Pun Run

Pun Run is a simple idea: a load of comics and other acts (including a sketch group, musical numbers and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre) deliver short, condensed sets of puns, wordplay and other minor fetes of linguistic ingenuity. For one time only, it hit the Fringe with everything it has, as a charity gig in aid of Scope.

Curator and master of ceremonies Bec Hill warms up the crowd by getting us to practise both our laughter and our groans. It may be the only point in the show when the two are so clearly separated, nearly every line in this rapid-fire triumph of an evening eliciting equal levels of volume and excitement.

The show finds an ingenious way to push aside the constraints of narrative and theme, driving itself forward by form rather than content. It not only grants the audience ‘permission to laugh’, but fervent expectation to do so right from its premise. This is because puns offer a tightly wound spring of potential energy, for which laughter – and groaning – is the involuntary release.

The sets are at their best when either ingeniously detailed or relentlessly elaborate. The best at the former is Josie Long, whose pun-based review parodies are exquisitely formed. The most wonderfully excruciating of the latter are the Beta Males, whose Bee-based pun sketch could only get funnier, as they gluttonously piled on the puns in honey-dripped opulence.

For me the musical set by Axis of Awesome didn’t quite gel with the rest, their gimmick of replacing words in popular songs lacking the packed complexity of pun-based material. But I was in a firm minority. For many in the crowd it seemed to be the highlight of this joyful, chaotic pageant of linguistic trickery.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Britain's only pun-based comedy club hits the Fringe! A one night only, pun-orama of special guests including The Axis of Awesome, Phil Nichol and Sara Pascoe. Sold-out London run. Time Out Critic's Choice. Book early to avoid disappointment!

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