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Will Adamsdale: Facetime (4 stars)

  • Brian Donaldson
  • 23 August 2019

Will Adamsdale: Facetime

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A comedic masterclass about shame and regret as a former winner plays the ultimate loser

Sometimes you look around a busy Fringe room or stand in a packed queue before a show and wonder how such a large gathering has been drawn to a relatively unknown act. Conversely, when only seven people slope into a spacious room to see a former Perrier Award winner, something doesn’t quite add up. There’s probably an old pub joke to be made about the fact that on this day, there were three Edinburgh Comedy Award winners in a room, one on stage and two in the audience.

At times, when you hear Will Adamsdale’s story of failed ambitions and the way in which lives don’t turn out exac现金捕鱼棋盘tly as you imagine they might, it’s tempting to picture him physically stopping people from attending in order to maximise the pathos of his hour. What people are missing is very close to a masterclass as Adamsdale wraps himself around his mic stand, his life contorting out of all control. This is mainly down to the three-year-old son who appears to have his father living in complete acquiescence while his wife carries on her Netflix binges without him.

Emasculated by his offspring and spouse, as well as the puppet who is blamed for taking away a major employment opportunity, Facetime produces anecdotal nuggets which absolutely drip with shame and embarrassment. Still funny for any audience, but with a couple of his comedy brethren in the room, the recurring sequences about his victory at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe, and the way in which glories recede through time, goes down a storm. It barely needs saying, but why more people are not sampling Will Adamsdale’s Facetime is a total mystery.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug, 6pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).

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Spencer Jones: The Things We Leave Behind (3 stars)

  • Brian Donaldson
  • 22 August 2019

Spencer Jones: The Things We Leave Behind

credit: Jonathan Birch

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Props and pranks that keep the world’s woes away for an hour

‘It’s a bi捕鱼2018现金t silly’. Handed a slot on the Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist for The Things We Leave Behind, Spencer Jones has surely already nabbed the much fought-over Understatement of 2019 Prize. Silly is one word for his act, total escapism are two more. There’s no limit to his prop invention (he sticks all manner of objects onto and into his face), with a stage that’s absolutely littered with artworks, and bits and pieces of stuff that don’t even get a mention during the hour.

Although this is largely meaningless fare, there are troubles to be found within the narrative. We appear to all be in Jones’ house as he comes back late at night and contemplating his comedy future. He’s probably going to avoid the Edinburgh Fringe this year, though his wife seems keen for him to go. Can he support a family on his comedic earnings and what happens when you put pretend eyeballs into your actual eyes?

Halfway through, two small children are taken to the toilet by a grown-up woman. At the end, they are revealed to be Jones’ actual family; quite what they make of seeing their dad in full daft flow while being laughed at by strangers will probably come out in the wash down the years. For now, their pop is a Fringe cult who keeps reeling in the crowds desperate for some light relief to ward off the horrors of this world. And to see how many pairs of glasses one man can fit onto his head.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 5.45pm, 23 Aug, 3.15pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).

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Tom Taylor: Is the Indie Feel-Good Hit of the Summer (3 stars)

  • Lauren McKay
  • 23 August 2019

汉中真人捕鱼金币换现金可提现Tom Taylor: Is the Indie Feel-Good Hit of the Summer

credit: Steve Ullathorne

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Quickfire one-liners and endearing songs fill a pleasing hour

Tom Taylor lets the audience know exactly what they can expect from his show right from the start. There’s no overarching theme, no sad bits and no politics; this is just an hour of jokes and songs. When almost every stand-up show at the Fringe comes with a side-helping of morality, it’s refreshing to see an hour of comedy without an agenda.

From then on in, Taylor doesn’t stop. He shoots out one-liner after one-liner, some of which are accompanied by music, and some which aren’t. Perhaps inevitably when there are so many gags crammed into an hour, some are a hit with the audience, while others don’t quite land. But that’s perfectly OK, and Taylor doesn’t dwell on it; he just cracks on with the next quickfire gag.

Taylor is best when he’s playing around with language. His puns and wordplay get an equal number of groans as they do laughs, and the sheer number of them makes you wonder what the inside of his head must look like. Taylor is endearing and hugely likeable, with a slightly nervous stage presence that could be part of his schtick. Even when the quips don’t manage to work, the audience is on his side across a very enjoyable hour.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 6pm, £10 (£9).

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So You Think You’re Funny? comedy competition crowns its 2019 winner

  • Sofia Matias
  • 23 August 2019

So You Think You're Funny? comedy competition crowns its 2019 winner

From left to right: Shane Daniel Byrne, Charlie George, guest judge Jenny Éclair and Finlay Christie

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Finlay Christie takes home the prestigious Gilded Balloon award

After a series of competitive nationwide heats, 19-year-old student Finlay Christie has come out on top and been named the winner of the 32nd edition of So You Think You’re Funny?, the premier comedy talent search show in the UK.

Founded by Karen Koren in 1988, many household comedy names had their start through the competition, including Ivo Graham, Tom Allen, Miles Jupp and Peter Kay. Coors Light and The List supported this year’s search, with the grand final compered by the 2004 finalist Zoe Lyons. The panel of judges was comprised of Karen and Katy Koren (Artistic Directors of the Gilded Balloon), Susan Provan (Director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival), Bruce Dessau (Beyond the Joke), Helen Hawkins (The Sunday Times Culture Editor) and special guest Jenny Éclair.

Finlay Christie took home a grand prize of £2500 in cash, the opportunity to perform at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival 2020, a slot in Gilded Balloon’s programme for the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe, a professio有没有捕鱼游戏金币换现金nal headshot photoshoot by Steve Ullathorne, professional footage of his grand final performance and mentorship and support from Karen Koren and the So You Think You’re Funny? team.

First runner-up Shane Daniel Byrne was awarded a prize of £1500, with Charlie George pocketing £1000 as second runner-up. Claire Haus, Denis Len, Erika Ehler, Fady Kassab, Kate Bancroft and Kate McGann rounded up the talented group of grand finalists.

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Steff Todd: Reality Check (2 stars)

  • Murray Robertson
  • 23 August 2019

Steff Todd: Reality Check

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A warm host with some lukewarm impressions that often confuse

As she openly admits herself, there’s no theme to Steff Todd’s debut Fringe show. Reality Check is a modest showcase to display her varying talents as an impressionist, so it’s a shame that the characters she covers are so few in number and niche in nature. After some affable banter and jokes to establish that she really really enjoys a drink, Todd kicks off with Lorraine Kelly (passable) before completing a morning-TV hat-trick with Holly Willoughby (iffy) and Janet Street-Porter (an octave too high). Other impressions are much more successful, particularly X Factor Judges Cheryl Cole and Sharon Osbourne, despite the fact that neither has graced that show for years.

The light material focuses heavily on structured reality TV shows so fans of Made in Essex, Love Island and Keeping Up with the Kardashians will find plenty to like. And even someone who didn’t see a single frame of this year’s Love Island can still appreciate Todd’s skill in imitating its various characters. However, many of her references are vanishingly esoteric. After establishing that almost no one in the room has even heard of The Real Housewives of Cheshire, she nevertheless plods on regardless, to the vague amusement of just two audience members. Reality Check isn’t very funny but Todd is a warm host and some of her voices are impressive. As her skills mature, expect to see them put to much better use.

Just the Tonic at The Caves注册现金捕鱼拉霸送金币, until 25 Aug, 2pm, £5 in advance or donations at the venue.

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Tarot (4 stars)

  • Brian Donaldson
  • 23 August 2019

Tarot

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Sketch heaven as a talented trio raise hell and hilarity

The perfect show to perform and witness in a late-night sweaty attic, it will be interesting to see how the Tarot trio fare with their extra dates in a much bigger room at lunchtime. Ed Easton and Kath Hughes from Gein’s Family Giftshop have teamed up with Goose man Adam Drake, and his bug-eyed physicality allied to their finely tuned sense of what can be both horrible and hilarious makes for deliciously dark results.

Each night could potentially be different as the scenes they act out are based on their audience’s loud prompting (in a Play Your Cards Right style) of the numbered tarot cards hanging at the back of the room. Hughes gets it in the neck (face and eyes) as the opening two routines that are chosen end up with her being a very messy victim on both occasions and left to stay the course of the hour in her drenched 用现金玩的捕鱼叫什么white cassock. She is reasonably chipper about this, and the overall vibe of the evening is of three performers having just as much fun as the hyped-up crowd; rarely does a sketch go by without each one breaking character to discuss how things will play out, and occasionally attempting to undermine one another’s confidence.

With director Kiri Pritchard-McLean watching from the wings, the gang race through the skits which hit their targets far more often than not. A lengthy joke about a man not catching his new girlfriend’s name and then trying to surreptitiously discover it over the course of years takes a demonic and wholly unexpected turn for its punchline. The show continues in this open vein until the finale where the devil himself invades the stage with a note-perfect merging of the comedic and the horrific.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 10.45pm, 23 & 24 Aug, 1.30pm, £9–£10 (£8.50–£9.50).

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Sam Haygarth: Climate Crisis (3 stars)

  • Murray Robertson
  • 23 August 2019

Sam Haygarth: Climate Crisis

credit: Snowflake Foxtrot

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Polemical storytelling that struggles to find the comedic

As the pun-free title suggests, Climate Crisis is no barrel of laughs. Performer Sam Haygarth describes it as ‘a comedy show about climate change’, and while there are laughs scattered throughout, this is really a piece of personal storytelling infused with ferocious polemic. We quickly learn that our host was recently up in court after supergluing his hand outside a fossil-fuel conference, and from there he looks back over the events that led to his arrest.

Haygarth explains how, after an epiphany about the environment, he stumbled upon protest group du jour Extinction Rebellion who, at the time, were practically unheard of. He is vehemently passionate about the environment, furiously articulating his frustration about what’s happening to the world around him, and when he quotes an indigenous tribe leader desperately explaining that the tiniest rise in global temperature will eradicate everyone she knows, her plight renders the room silent.

There’s a pleasing cadence to Climate Crisis with lighting changes signifying swingeing shifts in mood. This helps maintain the audience’s focus throughout a show which veers at the drop of a hat from the end of humankind to funny French voices. But while Haygarth employs humour to help keep us on board, the moribund state of contemporary politics looms large over proceedings, and as a piece of comedy, it’s lacking. Ultimately, Haygarth can’t hide his fear that this endeavour is already doomed. But he’ll carry on doing what he can, hoping to inspire others to join the cause before it’s too late.

Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 25 Aug, 6.35pm, donations at the venue.

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Sex Shells (3 stars)

  • Lauren McKay
  • 23 A现金捕鱼游戏软件下载ugust 2019

Sex Shells

credit: Tom & Denelle Ellis

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Great songs but lacklustre sketches from talented trio

Sex Shells, London’s campest comedy cabaret trio, is comprised of Dr LeStrange, Callum Mac and That Woman Rosie. They appear on stage as a riot of glitter and fabulous costumes, with Dr LeStrange in a wheelchair after breaking his ankle in three places. This is the first night they’ve performed with the addition of a wheelchair, and while it doesn’t hamper their fantastic vocal performances, you get the feeling there would usually be more of a physical element to the show, with dancing probably accompanying the tunes.

They showcase their talents for singing a range of tunes. Some are covers of classics, including rewritings of ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘Beauty School Dropout’ from Grease, whilst they’ve penned a few numbers themselves. The subject matters are as diverse as the tunes themselves, ranging from how to be an ally, to the dangers of climate change. The songs are fantastic, with witty lyrics and fantastic performances from all three members. Where the hour falls short, however, is with the sketches in between the musical moments. These pieces don’t stand up to the humour of the songs, and generally fall flat with the audience, who can’t get enough of the rest of the show.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug, 9pm, £11 (£10).

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Nick Doody: I Will Milk You (2 stars)

  • Lauren McKay
  • 23 August 2019

Nick Doody: I Will Milk You

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A disjointed set from a talented performer that dips occasionally into the overly familiar

Nick Doody spends the first sixth of his show explaining what its title means. The meandering explanation is a strange way to start a stand-up hour, and the punchline isn’t worth it for the time we’ve spent getting there. His sidesteps into a story about ultrasounds is much funnier, offering a glimpse of what this experienced comic is more than capable of.

Doody is an animated and enthusiastic performer, despite a somewhat lacklustre crowd, who are sprawled around the room in this hard-to-find venue. He’s been reading a book about small talk, and this titbit offers a framework for the next section. As instructed by the book, he reveals embarrassing anecdotes about himself which all get laughs from the audience, and it feels like we’re back on even ground.

But then Doody abandons the small-talk construct, and moves to his keyboard for a thinly veiled political song about space worms. The remainder of I Will Milk You focuses on Trump, May and Johnson and whilst some of his observations here are fresh (notably a quip about the US president and D-Day veterans), much of it feels rather hackneyed. Doody manages to shoehorn in another song before the end, closing a disjointed hour. That the show is so muddled is frustrating, as there are hints of real humour and talent throughout.

Liquid Room Annexe, until 24 Aug, 9.15pm, donations at the venue.

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Olga Koch: If / Then (4 stars)

  • Lauren McKay
  • 23 August 2019

Olga Koch: If / Then

credit: James Deacon

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Highly engineered and funny set about sexism and science

Olga Koch is Russian, a woman, and a computer scientist, with her show being about all of those things. She explores一比一现金捕鱼注册送 the inherent misogyny in treating women who, like her, work in typically male fields as something different or something to applaud. This exploration is framed in a two-fold narrative about her first love, as well as the titular if / then concept which is key to computer programming.

If that all sounds a bit serious, it’s not. Koch is a peppy performer and gets a lot of laughs from a full house as she fires off joke after joke. With strong gags and a tight structure, Koch unsurprisingly comes off as very confident as she quips about Michael Bublé, her handsome brother, her ex’s fiancée and more. She regularly cracks up at her own jokes, and there are enough sidebars to add a feeling of spontaneity despite the thoroughly engineered routine.

The ending is the only part of the show that falls flat, as Koch puts her tech skills to use in order to cap things off with big message. It’s overly sentimental which jars compared to the laugh-a-minute hour just gone by. Her use of tech to deliver this message is superfluous: she’s got enough talent that she doesn’t need props as a crutch.

Monkey Barrel, until 25 Aug, 4.30pm, £7 in advance or donations at the venue.

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