Edinburgh Review: CoolFun Comedy

There’s plenty of free comedy on offer in Edinburgh during the Festival, and it’s worth taking the time to see ‘CoolFun Comedy’, featuring a young and energetic quartet of stand up comedians with more wit and skill than many of the more experienced comedians on the Free Fringe. Particular highlights include compère Ed Gamble, who improvises with a great spontaneous wit and banters confidently with the audience to get things warmed up, and Nish Kumar, whose skilful delivery and intelligently constructed set rounds the gig off nicely. It’s not exceptional comedy by any means, and all of the youthful performers are still finding their feet as comedians, but it is a fun stand up show that’s free to see.

3/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: Mazaika In Cabaret

It’s rare to see a two-person band fill a room quite like Mazaika. In little under an hour, they took the small but appreciative audience on a dizzying musical world tour, beginning with Russian folk music and taking in tango, jazz, gypsy and even Italian opera along the way. Igor Outkine’s versatile work on the electric accordion was impressive, but Sarah Harrison’s fiendishly quick work on the violin provided the real highlights of the evening; the finale of ‘Lark’, where her violin seemed to burst into birdsong and be on the verge of taking flight, was exquisite. To listen to Mazaika is to hear a triumphant celebration of world music, played with wit, passion and virtuoso skill.

4/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: WitTank

Sharp suits, smooth performers. The well-presented comic quartet that is WitTank put on a polished, energetic but erratically-written hour of comedy in this zany sketch show. The four of them have great confidence and natural chemistry, working slickly together to keep the laughs coming. The performances are usually quite a way ahead of the quality of the writing, however, with many sketches relying more on the relentless energy of the cast than on a witty script to deliver the laughs. This said, they are fun to watch, and they had the audience howling throughout most of the show. Worth seeing, if only for the ball-breakingly funny Lord Nelson sketch.

3/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: Godley’s World

Janey Godley starts the gig as she means to go on, chatting casually to you as you enter and preparing you for an wonderfully informal hour of stand-up comedy. She neatly avoids being pigeonholed as a ‘female’ or ‘working-class’ comic, offering earthy humour, pragmatic insight and a good-natured optimism that falls into no niche but her own. I sometimes wished for a few more big laughs in a set that’s consistently enjoyable rather than laugh-out-loud funny, but she’s such an engaging and likeable character that it’s a pleasure to spend an hour in her company. Janey is witty, warm and wise, and you won’t be disappointed with a visit to ‘Godley’s World’.

3/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: Join The Stand Up Freemasons

It’s the ache in your throat from forcing the laughter out that lets you know you’ve just seen some mediocre stand-up, and that was the sensation I had after watching this hit and miss show. Seeing four stand-ups in an hour keeps things fresh, but with some of the comics struggling to fill even a fifteen-minute slot with good jokes, this was certainly stand-up from the lower end of the comedy food chain, with most of the laughs given grudgingly by a forgiving audience. Not a bad afternoon show if you’ve got a few pints in your belly, but even for free, there is much better comedy to be had at the Festival.

2/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: The Beta Males Picnic

Fizzing with energy and a manic inventiveness, ‘The Beta Males Picnic’ is a delightfully daft way to get your lunchtime fix of comedy. This comedy quartet play off the crowd and each other with natural ease, attacking the well-constructed sketches with a fearless confidence and great comic timing. Their surreal brand of slapstick has been practised and polished until it shines, and their use of recurring sketches, especially the gloriously funny moon-landing ones, and a short comic play at the end gives the show a sense of structure that it might otherwise lack. Fresh, fun, and free to see, there’s really no reason not to go and enjoy ‘The Beta Males Picnic’.

4/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: The Sociable Plover

Bird watching, like play watching, is a pastime of patient observation in the hope of witnessing the miraculous. Unfortunately, there’s little worth seeing in this clumsy black comedy. Two men meet in a bird hide in the small hours of the morning, one of them hoping to observe the elusive sociable plover, the other just wanting to get out of the rain. Both have secrets to conceal. There is the odd good line, but the show ditches observational comedy and lurches wildly into farce in the final act, throwing in guns, time bombs, and a villainous monologue in a vain attempt to generate some excitement. The playwright should have learnt from the bird watchers; sometimes observation is better than action.

2/5

This review was originally published here.

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