From the moment Zach Zucker's comedy alter ego Jack Tucker walks out on stage to introduce Stamptown, the audience knows they're in for something truly special. Some shows claim to be the biggest and best party on the Fringe - this one actually delivers!
Some shows claim to be the biggest and best party on the Fringe - this one actually delivers!
Zach is truly an incomparable compere. As polished a physical comedian as one can hope to see, it's no surprise he was trained at the world's leading clown school, Gaulier. After ten Edinburgh Fringes, I can't recall seeing a host create such consistent laughter, and seeing his pratfalls is worth the entry fee alone. He generates justifiably huge reactions - climbing scaffolding, faking conflict with audience members, and establishing running gags embellished by epic sound effects - and holds us in the palm of his hand from the outset.
Even before the show starts, we're warmed up by the energetic roller-skating bubbler Dylan Woodley, with upbeat dance moves and two faceless backing dancers creating random mayhem to keep the audience a-buzzing.
Other acts on the bill include the spellbindingly energetic burlesque hula hooper Anna Fisher; quirky anticomedian Ikechukwu Ufomadu, who promises to be one of the breakthrough acts of this Fringe; and quality musical comedy character Michelle Brasier. There are also random interventions from audience plants, an act who desparately wants to come out and 'be spooy' for a couple of minutes, and a recurring live reviewer who lampoons the show at various intervals.
Aside from Tucker, there are two real stand-out acts - among the biggest names in live physical comedy right now. Firstly, Courtney Pauroso, whose malfunctioning sex robot character Vanessa 5000, is as convincing and hilarious a robot as a human is capable of being. As with most impeccable physical comedy, prose cannot do her justice, and if you're intrigued then pop Vanessa 5000 high on your watchlist as it's guaranteed to be a humdinger.
This applies doubly so to the headline act - 2017 Best Newcomer, Powerpuff Girl and future comedy legend Natalie Palamides. Her set The Virgin - too gruesome to even give an overview here, caused outbursts of hysterics and a dry heave or two, such is Natalie's way. She isn't performing her own show this year, but her directorial debut The Amazing Banana Brothers should be on everyone's radar.
In a festival where many mixed bill shows try half-heartedly to put together a genuine party experience, Stamptown succeeds where others fail. If you want a good time on a weekend evening this August, Zach and his team will tick all your boxes, and then some.