At It @ 6.15

As a thick fog sat low in Edinburgh, a mix of stern teacher and eccentric relative greeted me at the entrance to The Phoenix. The lady with Cleo Rocos hair – Janet Bettesworth - matronly ushered me downstairs to watch a varying mix of Fringe participants perform short routines.We were a sparse audience – maybe some were lost to the mists of town – mainly made up of the acts performing, so compere Janet proposed this will be ‘a kind of workshop’ instead of a straight-up stand-up show.

First on tonight was Alasdair Beckett-King, trying out his set ahead of his turn in the So You Think You’re Funny final. I’d seen Alasdair before in his late night show The Men Who Stare At Jokes, so I’d already heard him cover veganism and his biblical looks. He’d gone down a storm then, but it’s testament to how much a comedian feeds off audience response because this time his performance felt a little lacklustre.

Next was Tim Wilderspin, prefacing his bit by telling us he’s only had two hours’ sleep. His thoughts on customer service staff being over-friendly is done a lot better by other comedians. He’s not exactly my cup of tea – which I like strong and soothing. This was weak in substance and jarring.Then there’s Beckett-King’s The Men Who Stare At Jokes stablemate Ian Lane. Likeable enough, Lane asked me if I’ve seen him before- when I tell him I have he says he will try out some new stuff. He uses the room and bizarre noises coming from outside the door to riff. He’s sharp and it feels like the show is getting back on track.

Declan Kennedy was the fourth comic on and the new material he showed us will – once honed – be rather brilliant. The small audience loved his hobby that involves Star Wars figures.Between each act, Bettesworth got everyone involved in games such as ‘Bucket List Bingo’ where she read a poem and we had to count off the fingers of each hand if we had experienced each thing. The first to ten had to tell a story about one of the things on the list, before winning sweets.To wrap up, Bettesworth tells a humourous story involving some rather insalubrious activities. Somewhat like a dotty aunt, I love her manner and her delivery but her material is a bit too blue for my delicate ears.

Though there were only a couple of us in the audience who weren’t one of the acts on the bill, I feel not enough of them put their hearts into it. It may be a little dispiriting to perform to one or two, but doesn’t a comedian have a duty to bring their words to life every time?In summary: Rather foggy and murky with a slight chance of warm fronts.

Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

The Blurb

At it? We're all at it - eh? Aren't we, eh? Eh? No? Well, we are - every day @ 6.15! Come in out the rain - eh? It's free - see? And rainproof. What's stopping you? Eh?

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