The Best of the Fest, which on this occasion was compèred by Lee Nelson, is a chance for Edinburgh-goers to get a taste of the top-rated acts in the festival.
The first minute of Andrew Lawrence’s vehemently dark set actually scared me a little due to his ridiculously strange Orville The Duck voice. His ‘life is shit’ routine, although a typical topic for a comedian, was definitely the best I’d ever heard on the topic and the audience loved it. Very funny.
Marcus Brigstocke (complete with brand new limp) was solid and political, as ever. There was something about him however that was reminiscent of a Dad trying to be ‘down with the kids’, no thanks to his rudeboy impression that was almost too accurate to be ironic. His ‘Greece and Germany as nightclub goers’ bit (Greece as the desperate and confused clubbers, Germany as the menacing DJs playing music too fast to keep up with) went down an absolute storm with the audience, however and he was well-enjoyed by all.
American double-act The Pajama Men were somewhat awkwardly received by the audience, particularly at first. Part of this, I imagine, had been due to Lee Nelson’s incessant America jokes. The Pajama Men’s humor was also very surreal, something which was rather unexpected by the audience. Perhaps a better introduction from the two was needed. The whole thing felt silly, stilted, confusing and a little under-rehearsed.
There isn’t really much to be said about the fourth act, David Quirk. He was intense, Australian and told some very rude jokes, but on the whole was not particularly memorable.
Jarlath Regan was a wonderful way to end the show. He was light-hearted, friendly and the best part was his wonderful impression of himself trying to eat crisps whilst taking his wife’s news seriously.
The show as a whole was a tad lack-lustre and definitely didn’t do much to lift a tired audience’s spirit. Based on all the other variety shows I’ve seen, this far from the Best of the Fest.