that William is already in full swing, or at least as full swing as this production gets... 

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Talk about selective memory. Whenever you hear the words ‘Hansel & Gretel’, the first image that pops into your head is a house made out of delectable sweets. ‘How nice. What fun... 

Jigsaw Jim

Jigsaw Jim

Jigsaw Jim is a Springboard Theatre Company production that follows the Disney rules of entertainment: goodies have to be whiter than white, baddies blacker than black and never the twain shall meet in the middle... 

Pop-Up! The Amazing Adventures of Moo-Dong

Pop-Up! The Amazing Adventures of Moo-Dong

The phrase ‘and much more’ has to be one of the laziest devices in the English language, appended onto sentences as a sign that the writer is bereft of ideas. Pop-Up! The Amazing Adventures of Moo-Dong, for example is ‘packed with puppets, video, dance, music and much more!’ True, there are puppets, video, dance and music throughout this Korean production, but there’s not much sign of much more... 

David Morgan: Triple Threat

David Morgan: Triple Threat

The man looks like a comedian. He sounds like a comedian. He even comports himself just like a comedian. There’s just one intractable problem that prevents Morgan from being the comedian be aspires to be: he’s not very funny... 

Katherine Ryan: Little Miss Conception

Katherine Ryan: Little Miss Conception

Is it possible to describe Katherine Ryan without using the word ‘sassy?’ No. Right, now we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can proceed with reviewing this sassy Canadian comic... 

Iain Stirling and Sean McLoughlin

Iain Stirling and Sean McLoughlin

What determines whether a comedian’s name will be remembered or forgotten? An ability to make people laugh is always an asset. If you’re capable of reducing your audience to a state where the acronym ROFL can no longer be considered hyperbole, they’ll remember your name... 

The Boom Jennies: Blowout

The Boom Jennies: Blowout

'A high quality all-female sketch group... a big future' claims the Boom Jennies poster. It may be right, but then doesn't every promo poster for every Fringe artist make the same claim? You're never urged you to 'catch them now before they're performing in a bus stop to a couple of comatose drunks'...