|Edinburgh : A&E : Festivals : Fringe Comedy|
None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
We are Klang in 'Klangbang'. (Page 77).
Drams None needed!
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Ritchie Smith.
Stupendous hilarity. Endless vitality and invention. You will die of laughter - but won't mind. Kill for a ticket! Etc.
You want more detail? Okay, the three Klang boys are an adults-only triple act that do sketches, slapstick, funny voices and expressions, cigar-smoking buttocks and community singing. They are incredibly energetic as performers - and great writers also. I am reviewing them again, and was slightly worried that they wouldn't be able to top last year's brilliant show. Imagine my pleasure when I found everything was new and that, incredibly, they do indeed better their 2005 entertainment.
It's even more physical and inventive than last year, with parodies of 'Darren Chilblain', mentalist, Tracey Emin, 'dribbling spastic', and a brilliant spoof World Insult Championship - with uninhibited audience participation. With world-class gurning, unceasing energy and spot-on comic timing, I honestly don't think this show could be bettered. And more! There's even a song which tells we men 'What Women Want', and though their wants are anatomically hard to do it's very, very funny to imagine...
©Ritchie Smith 9 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to August 27 at 20:40 every day, not 16th.
Company - We are Klang.
Why The Long Faces? (Page 78).
Venue Holyrood Tavern (Venue 84).
Address 9a Holyrood Rd.
Reviewer Ritchie Smith.
Why The Long Faces? is a sketch show taking place in a pub, picked at random by your reviewer on a 'give new faces a chance' basis, and I'm glad I did. This is good-natured comedy, delivered by two good-natured and likeable performers to an audience who clearly enjoyed themselves. The parodies always hit their targets, including 'Fun Mum', the HR uber-woman, Sales Manager man (an effective bit of cross-dressing here), and Swindon.
The two performers do monologues and two-handers, and occasionally bring in a token man. This is good, and in its almost-TV way could be very good. Admittedly, the clumping (and largely unnecessary) furniture-shifting between sketches spoiled the mood a little, and we need a few more killer quips and catchphrases - but the two starlets are clearly thinking hard about their show, and it was no surprise to me to learn from them that TV is already interested. So let's note for the record that Sally-Anne Hayward and Vicky Frango are already two inventive and engaging performers - and that there will be more to come.
(c)Ritchie Smith, 11 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com .
Runs to August 12 at 12:00 every day.
Company Why The Long Faces?
Wil Anderson - I Am The Wilrus (Page 78).
Venue Underbelly's Cow Barn (Venue 201).
Address Reid Hall, Reid Quad, Bristo Square.
Reviewer Rebecca Smith.
Aussie comedians are to the Fringe what special advisors are to the government - they're in abundance, people like to whinge about them, but they can be essential to the greater good of the people.
Wil Anderson is back on the comedy Fringe menu for the first time since his Perrier Newcomer nominated debut back in 1999. Rather than cashing in with follow-up appearances, he's stayed in his homeland, gaining popularity as a comedian/writer/broadcaster and radio host.
I Am The Wilrus presents his typical grinning, excitable run-off-the-mouth style complete with erratic tangents and stage-pacing delivery. He covers the usual collage of obligatory blokey humour - breastfeeding, pubic grooming, nipple transplants... yet contrasts this with his strong liberal leanings: the environment, animal testing, his Green Peace credit card. A lot of laughs come from his sharp take on current affairs, a strength owing to his former career as a journalist. His material is heavily scripted yet comes off like an amphetamine-enhanced stream-of-consciousness.
Since pressing permanent 'snooze' on those 5am wake up calls for his most well-known gig as JJJ breakfast radio host, Wil has channelled his ceaseless energy into writing new material and hitting the global stand-up circuit. He comes up trumps in the latter goal, but I'm sorry to report there was a distinct lack of freshness in this hour-long, chocker-block-to-the-brim show. This sense of familiarity stems from my being an avid 'Adam & Wil' breakfast show enthusiast, and seeing him once previously in the obscure surrounds of Sunshine Coast's Underwater World - but that was way back in 2004! To his credit, the packed Underbelly crowd of mostly Aussies (takes one to know one!) laughed enthusiastically at every punchline, pun and profanity-filled joke. I suspect they were homesick for their JJJ drive time days.
©Rebecca Smith 16 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 21:30 every day.
Company - Wil Anderson.
Company Website - www.wilanderson.com.au.
Will Smith - How To Be Cool.(Page 79).
Drams at most.
Venue Assembly at George Street (Venue 3).
Address Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street.
Reviewer Edmund Gould.
Will Smith thinks he's established a pretty watertight definition of exactly what it means to be cool. "As far as I see it", he suggests, "there's Johnny Depp - and the rest of us". Having seen and immensely enjoyed his show, How To Be Cool, I'd be inclined to offer a friendly amendment to that definition: there's Johnny Depp, the rest of us - and Will Smith. After all, anyone who admits to using the term "disci" to pluralise the discus has surely renounced any pretensions to being a style icon. On this evidence, however, fashion's loss is Edinburgh's gain .
Smith is gloriously uncool, and has crafted an entire show around this conceit. Not for him the heroin chic of Pete Doherty - Smith instead looks to the more statesmanlike John Le Carr and Frederick Forsythe for inspiration. Among his catalogue of confessions is a fascination with the Bond film Moonraker, a worrying familiarity with the Beano archive and an encyclopaedic knowledge of all three Terminator movies. His love life comes under intense scrutiny, and a hilarious flowchart diagram for chatting to girls goes down particularly well with the male section of the audience.
The show is a success largely due to the coherence of its theme - Smith knows his gameplan and sticks to it. He's hardly the most spontaneous of comedians, but his show generates consistent laughter throughout - a rare feat indeed. In a departure from his decidedly un-trendy manifesto, Smith embraces the modern vogue for using video and graphics for comic support, but such gimmicks never detract from his own self-deprecating performance. In a wonderful pre-filmed sequence, Smith imagines himself as a sort of film noir detective, chain smoking in an overcoat and putting on his best Al Pacino impression. It looks brilliantly stupid, but, for all his desperate attempts to be hip, he's not fooling anyone.
©Edmund Gould 13 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to 27 August every day (except 15 August) at 20:55.
Company - Mick Perrin Productions By Arrangement With Old Man Management.
The Witching Hour II: The Harum Scarum. (Page 79).
Venue Baby Belly. (Venue 88).
Address The Caves, Niddry St South, off Cowgate.
Reviewer Garry Platt.
The first version of this show was created last year and it was performed at the Pleasance Two Theatre, which for those who are not familiar with it is a large stage (by Edinburgh Fringe standards) with has steeply raked audience seating. It’s good, but it’s not ‘atmospheric’. Ewen MacIntosh’s latest incarnation of this show is now in the Baby Belly and a more ‘atmospheric’ stage for a series of ghost stories you could not find. The performance space is deemed to be one of the ten most haunted places in Britain, the venue is inside Edinburgh’s lost underground city.
The show consists of a series of ghost stories read to the audience and picked presumably for their brevity and impact. MacIntosh acts as the master of ceremonies and subtly creates the eerie conditions in which fear, intrigue and entertainment grow. Each show has two guests, who for the most part are drawn from the ranks of the myriad of comedians present in Edinburgh during these three weeks.
Comedians are by their training (if they’re good) masters of timing and story telling. Ghost stories especially require impeccable timing and generally that’s what you get, a well delivered series of monologues which typically induce a shiver down the spine. This is a good show to round the day off, it won’t disappoint.
©Garry Platt 7 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs 3-4,7-10,14-17, 21-24 August at 22:20. Runs 5-6,11,13,18-20,25-27 August at 22:00.
Company – Panda.
Company Website - www.pandaventures.co.uk.
WitTank: Pop Goes The iCulture. (Page 79).
Venue Rocket at Demarco Roxy Art House.(Venue 115).
Address Roxy Art House.
Reviewer Adam Baker.
WitTank is a great name for a comedy group, though unfortunately Pop Goes the iCulture is the not-so-great name for their show. Luckily this six-strong set from Durham University has more in common with its wickedly mischievous moniker; Pop Goes the iCulture is a breakneck and playful collection of sketches that enjoys toying with its audience. This troupe have clearly realized that by far the most exciting and popular innovations in sketch comedy have occurred on television; and it is the energy, speed and flexibility of television comedy that WitTank attempt to bring to the stage. Though a more established sketch group, such as Footlights maybe outperform newer acts in terms of polish, anyone watching their current show will see how difficult it is to seem fresh in the sketch comedy medium. WitTank have thrown out the rulebook, and the result is a more interesting show than you might expect.
The opening sketch of the show is astounding, so much so that I don't want to spoil it for people who may yet see it. Suffice to say the ease with which the sketch moves from the mundane to the surreal is a joy to behold. WitTank keep things moving with blisteringly fast skits, some literally 10 seconds long. Add to this a healthy dollop of song and dance and the sense of excitement is maintained for the entire hour. The audience in the performance I was at was a bit reserved in its applause, but this was probably due to the intimidating proximity of the performers at the Rocket's downstairs stage. The show contains some spectacular turns of phrase, which unfortunately reveal some of the other sketches to be a little underwritten. The most successful sketches are the ones where the performers themselves are having the most fun, and if WitTank were more trusting of their own instincts and made sure they maintained a level of dialogue they could really get their teeth into, then this would be a very impressive revue indeed.
©Adam Baker 13 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at 16:50 every day.
Company - WitTank.
Company Website - www.wittank.co.uk .