With a formidable line-up and a jam-packed room in the Stand’s main auditorium, the Alternative Comedy Experience was always going to be one of the most promising comedy events in the Fringe. Compered by experimental English stand-up Simon Munnery, the evening involved four of the finest stand-ups appearing at this year’s festival.
Munnery proved to be a reliable and entertaining host and amongst the usual audience patter, his own excellently deployed segments of stand-up were devilishly funny. Stewart Lee was the first act on stage and playing to his home crowd, Lee was on masterful form as the King of Alternative Comedy.
Gráinne Maguire, relatively new to the stand-up scene but already a solid performer, managed to impress the crowd with a successful slot, mixing tried-and-tested material from her show at the Underbelly with more experimental, political fare. Maguire’s eager, earnest delivery set her apart from the deadpan stance of the comics on call last night. Lee is an almost impossible act to follow, but Maguire still managed to garner a strong reaction from the audience.
Anti-comedian Edward Aczel, a veteran of the alternative comedy scene, slayed his audience with a brilliantly structured set. Handling an improv section with ease, Aczel’s brilliant comedy persona was both hilarious and awesome to watch. I can say with all honesty that I’ve never seen a comedian complete a flipchart SWOT analysis on stage before, but Aczel wields his marker pen like a weapon.
David Kay was last to the stage and despite dealing with a tired out audience, still managed to score a few direct comedy hits. His distinct, ultra-deadpan style made for an incredibly amusing set; though it rambled, seemingly at random, Kay provided a stirling comic performance.
For the discerning comedy fans mulling over the current crop of comedians populating this year’s Fringe catalogue, the Alternative Comedy Experience is the best place to go for guaranteed laughs.