City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: The Stand Saturday Show

By Mhairi MacLeod - Posted on 11 November 2009

Compere Susan Morrison
Show Details
Susan Morrison (compere), Phil Differ, Elaine Malcolmson, Gary Little, Noel James
Running time: 

With a queue already forming long before the doors open and the box office announcing tonight's show is 'Sold Out', comedy lovers in Edinburgh clearly need little encouragement to sidle down to The Stand on a Saturday night.

Intimate, understated and with a tasty selection of food and drink as an edible accompaniment, it's no wonder this low-ceilinged and rather snug venue is a hit with comedians and punters alike. Arriving early to grab yourself a much-sought-after seat is advisable.

Compering this week's Saturday Show – a pick 'n' mix of comedy genius that changes on a weekly basis – is Susan Morrison who bursts onto the stage with the energy of a Blackpool hen party gone wrong. As if the long lost Glaswegian love child of Joan Rivers and Ruby Wax, Morrison careers from ruder to cruder and back again whilst unleashing a torrent of gags that – judging by the shaken heads and bursts of shocked laughter - are firmly rooted in the realm of 'everything you never want your mother to say.'

Walking into the somewhat unrelenting wake left by Morrison, the slower in pace first act - West Coast comedian Phil Differ - takes a moment for audience members to adjust to. However after Differ's tale of a 'space cake' fuelled weekend in Amsterdam takes full effect he suddenly gets into his stride and inadvertently proves his lumberjack attire makes him just as well equipped for splitting sides as it is logs.

The night adopts something of a home nations theme with the remaining acts hailing from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales; Morrison also does her best to bait any English left in the crowd.

While Welshman Noel James' serves up a well balanced routine of witty yet surreal gags, it's Elaine Malcolmson and Gary Little who prove the gems in this comedy crown. Malcolmson's laborious pace and monotonous drawl – not dissimilar to Simon Munnery  – has the audience in stitches as she delivers a cracking fifteen minute set peppered with gags on everything from quantum physics to the X-Factor.

One crowd-pleaser in particular is her deadpan discussion of Hallowe'en which – in Northern Ireland – isn't a big deal given “people running around the streets wearing masks demanding things doesn't just happen on one day of the year.”

Meanwhile, Scottish stand-up Gary Little manages to dodge the somewhat obligatory opening line of “Forgive me if you don't understand my accent” which started to feel a little redundant given the primarily Scottish audience.

Instead, Little deals a set inspired by Lerwick News, sex tapes and the pet insurance comparisons of a rabbit living in Cardiff and a rabbit living in Glasgow. The result – a superb blend of observational comedy and personal experience told by a man who really looks like he could have your knee caps for castanets. Not to be missed!

The Saturday Show happens weekly at The Stand - £13 – Doors @ 7pm / show @ 8.30pm