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NEWS & REVIEWS 2014

This page contains the latest news stories and reviews for The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival so keep checking back on this page to find out what's happening, and which shows are the ones not-to-miss....

July 25, 2014 Daily Mail
Article about Dave Griffiths: C U IN COURT (CNUT v FCUK)
Best jokes of Edinburgh Fringe 2014
 Click Here

July 25, 2014  
Review of The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton
First review
 Click Here

July 25, 2014 ThreeWeeks
Article about Lexicon Lady: A Woman of Lovely Letters
Nadia Brooks: Speaking about the words
Nadia Brooks is a ‘lexophile’ with a passion for
rhyming, alliteration and entertaining words; and she’s
coming to Edinburgh as the Lexicon Lady, promising
an hour of wordplay, with plenty of poetry, prose and
puns, and some free Love Hearts along the way.
A journalist by trade, Brooks arrived with her first
spoken word show at the Free Festival last August,
returning with a brand new show this year. We spoke
to the lady of lovely letters about taking her words off
the page, her dabblings with stand-up, and what we can
expect from the new show.

TW: I do “absolutely adore
alliteration, think rhyme is sublime
and like being foonsped spoolfuns
of spoonerisms”, as your blurb puts
it. So basically your new show is just
for people like me?

NB: Brilliant! Shall we start a ‘Fight
Club’ style organisation for like-
minded lexophiles? Although as we
wouldn’t be able to talk about it, we
might come a bit p-unstuck. Though
I do reckon there are plenty more
of the likes of you and I around here
than folks are letting on. I think a lot
of citizens secretly enjoy a good pun.
Words are fun. They’re very popular
with the populace. Also, Swizzels
Matlow have sent me a crate full of
Love Hearts to give away at the show,
so if that doesn’t get people excited,
well, I don’t know what will.

TW: You’ve undertaken an eclectic
range of creative projects, though
you seem most prolific as a
journalist. So what attracted you to
spoken word?

NB: I suppose journalism is my ‘day
job’ and a privileged day job it is too,
as I get to interview a lot of interesting
people and many personal heroes.
Though so far not Professor Stephen
Hawking, who I’d love to interview.
From an early age I knew I wanted
to spend my life writing and so I
would create humourous poetry.
My earliest gig was with a friend,
we took to the steps of one of the
primary school mobile classrooms
during dinner break and sang a
song I’d written. My teacher made us
perform it again to our classmates.
It was called ‘Pocket Fluff’. It was all
about that mysterious substance
that inexplicably appears inside
garments. It’s the dark matter inside
the black holes of haberdashery. I
know that doesn’t exactly make sense
but I love the word haberdashery.
Everyone does don’t they? I also like
mamihlapinatapai, saudade, fernweh
and jaunty.

TW: Is delivering your words in
public easier or harder than writing
an article and posting it into the
ether?

NB: It’s definitely much harder, so to
anyone who’s going to come along,
please be gentle with me. First and
foremost I consider myself a writer
and not a performer. For me the pen is
mightier than the s(poken)word. I feel
my written words speak better than I
do. Actually, I’d love to write things for
others to perform.

TW: Last Fringe you performed a
show telling stories of your travels
in America. How did that go?

NB: Brilliantly. It was my debut Fringe
show so I didn’t know if anyone would
turn up. I seemed to be a hit with the
Countdown viewership, students
and mature adults. It was an accident
that I did it. I’d written a book about
the 6000-mile solo American road
trip I did two years ago and a friend
who had performed at Edinburgh
suggested I do a show about it. I’m
currently looking for a publisher for
the book by the way, so if anyone
fancies the idea of a book that I like to
think blends Michael Palin, Professor
Brian Cox, Alan Bennett and Nelly Bly
please get in touch!

TW: Back to ‘Lexicon Lady’, where
did the idea for the new show come
from?

NB: I love how words weave meaning
thanks to the bountiful tapestry of
language. It’s better than the one in
Bayeux and not as moth-eaten. Also
I’m hoping the show might come to
the attention of Susie Dent, the word-
loving woman’s word woman. It’s my
dream to be her apprentice or even
just make her a cuppa really.

TW: The blurb promises poetry,
prose and puns. Is that the
alliteration thing again, or do all
three appear? How does it work?
Did you write the show in one go,
or does it bring together existing
poems and ponderings?

NB: There will be pithy poems,
poignant prose and perky puns as well
as a litter of alliteration.
Like many writers I always have a
notebook with me to note down
musings. I must look so quaint as
I’m scribbling away with such old-
fashioned implements. So the show is
a melded mass of messy meditations
made magnificent.

TW: Presumably you enjoyed your
Edinburgh Fringe stint last year?
What attracted you back?

NB: Indeed I did. Edinburgh is glorious.
It’s one of the best cities in the world,
probably even the universe, although
I bet the capital of Tatooine is a
blast, especially that cantina. When
I wasn’t watching the films of 007
as a youngster I used to listen to my
dad’s ‘Beyond The Fringe’ LP. So to be
lucky enough to be immersed in the
ace-ness of the Edinburgh Festival
is about as exciting as being a Bond
girl. I’m also hoping someone might
bring me a kaleidoscope which is
why I’ve referred to one in my blurb.
Kaleidoscopes really are spectacular.
A rainbow supernova in a twisty hand-
held tube - how do they do it?!

TW: Our reviewer last year said
your show “walks the line between
spoken word and very gentle
stand-up”. You’ve done some more
straight up comedy as well, I think.
Would you consider doing a show in
the Fringe’s comedy programme?

NB: My first ever stand-up gig was at
the Comedy Store in LA a few years
ago. It went quite well so I did open
mic nights in the States for a while
when I was over there doing script
supervising on feature films. Curiously
it led to me doing a French voiceover
for a Sarah Silverman sketch, which
was sadly ditched because I sounded
too young. I did more stand-up again
this year at Riot LA, an alternative
comedy festival in Los Angeles, and
was second runner-up in my heat of
Foster’s South Coast Comedian Of The
Year competition in May, which I didn’t
expect. The stand-up thing is more
just about having another avenue for
my words to wander down. Though
I’m probably too ‘young Thora Hird
meets The Littlest Hobo’ to be allowed
in the Fringe’s comedy section.

TW: You’re back as part of the Free
Festival. How did you find that
last year? Were the Free Festival
audience’s generous?

NB: The Free Festival is champion. Last
year the audience was very generous
- I donated all my bucket money to the
Make-A-Wish Foundation and so we
were able to fulfil a few wishes. This
year any loose change the audience
care to give will go to charity again.

TW: What are your top three
spoonerisms?

NB: First: A spoonerism evokes
laughter, shared laughter is common
ground and common ground is
grounds for peace. Which is why the
spoonerism balked into a war.
Second: When the ape tried to climb
to the highest bed, but he misjudged it
and fell instead, his monkey business
turned into bunky miss-ness.
And last but not least, Spam and June
of course!

‘Lexicon Lady: A Woman of Lovely Letters’
is on at Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
from 31 Jul until 9 Aug. Click Here

July 24, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about The Crossroads
3 minute Interview
 Click Here

July 23, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Seriously Now!
The Petra Kindler Three Minute Interview

Tell us about your new Edinburgh Fringe show.

Same old, same old: German woman moves to Ireland, starts hearing pushy voices in her head, decides not to argue with them (because that would be mental, right?) but rather do exactly what they tell her and go into literary translation.

One day she is asked to give a talk about her line of work. Woman says fine, I’ve never given a talk before, why not; then proceeds to startle her audience with a rather peculiar life story instead. Because it’s a free event, people can’t demand their money back. Instead they laugh and cry and jump to their feet and demand more! The same keeps happening, even in bigger theatres and with paying audiences. The woman thinks: Seriously Now! Did these Irish people just pay a German to make them laugh? And cry? Now that is proper mental!

The woman sits down to collect her thoughts. Next thing she knows, she has applied for and been offered a slot at the Free Festival. Now she is preparing to make a Big Bang in Edinburgh, which kind of runs in the family (her brother-in-law, after all, is Sergeant Dave Beveridge, the chap who fires the one o’clock gun at Edinburgh Castle). You know yourself… that kind of story.


Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?

Some time ago I’d been hit by a car (bear with me). Luckily for me, the driver was insured and guilty as fuck. The idea of taking Seriously Now! to Edinburgh coincided with the arrival of the injury compensation cheque. I went online to investigate my options and realised that I might be able to save an arm and a leg – again! Laughing Horse seemed to be the least dogmatic and most pragmatic of the free festival organisers, and so far I have found them to be very helpful and professional.

How do you describe your comedy to those that might not have seen you before?

Angela’s Ashes meets Angela Merkel: a confessional comedy performance on the joys and perils of cross-cultural creative work, on surviving homemade hurricanes – and on the challenging concept of having fun with a Hun.
Also touching on lighter issues such as the Inquisition, polka dots, stylish lesbian graphic designers, the difference between dental braces and therapy and a coerced visit to Ireland leading to romance, emigration and receiving robust nocturnal career advice from disembodied voices

Or in short: layered storytelling with lots of twist and turns and laughs and gulps. Intact attention spans required.


What advice would you give your seventeen year old self?

Fine, move in with that guy. But don’t marry him, you little twit!


If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

I want, I want, I want… David O’Doherty, Maysoon Zayid, Steven K. Amos, Sarah Millican, Omid Djalili, Bill Bailey, Jimeoin, Erwin Grosche, Reginald D. Hunter, Shappi Khorsandi, Sanjeev Bhaskar – heck, and James McAvoy because he is unsettlingly sexy and funny.
 Click Here

July 22, 2014 The List
Article about BattleActs Improvised Comedy
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars



BattleActs, Austentatious and more quiz the Whose Line is it Anyway? host



Source: The List
Date: 22 July 2014
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars


As the stage version of iconic improv TV show Whose Line is it Anyway? debuts in Edinburgh, some rising stars of the adlibbing scene chuck questions at its cheeky host, Clive Anderson

David Allison, This is Your Trial: As an ex-lawyer, you will appreciate that what appears as a witty adlib may actually be the result of anticipating the responses of ‘witnesses’ or improv participants and some carefully planned prompts: how much is this cheating?
Clive: If you are cross-examining a witness or interviewing a guest, it is sensible to think what they may answer so you are ready with a follow-up question if necessary .Or a joke. The same could be true to a lesser extent in improv. I wouldn’t call it cheating to try to anticipate what might come up, but it is generally easier to come up with things as you go along.

BattleActs: If you could remove one thing from the world of improv what would it be?
Clive: The three Rs: repetition, repetition, repetition.

Baron Sternlook: In long-form improv, how important is it to be funny in comparison to creating a satisfying storyline?
Clive: As with everything in life, it is important to keep a balance. On a TV or radio programme you want to keep the jokes coming thick and fast, or the audience will switch off or turn over. In a longer form of improv, in the theatre say, you can take your time to develop a scenario but you hope to build to something satisfying to justify the time taken. But a joke or two along the way also helps.

Blind Mirth: What’s the least expected way improv has helped you in real life?
Clive: It allowed me to appear on radio and television.

The Cleek: What are you most looking forward to about reforming the show for Edinburgh?
Clive: I love the excitement of appearing in front of a live audience and working with a bunch of quick-witted performers.

Joe, Austentatious: How do I tell Rachel about my romantic feelings for her without upsetting the dynamic of the group?
Clive: You are bound to upset the dynamic of the group – for good or ill – by telling Rachel about your romantic feelings for her. But the vital question is whether your possible relationship with Rachel is more important to you than the group dynamic or not. I can’t answer that for you. Good luck.

John Hastings: McEwan Hall is taken over by 800 schoolchildren who want to fight you. You have to distract them with an improv game: which one would you choose?
Clive: ‘Stand, Sit, Lie Down’. Starting with everybody, including the audience, lying down for five minutes.

The Improverts: What, for you, has been the most inventive use of an audience suggestion?
Clive: In an early radio recording episode of Whose Line is it Anyway?, a member of the audience suggested I should be a chat show host. I have built a career on that.

Racing Minds: Who would be in your improv dream team?
Clive: Greg Proops, Steve Frost, Josie Lawrence and Angela Merkel.

Showstoppers: Do you ever get the urge to join in or do you prefer sitting behind the desk?
Clive: Opinion is divided on this. I have occasionally joined in with improv games and I think I have been fine. Everyone else thought I was better behind the desk.

What Does the Title Matter Anyway?, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 6–19 Aug, 9pm, £16–£17.50 (£14.50–£16). Click Here

July 22, 2014 Chortle
Article about Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
Ten feminist fatales
Sexually aggressive abuse is, sadly, par for the course for almost any woman who dares have a public profile. Smallman did nothing more that appear in a stupid ITV2 show, for which she attracted such charming tweets as: ‘You are a fat whale I wish I could come into the studio and shoot you and the rest of those cunts.’ This is her response to that sort of vitriol. 17:30 Click Here

July 22, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Perfectly Goddamned Delightful
Interview with Pete
Peter Strong is a Brighton based poet and stand-up comedian. On his popular blog he suggests that he’ll gig anywhere, even up a tree. Luckily, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he and his comedy pall Dan have found a venue to share. Which is much more convenient for the audience.

It's self-deprecating, ranting, angry, cynical, interspersed with surreal and silly poetry. And it's funny. Honest.

“Dan Fardell and I are doing a double bill of stand up. We called it Perfectly Goddamned Delightful, from the Charles Crumb quote. He always used to say it ironically when R Crumb was a boy growing up. We thought it summed us up well. Both of us have stand up that while joke heavy has a downbeat edge to it. We make jokes about the darker side of life.”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?
“For newish comedians the Free Festival really is the best way to go about it. LH run a free festival during the Brighton Fringe, which is where we're based, and we did some shows in it. They went so well that we decided to bring it up to Edinburgh. Being a free show really takes the pressure off in a lot of ways, and also it means we can do the festival without racking up a huge debt.”

How do you describe your act to those that haven’t seen you?
“It's self-deprecating, ranting, angry, cynical, interspersed with surreal and silly poetry. And it's funny. Honest.”

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
“Think more about what you're doing. Don't just go and do something because it's expected of you! And lay off the fags, booze and drugs. At least for a few years yet.”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“Off the top of my head? John Hegley, Simon Munnery, Rob Newman, Tony Law, Claudia O'Doherty and Mary Bourke. I'd probably think of ten others on the day and try and cram them in even though there's no time. I'd probably take over the TV station and fill it with people. And take over the world. Eventually.” Click Here

July 22, 2014 The Public Review
Article about Wild Card Kitty: The Showgirl Show
Public Review Interview
 Click Here

July 21, 2014 The Evening Standard
Article about Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
Hitting Back At The Trolls
Don't mess with comedians online; they have ways of hitting back. After Carly Smallman appeared on ITV2's Viral Tap in April Twitter trolls referred to her as "Miss Piggy" and "a fat whale". At first Smallman was upset and even started using a personal trainer to lose weight. Then she realised that she had the perfect vehicle to confront web misogyny and updated her forthcoming Edinburgh fringe show, Made in Penge, to address the issue. "I decided that they are just nasty men in their pants in their bedroom. My revenge is doing a good show," Smallman tells us. Did she ever consider retaliating on Twitter? "No, that would make me as bad as them - I'd just be like someone in their pants in their bedroom too."

July 21, 2014 Buxton Fringe Website
Article about (Do you remember) Rock n Roll Radio ?
Buxton Fringe
Appropriately enough the sound of The Ramones’ 1980 hit This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio usher us in to Roland Gent’s show. The 50’s American nostalgia as depicted in the song, though, seems a million miles removed from contemporary community radio, and not just geographically.
Roland Gent tells his autobiographical story as a journey, a journey from darkness into light; from discordant sound to rock ‘n’ roll radio.
A huge, likeable presence, Gent, at first seems nervous, which it is at odds with his physicality, emphasised as it is by his hooped t-shirt and very low ceiling. The paucity of the audience may account for his nervousness, but he never makes the mistake of blaming those who turned up for it being a small house. He is an inclusive comic, making sure that everyone is involved and having a good time. Several times he checks that his audience are comfortable with filth; it’s just as well they say ‘yes’ because filth comprises some of his best material. There is unalloyed joy in hearing (once again) the Today programme mispronouncing the name of the then Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Gent trumps that with equally hilarious examples from Radios 2 and 5.
Stand up is, quite possibly, the hardest of all the performing arts because it relies on a degree of personal exposure; of establishing an instant relationship and rapport based on your own personality. Thankfully, Roland Gent’s personality is both likeable and very funny; and for all the bluster and swearing you sense there is a genuine empathy with those who have no escape from the depressing Salford estates where the community radio station is based.
What Gent does is create a temporary community out of his audience, and that temporary community celebrate together tiny victories as the Daily Express, Cabinet ministers, and various other powerful institutions are shown up for what they are. We are united in our ridicule; it may not change the world, but it makes us feel better.
So, if you have a spare 45 minutes go and see Roland Gent’s show. He deserves to been seen by more people; this would be electric with a full house. Providing you’re not offended by words that rhyme with sock, duck and hunt, you’ll be in for a liberating and uproariously comical evening.
Incidentally, doesn’t Max Clifford’s Tiny Penis sound like the name of one of those post-punk bands John Peel used to have in session on his show?
Malcolm Lomax
 Click Here

July 20, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Lexicon Lady: A Woman of Lovely Letters
The Nadia Brooks Three Minute Interview
According to her popular blog, Nadia Brooks is a writer, thinker, dreamer and a doer who knows that life is an adventure. She writes about philosophy, physics and astronomy as well as love, life and laughter. You should check the blog out, it’s really good. But not before you’ve read Martin Walker’s email interview with Nadia concerning her latest Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

“Lexicon Lady: A Woman of Lovely Letters is a kaleidoscopic collection of a profusion of poetry, prose and puns from writer Nadia Brooks (me).

“From reports filed as a foreign correspondent, to scripts I supervise on movies... to the endless to-do lists, the tender notes to lost times and spaces, and the Post-its I put up around town urging people to smile... you’ll be charmed by this cheery catalogue of communication from a woman who works with words (that’s me again).

“Last year I performed my debut one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe where I detailed the stirring adventures and unexpected escapades encountered on a solo 6000-mile road trip around the USA.

“This year I’m looking at the lexicon of life through the literature of language.

“Absolutely adore alliteration, think rhyme is sublime and like being foonsped spoolfuns of spoonerisms? Then find victory in verse with the Lexicon Lady.

“What they said to me: ‘Thank you Nadia, you’ve changed my life,’ (Frank Skinner). 'I didn't expect that voice!' (Noel Fielding). 'Absolutely sterling work,' (my echo).”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?

“My debut Edinburgh show, Tyke Rider, happened thanks to Laughing Horse letting me commandeer The Comedy Bus for a week last year. Laughing Horse is ace.”

How do you describe your comedy to those that might not have seen you before?

“Like a young Thora Hird meeting The Littlest Hobo on the arch of a rainbow.”

What advice would you give your seventeen year old self?

“Don’t worry, just have fun - in a few years’ time you’ll have a time machine and can rectify anything (but remember to learn the chords to Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode).”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

“Professor Stephen Hawking. Am a huge fan of his books but after seeing his work in the live Monty Python shows and on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight he can be certain (as certain as people working with the Uncertainty Principle can be) that if his work with black holes caves in, he can forge an astronomic career in comedy.
“Lucille Ball. Via the magic of holographic projection (Professor Hawking can hopefully help with this) and editing I’d love Lucy to re-enact The Two Ronnies’ Mastermind sketch with me.
“Alan Bennett. A truly brilliant writer with a cadence so charming I could listen to him read the phone book (even though it’s got too many characters and no plot).
“A pangolin. One of the world’s most endangered mammals. It’s a small scaly thing that looks like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo. Or as my friend describes it, a ‘human pinecone’.”

Broadway Baby Listing and Edinburgh Fringe Box Office:
http://www.broadwaybaby.com/shows/lexicon-lady-a-woman-of-lovely-letters/702036

Blog: http://allthewritenotes.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @write_notes

YouTube Clip: http://allthewritenotes.wordpress.com/comedy


By Martin Walker BBStandUp

Broadway Baby Stand Up Comedy Editor, Martin Walker, has been a critic and features writer for over 15 years. On joining Broadway Baby in April 2014, he began a series of 'Three Minute' and 'extended interviews' with comedians and popular entertainers. This year he's reviewing Stand-Up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. He supports Hibs FC and lives with his wife and three year old son.
 Click Here

July 19, 2014 Buxton Fringe
Article about First Class
'Highly Recommended' at the Buxton Fringe Festival
A teacher, a young mother and a professional tennis player are sat on a train. The respective journeys that lie ahead of them are not only life-changing, but the very stuff of life itself. This is a train journey to Manchester Piccadilly, stopping at guilt, blame, regret, depression, love, desire, and fear … and that makes for a long, emotion-packed journey within a relatively short space of time.

The three young actors - Joe Walsh, Maddie Haynes, and Erin Elkin – who embark on this journey are not only well-cast, but each of them approach their roles with dedication, commitment and performing skill that belie their years. Their characters start as vignettes, but grow in dimension and verisimilitude as the play progresses. Maddie Haynes as the tennis player faultlessly conveys the tension and pressure bearing down on the professional sportsperson. Joe Walsh perfectly embodies the stress felt by all teachers, especially when confronted with difficult pupils. The expressive and animated performance of Erin Elkin carries all the tragic hope and broken dreams of a young woman who ‘fell pregnant’ at a time when nice girls just didn’t do that sort of thing. All three of them deliver expertly-judged, naturalistic performances within a non-naturalistic setting.

This is essentially a series of interconnected monologues; for these three individuals exist in different times and the attitudes of those times inform their characters. Each actor also plays another character in another’s reality, as well as sundry other rail staff. This is ensemble theatre at its best; fully of precision in both characterisation and delivery, and subtle communication with an overlapping narrative that whipped the story along with a mordent wit that never over-embellishes the story.

James Beagon’s script is a masterpiece of understatement, leaving the audience to do just enough work to keep one step ahead, but never quite allowing them to second-guess outcomes. The only weak point in an otherwise faultless script was the ending, where the interconnectedness of all things is shown in a very literal way. It didn’t need it. The point had already been made, and very powerfully, too.

First Class (not sure about the title, either. Sorry) encapsulates what fringe theatre does best; maximum imagination with the minimum of resources. With three chairs, straightforward direction and simple lighting and sound, Relief Theatre guide us on a complex, subtle and at times deeply moving journey into the human psyche. In concentrating on the specifics of individual lives, universal questions form about what it means to be a parent, a professional, a human being.

First Class runs for two more performances (19th & 21st July) and is highly recommended.

Malcolm Lomax Click Here

July 18, 2014 Laughing Horse News
Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide
So, you’re going to Edinburgh for the first time to put a show on – and there’s now only two weeks to go until it all kicks off for another year of fun, performing and chaos, all wrapped up and deep fired in batter.

Laughing Horse and Free Festival Director Alex Petty, shares his tips on going to the chaos of the Edinburgh Fringe for the
first time...


1. Don’t Panic! – With only a little time left before you get in that car, plane or train to Scotland, it’s always natural to feel a bit anxious at this stage. This is only natural as there’s a lot to do get done and ready. What you should know is that everyone is feeling the same way, so don’t let it get the better of you. A far wiser man than I once said “It’s always chaos, every show, every venue – right up to the last minute. But somehow it always works out”, and that is very true, from the smallest one-man band, up to the mega-venues. Everything will work out when your show gets up and running, no matter how daunting it all seems at the moment.

2. Get into Town early if you haven’t been there before – Familiarise yourself with the layout of the city and it’s quirky nature, this will help you a lot through the month. You will find what looks like a left-turn on a map is actually a road eight stories below or above where you are standing. Get around the main hubs in the town to find where people hang out, and spend time to prepare for your show and how long it will take to get from A to B - Performers turning up straight away for their first shows usually end up struggling well into the first week getting to grips with the city and getting their publicity out and about. You will also find that wherever you go takes time, through packed streets and generally walking up a 45 degree incline on cobbled streets as rainwater flows down at you like a waterfall. Edinburgh was designed by Escher – it is possible to spend the entire month walking uphill, never walking downhill.

Every Single one of these people are lost...

3. Pace yourself - It’s a marathon not a sprint as they say, and treating every night as New Year’s Eve for 25 nights takes the toll on the most hardened of Fringe veterans. I know, I’ve done it myself and it’s not pretty by the end of August. There’s only so many times you can flyer all day, perform 4 gigs in the evening, drink all night and be at then be at the opening of a 6am opening bar to wash down your battered haggis with a few more pints before ending up in the Royal Infirmary…

4. Don’t worry about what others are doing – There are times it seems that everyone else is doing better than you, more reviews, more press coverage, award nominations and so on. These things will generally happen if they happen. A lot of performers often end up getting stressed about others successes, when in reality, what they should be doing is concentrating on putting a good show, and entertaining the audience in front of them. Do this and you will have a good Fringe, and remain a lot calmer by day 25.

5. Remember it is about a balance of work and play – A month of fun in Edinburgh can be the best thing in the world, but at the end of the month you will feel incredibly unfulfilled if you have sacrificed your show and not dedicated enough time to running, producing and promoting it. Likewise dedicating all of your time to your show will mean you miss out on a lot of what Edinburgh is about, and why we all come back year after year despite the fact it makes no logical sense to do so at all – the socialising, networking and all of the other madness that happens for the month.

6. See Some shows – it’s the biggest arts festival in the world, make sure you get out and see some shows as well as performing your own – something that is often overlooked by performers, and often something that leaves performers with regret at the end of the month. There’s so many big names that can inspire you as a performer, and so many different and experimental shows out there that you can only experience in Edinburgh – that’s what a Fringe is all about. See some Shakespeare for Breakfast, watch Hamlet on a Bouncy Castle, see a show in someone’s flat, a car or a lift - or whatever other nonsense is taking place this year (I’ve not managed to read this year’s programme yet, so these things may or may not be happening this year)

7. Take a proper day off – when you have a day off from your show, really have a day off. Especially if you are around all month. Get out of town and escape for 24 hours at some stage. It really does help you survive the Fringe and helps reduce stress or potential nervous breakdowns. Recharge the batteries and get your head straight while away from the chaos of the Fringe bubble that we all get trapped in. The Highlands are a short drive away, and there’s plenty of other places in Scotland to see if you have not visited before. If you get no further at least make the effort to get away from the chaos, relax on the Meadows, maybe a walk down the Water of Leith, chill out on Portobello beach, walk across to Crammond (but don’t get cut off by the tide!) – of if feeling energetic get up to the top of Arthur’s seat to really clear the head…

8. Always keep some flyers on you - You always get chatting to people around town about shows, and inevitably your show! Never be without some promotional material, whether it’s to plug your show in shops, cabs or cafes – for people you bump into on the Royal mile or at venues, for industry folk you get introduced to, or as a handy notepad for you to jot names and phone numbers down on when speaking to people.

9. And while you’re at it, remember to bring – Blue Tack for putting up posters. Blue Tack in shops in Edinburgh during August is rarer than hen’s teeth.

10. Pack ready for any weather, and leave your flat ready for anything Edinburgh can throw at you dry spells (occasionally), plenty of grey skies (daily) and rain (a lot), followed by a thick fog that rolls on off of the sea, and then back to sun for a while. It’s not only possible to get all of those types of weather on the same day but often in the same hour. Most venues lack air-con and have terrible ventilation, meaning you can turn up in layers and raincoats, shivering and wet, and within seconds you are hot, sticky, sweaty and sweltering. Basically, pack for any weather and be prepared!

11. Try to have at least one good meal a day – it’s very tolling on your system to live off of take-aways and beer for a month, and many do as it is so busy to actually sit down and cook something better, or contains those funny green things called vegetables that are so rare north of the border. You will feel it by the end of the month if you don’t. If all else fails a Fruit Smoothies, Berrocca and Vitamin pills each day will help to fend of the Scurvy…

Saved the Life of Many Fringe Performer

12. Snack in Style - Edinburgh is awash with good places to grab a bite, be it the legendary baked potato shop just off the Mile, which dishes out portions bigger than your head, or curry emporium Mosque Kitchen which serves the best curry in town from the back of the Mosque (entrances opposite The Counting House and on Potterrow). You can also pick up a variety of street food this year at the Free Sisters, a barbecue at the Pear Tree, grab a pie at the almighty Pie Maker on South Bridge, or try the Hog Roasts at the two Oink shops. Fruit Smoothies and healthy options at Hula Juice bar at the bottom of Victoria Street is also a good tip for something to increase your vitamin intake.

13. Don’t listen to your own advice and ignore suggestions 1-12. See you in Rehab on August 25th….

You can catch the Laughing Horse's Edinburgh Fringe shows at 22 Venues around Edinbrugh from July 31st to August 24th - all of the shows are on www.freefestival.co.uk

 Click Here

July 18, 2014 The New Current
Article about Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
The New Current - Interview
 Click Here

July 18, 2014 The Scotsman
Article about Clever Peter : Free-for-All!
One of the Scotsman's 8 Must-See Sketch Shows
Clever Peter: Free For All! Clever Peter bring their award-winning sketch style back to the Fringe. Their show includes new material and old favourites from their BBC Radio 4 series ‘Strap In – It’s Clever Peter’. We like to think they wear their matching jumpers even when not performing on stage. Click Here

July 18, 2014 British Comedy Guide
Article about Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
Carly Smallman talks to the British Comedy Guide
My name is Carly. I am a stand-up comic, and I am a size 16-18. I like to eat. I, like most people, have a complicated relationship with the way I look. I was never one of the 'pretty' ones at school. I've always been chubby, wore nerdy specs and have a little moustache that I get waxed when I am feeling rich, or feeling ugly and like "I can totally rock being a shit feminist (fuck it - nobody will ever know)". Click Here

July 18, 2014 
Article about Rik Carranza: Charming
Rik Carranza Three Minute Interview
The charming Rik Carranza returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after a successful 2013. Martin Walker chatted to Rik via email about his show, and he explains why his comedy is like a world cuisine all you can eat buffet.

“I frequently get described as 'charming'. During last year’s Fringe it was from a Broadway Baby review ‘charming MC’ and a column from Kate Copstick ‘charming musician’. This got me thinking, am I charming or 'charming'. Am I the good charming or am I the bad charming. In my show I'll be using the charmometer 3000 to test out my material to work out which I am.”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?
“The Laughing Horse were the first ones to give a spot for a fringe show in 2010 and since then they've always been very supportive.”

How do you describe your comedy to those that might not have seen you before?
“Like an all you can eat buffet. One of those world cuisine ones. I play guitar, have silly drawings, tell stories, one liners and play games, just generally try to have as much fun as possible.”

What advice would you give your seventeen year old self?
“Don't do it. Just don't.”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“The one redeeming thing about the Blue Brothers 2000 was the closing scene with some of the greatest blues musicians playing together. I'd love to do the same thing but with comedy musicians. I'd have Mitch Benn, Bill Bailey, Stephen Lynch, Tenacious D, Axis of Awesome, Tim Minchin, Garfunkel and Oates, and Flight of the Conchords” Click Here

July 18, 2014 Get West London
Article about My Sister Says I'm Special
Local girl at Edinburgh
 Click Here

July 17, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Phil Mann: Not Funny Haha
Phill Mann Three Minute Interview

The Phill Mann Three Minute Interview


by Martin Walker on 17th July 2014



Phil Mann is stand-up comedian, actor and writer. As a comic he has performed open-mic, club nights, gong-style competitions and yes, his own hour long shows too. Martin walker catches up with him via email as he prepares his 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.



It contains some personal information about various spanking parties, or forced rap battles I’ve endured.



“Every show I’ve ever done gives me a weird headache and leaves me feeling tingly. This show is no different. It’s a stand-up show that involves a lot of jumping up and down and my own congenital idiocy. It contains some personal information about various spanking parties, or forced rap battles I’ve endured. And other more oblique sections like where I dance the entire history of art. It also features time travel, weird shouting and a live version of dating app Tinder using a foam stick.”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?

“The free Fringe is the real Fringe. You’ll find all the actual Fringe acts on it. It stands for and supports those who are making the new up-and-coming work you can’t see on TV or at big arenas. It’s the best option for anyone performing and it’s the best option for anyone coming to see shows, too. My improv show BattleActs has been on the Free Fringe for yonks now, so I feel very at home there. Also horses don’t really laugh so I thought that was ironic.”

How do you describe your comedy to those that might not have seen you before?

“Most of it takes place in mid-air whilst I am horizontal. It’s very silly, fast, and I am a massive idiot. Some people think it’s quite smart, but they are wrong.”

What advice would you give your seventeen year old self?

“There’s no future for you in hardcore thrash metal. And also your lyrics about autumn trees are beautiful but no one in the hardcore thrash metal scene appreciates that. Stop putting so much effort into the dance moves: No one in hardcore thrash metal is willing to learn the dance moves. Yes, that fool’s motley is historically accurate for Elizabethan England but no one in the hardcore thrash metal scene appreciates that. Stop referring to hardcore thrash metal performances at “Occurrences in Angry Sound.” If you want to be successful in hardcore thrash metal you’re going to have to stop drawing on yourself with a pen and get a real tattoo, take off that hat, wipe that stupid grin off your face and buckle down whilst pulling your socks up and vice versa and write some vomit-gargling heavy beatdowns.”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

“Ok so the show would be that there’s a mic but it’s in a public toilet on Hampstead Heath and anyone can talk into it and if you’re really entertaining then lots of people will come and listen while you talk.”

Edinburgh Fringe Box Office link: https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/spitfire-free

(Phil has taken over the slot from another company that has dropped out and the EdFringe website haven’t updated the page yet)
Website: www.phil-mann.com

Twitter: @philmann
Facebook: /philmannUK


By Martin Walker BBStandUp

Broadway Baby Stand Up Comedy Editor, Martin Walker, has been a critic and features writer for over 15 years. On joining Broadway Baby in April 2014, he began a series of 'Three Minute' and 'extended interviews' with comedians and popular entertainers. This year he's reviewing Stand-Up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. He supports Hibs FC and lives with his wife and three year old son.
 Click Here

July 16, 2014 chortle
Top of the Puns. Nine of our shows selected by chortle for their Punsational titles
we're obviously very Punny here - with nine of our shows listed in this Chortle top 10 of pun laden show titles (a list which actually contains a gee more than ten shows). Punderful. Click Here

July 16, 2014 The Guardian
Article about Luisa Omielan: Am I Right Ladies?!
Edinburgh Festival - The Unmissable Stand-ups, with Free Festival's Luisa Omelian
The Guardian looks at this year's unmissable stand-ups, including the Free Festival's Luisa Omelian Click Here

July 16, 2014 The list
Article about Twonkey's Private Restaurant
Twonkey get's the Lists annual big fat festival bribes off to an early start
The List's Big Fat Festival Bribe is a time-honoured tradition in which hungry Fringe performers send small tokens of appreciation/promotional merchandise/tat to us in exchange for a brief mention in one of our three free Festival editions (plus online coverage via our Bribe Blog and social media). Gifts in the past have included cakes, pants, towels, toy tractors, toy animals, coasters, more cakes, dog calendars, scarves, List office invasions, more pants, crab paste, a personalised oil painting and pants filled with cake.

Normally, we'd make this announcement ourselves, but Big Fat Festival Bribe veteran Mr Twonkey has fired the starting pistol this year by sending us a fantastic cherub bottle-stopper (pictured above), with the promise of greater gifts in store. His surreal cabaret show, Twonkey's Private Restaurant, is on at Espionage from 31 Jul–24 Aug (not 12 Aug) at 8.45pm, and is absolutely free.

See how easy that was? Mr Twonkey just got free publicity by sending us a glorified cork. Click Here

July 16, 2014 Beyond the Joke
Article about Eric Lampaert: Testiculating (waving your arms around talking b*ll*cks)
Bruce Dessau talks to Eric Lampaert
Sometimes small can be, well, if not beautiful, then quite fun. I’ve recently been enjoying presenter Alex Zane’s stand-up show on London Live, Funny Rotten Scoundrels. It’s certainly no Live at the Apollo and it does not really feature household names but that sort of works in its favour. It makes a change from the ubiquitous Widdicombes, Walshes and O’Briains. They are lovely, of course, but they might as well share a cab as they shuttle from 8 out of 10 Cats to Mock the Week to QI. Funny Rotten Scoundrels, filmed at the Century Club, has trawled the circuit and come up with some refreshingly different acts. One of those is Eric Lampaert, who has a likeable oddness about him. A little bit Paul Foot, a tiny bit Noel Fielding. He looks like a wasted Russell Brand and delivers an amiably quirky view of life. The last routine I saw him do was a rap about the strange lump on the back of his head that neanderthal man also had – "I'm a mixed race fossil". Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. - See more at: http://www.beyondthejoke.co.uk/content/907/edinburgh-fringe-preview-eric-lampaert#sthash.022lcLel.dpuf Click Here

July 16, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about MommAutism--A Love Story
Jennifer Belander Three Minute Interview
 Click Here

July 16, 2014 Diva Magazine
Article about I Am Not Malala
Sadia Azmat talks to Diva Magazine
head of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (1-25 August), we quizzed some of the hottest performers on the bill. First up, Sadia Azmat. Click Here

July 15, 2014 The British Comedy Guide
Article about Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
Judge My Jokes, Not My Looks
My name is Carly. I am a stand-up comic, and I am a size 16-18. I like to eat. I, like most people, have a complicated relationship with the way I look. I was never one of the 'pretty' ones at school. I've always been chubby, wore nerdy specs and have a little moustache that I get waxed when I am feeling rich, or feeling ugly and like "I can totally rock being a shit feminist (fuck it - nobody will ever know)".

I don't turn heads in the street, but sometimes I look pretty bloody lovely. Like most people, however, the way I look bears little relevance to the job I do. I am paid to make people laugh. It's fucking awesome.

I always felt lucky to be in an industry where I thought that as a woman - hell, as a PERSON - it doesn't matter what you look like as long as you can entertain people. As far as I know, it is not within the job description of a comedian to have a perfect face and to be thin. Countless talented comics who we see regularly on our television screens and in the nation's comedy clubs tell us that. Just look at national treasures like Stephen Fry, Sarah Millican, Bill Bailey, Dawn French and countless others - all hilarious, all inspirational, and all have, in my opinion, 'normal' faces and bodies.

I like to think of comedy as a meritocracy. Regardless of your gender, race, age, sexuality, physical or mental health, it's your talent and hard work that leads to success, and the support of the general public. Yep... that's how I LIKE to think of this industry. Recently I was proved wrong.

This year I made a television show called Viral Tap for ITV2. It was met with a mixed reception and, regardless of your opinion of its quality, I think I did a decent job considering I was writing for an audience who are not normally the audience I play to. I had to tailor my jokes to meet a specific brief given to me by producers and commissioners. At times it was a tough thing to do whilst maintaining my integrity and remaining true to myself, but I did the best I could and, on a professional level, I was happy with my performance.

Viral Tap. Image shows from L to R: Matt Richardson, Caroline Flack, Carly Smallman. Image credit: Yalli Productions.Why then, have I spent the last 4 months trying to rebuild my confidence so that I can go out of the house without trying on multiple outfits and fretting about it tirelessly? Why have I spent countless nights crying and occasionally panicking about having sex with a boyfriend who loves me, because I irrationally fear he is going to be disgusted by me?

It all started on the night the first show aired. Within seconds my phone was buzzing like crazy - I was being inundated with Twitter notifications. The worry I had felt about my performance on the show was pointless, it turned out. Nobody was commenting on that. All of the tweets I was receiving (all directly mentioning me using the @ sign) were about the way I look. Here are just a few of them:

@carlysmallman you would be pretty if it werent for your deformed mouth and tongue. I cannot bear to look at you

@itv get Miss Piggy aka @carlysmallman off the air

@carlysmallman ur so fat ur arms are bigger than vin diesels

@carlysmallman you are a fat whale I wish I could come into the studio and shoot you and the rest of those cunts

Shocked? So was I. Especially when I searched for the names of the male comics on the show and, while there were still some very nasty and offensive messages directed at them, as far as I could see any abuse they received was related directly to their performance and jokes. All of the abuse sent my way was about the way I look.

Carly Smallman. Now, I'm not saying that a lot of the British public are sexist (although some really are), but what I will say is that Twitter has given a lot of angry people a platform to directly contact anybody at all with some very hateful and hurtful comments.

I reported some of the more offensive and threatening tweets to Twitter. They did nothing. The offenders were not violating Twitter's terms and conditions.

I am sad to say that female comics have to prove more than the fact that they are funny. They have to prove that they are funny whilst additionally being judged by some on the way that they look.

Sadly, some members of the general public - those we work so hard to entertain, week-in, week-out - cannot accept seeing a normal looking woman on their screens or on stage (as a stag group this weekend proved when I was shouted at for being "fat and ugly" before I'd even opened my mouth).

Not all comedy is going to be enjoyed by all people. I'm sure many out there think I'm completely unfunny. If you have an opinion on the jokes I make or what I have to say, that is totally your right as an audience member. But making comments personal? About the only face and only body a comedian has? That should always be unacceptable.

It has taken me a while to regain my confidence, but I now feel more empowered and defiant than ever toward those who judged me. I try to remember that a lot of these people are probably depressed or lonely, and that I have done a great thing by taking a gamble on making a career out of what I love most. That's why I have written my new show Made In Penge - to speak out about online abuse and draw attention to the fact we still have a long way to go to reach true gender equality ... and it has jokes. Loads of jokes.

Do I have to be slim to be funny? Fuck no. Click Here

July 15, 2014 LOL London
Article about Don't tell anyone about Sarah Callaghan
LOL London Interviews Sarah Callaghan
Sarah Callaghan has been tipped by TimeOut as one of the comedy class of 2014 for her fresh, unpretentious take on life as an early-20s Londoner. She’s got one of our favourite jokes about spiders too.

Sarah’s no stranger to the Edinburgh Fringe but this is her first full hour and we’re excited to see what this newcomer can do. Click Here

July 15, 2014 Chortle
Article about Nathan Cassidy: Date of Death
Nathan Cassidy talks about Goals. (They're so hack)
It’s the age-old debate isn’t it? Is the biggest Festival in the world a good thing for comedy or the death of the clubs? With everyone, comedians and audiences focussed on one Festival, the rest of the world seems to stop, the clubs are empty and if you’re not at the Festival you’re no-one. Well I was at the Festival, and I’m someone, someone who will now look back over the Festival and rate the key performers between 1 and 5 stars, then mention someone you may not have heard of, to prove I care about the small man. Click Here

July 15, 2014 Open Theatres
Article about Madame Señorita
EDINBURGH/SPAIN: Paula Valluerca puts the passion back in fashion with Madame Señorita
Paula Valluerca is a theatre maker, actress, singer and physical theatre performer based in London, where she completed her studies at the London International School Of Performing Arts (Lecoq-based) with a post-graduate course in Creating Theatre and Performance. She is originally from Vitoria in Spain’s Basque Country. She is currently working at English National Opera as a physical theatre performer for the 2014 production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. She also has her own company Intuitive Creatures, an international theatre group that has performed at London theatre festivals. Click Here

July 15, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about MargOH! Channing is TIPSY!
Broadway Baby Top 10 Cabaret Shows
MargOH! Channing is Tipsy has been on the Top Ten List for Broadway Baby for 3 weeks now. Fabulous Click Here

July 15, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about MargOH! Channing is TIPSY!
Broadway Baby Interview
Interview with James Harding from Broadway Baby Click Here

July 15, 2014 Chortle
Our fair share of mad shows...
Our fair share of mad shows... 3 Free Festival shows on this Chortle run down of the more barking shows at the Fringe. (2 Laughing Horse and one Heroes)... Click Here

July 15, 2014 Time Out
Article about Ant Dewson and Mark Silcox: Life in the Bus Lane
One to Watch - Mark Silcox
Read Time Out's comedy profile of Mark Silcox and see him at the Free Festival Click Here

July 14, 2014 Buxton Fringe
Article about Nathan Cassidy: Date of Death
Buxton Fringe Review
I loved this show.

So what’s in it? Well getting a date of death obviously, but you have to wait a while for that. Before that there’s that Phil Collins, not the actual one, but you hear snippets of songs and learn of his role in the low point of Nathan’s life. There are other comedians too . . . are they better or is it that they just sell more tickets? No bitterness there then. There’s more of course, and it is all woven together into a great evening’s entertainment.

From the contrived opening to its sentimental closing this show is full of ideas, wit and work. Nathan has clearly put a lot of time and effort into this and it shows. His timing is spot-on, and has enough confidence in his work to go with some improv en-route – especially if you’ve been to see an improv show just before seeing him.

Destined for that other Fringe, there is one more chance to catch Nathan (13th) and this is the best thing I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe. There’s also the offer of £5 to members of the audience at the end of the show. What’s not to like?

Did I say I loved this show? Click Here

July 14, 2014 Chortle
Article about Matt Price : The Maryhill Dinosaur
Matt Price talks Storytelling on Chortle
I've been a fan of storytelling for many years. And by that I don't mean storytelling as an excuse for not being a good stand-up. Or storytelling because you only have ten minutes of material at best and feel that by adopting a more earnest tone and a theme that you can get away with doing an hour. Or indeed men with big beards and baritone voices reciting fables. I mean telling a story, with peaks and troughs and with a beginning middle and end. Something that is well constructed, draws people in and makes them laugh. Actually, the pay-offs can be numerous. I love a narrative and I love comedy so I've always felt, well why not combine the two? Click Here

July 11, 2014 Nerdalicious
Article about Death Shall Have No Dominion
What Remains of Richard?
 Click Here

July 11, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about My Sister Says I'm Special
Broadway Bay Interview
 Click Here

July 11, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
Robyn Perkins - Three Minute Interview
 Click Here

July 10, 2014 Fringe Review
Article about MargOH! Channing is TIPSY!
Fringe Review Top 20 Cabaret Show's to see
MargOH! Channing is Tipsy made the Fringe Review Top 20 Cabaret shows to see. Fantastic! Click Here

July 10, 2014 comedyblogedy.com
Article about The Crossroads
Exclusive Video for Comedyblogedy
 Click Here

July 10, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Twonkey's Private Restaurant
It’s a little Dadaist café
This year, Paul Vickers returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his cabaret creation, Mr Twonkey, in Twonkey’s Private Restaurant. In a piece that contains no spoilers, Martin Walker talks to Paul about making people laugh.

“It’s like that little Dadaist café in that sleepy little street in Switzerland where the revolution started.

“It’s my most accomplished work to date it. I feel I am finding my voice and not just my singing voice I mean my actually inner voice witch as you can image is absolutely terrifying for me.

“It’s essentially me running my own restaurant with a bunch of stragglers’ from the back of beyond. Will I go out of business? What’s on the menu? Who’s dining tonight? Those kind of questions get answered, sort of, through absurdist song and story. It’s a patchwork table cloth interwoven with some real laughing frog moments.”
“It’s like that little Dadaist café in that sleepy little street in Switzerland where the revolution started.”

How do you describe your act to people who haven’t seen you before?
“No different to the way I would describe it to people who had seen it before. In fact it’s a new show so only a small hand-full have seen it. I hold no prejudice to Twonkey virgins I would treat them with the same sprit. I like to be a little misleading and mystifying so that people are surprised or horrified when they turn up for the show.

“The whole key to good entertainment is surprise never give away too much its damaging. So I would say it’s a one-hour pow-wow of song, dance, fairytales and black magic.”
You use a lot of props. Do your ideas come from the prop, or do you find a prop to fit your idea?

“The idea usually comes first, but now weight can play a part. I use a bag, it is about four and a half foot by two made from durable polyester with a zip pocket and a telescopic handle. This year has been all about keeping it light. It can be difficult if I go for a drink after the show with a bag that size, people just don’t want be around you you're an inconvenience and an eyesore.
“So this year when I have an idea that needs a prop I think I’ve got 110 litres to play with tops. For example I have funny routine with a heavy silver kettle has been cut from the show. After all I’m not a department store.”

Why did you choose to be a cabaret performer and how did you get started?
“I was told to do it by close personal friend they said: what have you got to lose you can sing like sugar and know how to turn it on.”

If you were curating a comedy show for television, who would be your guests?
“Jeff innocent, Lewis Schaffer, Myra Dubois, Chewbacca and Kristen Schaal.

Broadway Baby Listing and Edinburgh Fringe Box Office: http://www.broadwaybaby.com/shows/twonkeys-private-restaurant-free/700540
Website:http://twonkey.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/twonkeys
Podcast:https://soundcloud.com/paul-vickers

YouTube Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPdiwxhLT0

By Martin Walker BBStandUp

Broadway Baby Stand Up Comedy Editor, Martin Walker, has been a critic and features writer for over 15 years. On joining Broadway Baby in April 2014, he began a series of 'Three Minute' and 'extended interviews' with comedians and popular entertainers. This year he's reviewing Stand-Up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. He supports Hibs FC and lives with his wife and three year old son.
 Click Here

July 9, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Alpha Fail
Three Minute Interview with Alpha Fail's Cormac Friel
 Click Here

July 9, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Perfectly Goddamned Delightful
Interview with Dan
This Edinburgh Festival Fringe why not watch two men as they try to recapture their long lost youthful idealism by mocking their own lives and the lives of others. Martin Walker meets one of the two, stand-up comedian, Dan Fardell.

“The show is called Perfectly Goddamned Delightful, it's myself and my friend Pete Strong doing our first shared hour of comedy! Pete's style is angry pessimistic diatribes punctuated with sharp comic poetry, and I'm more of a self-deprecating gag-merchant. Pete hates the world and I don't realise the world hates me.”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?
“We performed with them at the Brighton Fringe and had a great time. And when some late cancellations came up we leapt on them and were fortunate enough to be awarded a nice one. Laughing Horse has a lot of great venues at Edinburgh and The Newsroom is certainly one.”

Why did you get into performing comedy and how did you get started?
“I was always obsessed with comedy, but poor health kept me out of most aspects of life for a long time, killing most of my self-belief in the process. However as my health improved one friend in particular kept hassling me to give it a try, to my increasing, despair-fuelled irritation. One day his Facebook status read ‘Just done my first stand-up gig’. He had gone out and done an open-mic night just to goad me into it. It worked. Within a month I'd done my first gig and haven't looked back.”

Tell us your best, worst experiences as a comedian.
“Best experience is either my first gig, the local new-act night I recently compered where both Seann Walsh and Joe Wilkinson showed up to do new stuff. Or the debut show of Perfectly Goddamned Delightful at the Brighton Fringe.

“Worst experience is probably doing the Up The Creek competition last year the night after a great gig at the Komedia in Brighton, and just getting virtually nothing out of the crowd, being in fact the first act of the evening where the compere James Redmond had to warm the crowd up again before letting the next act on. It's just embarrassing when it happens.”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

“Peter Cook, Woody Allen, Garry Shandling, Bill Hicks, Joan Rivers, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Jerry Seinfeld and Harry Hill. It'd be a long show with a large budget, not least the cost of contacting the afterlife.” Click Here

July 9, 2014 John Ashdown-Hill
Article about Death Shall Have No Dominion
t What Remains of Richard? at Edinburgh Fringe
 Click Here

July 9, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
Dave Chawner - Broadway Baby Interview
 Click Here

July 9, 2014 Chortle
Matt Price speaks to Chortle
 Click Here

July 8, 2014 Giggle Beats
Article about Outrageous, Courageous, Highly Contagious: Israeli Style Improv
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: our improv picks
There’s over 70 improv shows to choose from at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; here’s our selection of five shows for lovers of spontaneous fun:

The free show choice is Lamabati, a six strong troupe of guys from Tel Aviv. Expert in both short and long form Improv, they’ve been gigging to appreciative audiences around Europe for more years than they care to remember.

Expect plenty of references to their homeland, sit back and enjoy the fun as the Middle East meets the East of Scotland. Click Here

July 7, 2014 FRANKIES FRINGE FOCUS & LAUGH OUT LONDON
Article about Hatty Ashdown : Hurry Up Hatty
various - podcasts & interviews
see here for a podcast about my show 'possibly of interest ' by producer Howard http://possiblyofinterest.tumblr.com/post/92040387063/ep17-hattyashdown

Interview for laugh out london - http://laughoutlondon.co.uk/2014/06/20/edinburgh-fringe-2014-interview-hatty-ashdown/

my podcasts for laugh out london - http://laughoutlondon.co.uk/2014/07/14/hatty-ashdown-to-present-edinburgh-fringe-podcasts/
 Click Here

July 7, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about White Man's Burden
The Inder Manocha Three Minute Interview
Not sure what colour you are? Think you might be a latent racist? Relax. Cultural identity, political correctness and causing offence are given an original and hilarious spin by the award-winning comedian Inder Manocha in his Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.


“The show is called White Man’s Burden. It’s about expectations around my cultural identity, political correctness and causing offence. Who decides what is racist? That kind of thing.”


Why did you choose to perform as part of Laughing Horse?

“Obviously the costs are lower than a big, commercial venue and Laughing Horse are easy to work with. I particularly wanted a club-feel to the room. You get that with them.”


Why did you get into performing comedy and how did you get started?

“By accident. Someone suggested I have a go. I had left my previous job and didn’t really know what to do.”


Tell us your best and worst experiences as a comedian.

“My first gig was a disaster. I was heckled after ten seconds. I was so disorientated coming off stage I walked into the sound room and stayed there confused. My best experience was probably reaching the final of a competition after my second gig. It was a strange turn around.”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

“Dylan Moran and Sue Barker.”

Broadway Baby Listing and Edinburgh Fringe Box Office: http://www.broadwaybaby.com/shows/white-mans-burden/702437

YouTube Clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVO1dvXcUCs Click Here

July 3, 2014 Female Arts
Article about La Niña Barro
Interview with Flavia D'Avila
 Click Here

July 3, 2014 BroadwayBaby
Article about Madame Señorita
The Paula Valluerca Three Minute Interview
´My first contact with the comedy world happened when I suddenly realised that whenever I thought I was being tremendously serious and dramatic, people found me funny´ Click Here

July 2, 2014 
Article about The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton
Silence of Snow confirms London transfer
"The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton" will transfer to London straight after this year's Festival. Performing at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 25th September 2014.

July 2, 2014 The Public Reviews
Article about BattleActs Improvised Comedy
EdFringe Preview 2014: BattleActs

EDINBURGH FRINGE PREVIEW: Battle Acts



BattleActs! is an award-winning, late-night comedy show that has built a reputation for outstanding improv around the UK. We had a chance to catch up with the guys and ask a few questions before this year’s Fringe.

You are Fringe veterans, what has been your experience in the past?
The best of times; great reviews, great audiences, tomfoolery and the worst of times; being stage-invaded by men dressed as bananas, a national newspaper once described my naked body as the lowlight of the entire Fringe.

What made you decide to bring a show this year?
We can’t keep away. We have a load of return audience that we only see when we’re in Edinburgh and we miss them.

Can you tell us about the show?
It’s a no-holds-barred laugh riot where two teams of comedians are pitched against each other to compete for the audience’s affection, with a terrifying voting system and a series of increasingly difficult comedy tasks.

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other Fringe offerings?
It’s a battle of the wits in the literal sense; there aren’t many genuinely competitive events at the Fringe, and we do it with comedy. That and we spend most of the show horizontal and in mid-air.

What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s festival?
A Young Man Dressed as a Gorilla Dressed as an Old Man Sits Rocking in a Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves… 6 - one performance only, it’s unmissable!

What one piece of advice would you give to Fringe newcomers?
Performers: Work! It’s the most fun job there is but you gotta treat it like a job; a stupid, hilarious, heart-breaking, idiotic job, but a job nonetheless.
Audience: Don’t stop seeing things. Get up and see a show at 9:00am, keep seeing things until 1:00am. Don’t sleep.

BattleActs! will be at Maggie’s Chamber @The Free Sisters @22:00 as part of the Laughing Horse Free Fringe Click Here

June 30, 2014 Chortle
Article about Andy Field is a Giddy Man Child
Why am I doing a Free Fringe show? Because I Can
Andy Field writes about taking his show to the Fringe on Chortle Click Here

June 30, 2014 ITV
Article about Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
ITV Fixers
 Click Here

June 29, 2014 Yorkvision
Article about Hurt & Anderson: Bringing Sketchy Back
Interview: Hurt and Anderson
Open mic nights are inevitably disappointing. Audiences are forced to sit through slow acoustic songs about relationships, then relatively sub par humour about relationships, without the redeeming factor of being done in conjunction with one another. Hurt & Anderson crushed this expectation. Laura Anderson, a previous student at The University of York and a member of our comedy society, with her childhood friend Georgia Hurt filled the stage for half an hour with a mix of energetic sketches and musical numbers. These were part of a preview of the comedy double act’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival show.

Laura and Georgia agreed to a chat after their performance about “Bringing Sketchy Back” to the festival, their inspirations and Nick Clegg’s ball-sack.

I asked: how did this double act begin?

“We met in secondary school” explained Anderson, “and the first time we performed together was-” “the school talent show” finished Hurt. Onstage enthusiasm obviously comes naturally to the pair, who bounce off each other to the extent of sharing sentences.

Hurt: We were writing together before that as we shared a lot of lessons and we used to distract each other by…

Anderson: …making each other laugh!

Hurt: Making each other laugh turned to writing sketches with bottles of wine after school. And then we started to write songs. And then-

Anderson: And then that turned to the school talent show. Which we didn’t win.

They have been described as the next Mitchell and Webb, however they feel other comedians better demonstrate their style of comedy.

Anderson: I think we’ve always looked up to French and Saunders. And I really enjoy Mitchell and Webb. I wouldn’t compare us to Mitchell and Webb, but it’s nice that someone did, because I love their comedy.

Hurt: I think we’ve got a few different influences. With the musical side of things probably like…

Together: Tim Minchin

Anderson: Bill Bailey.

Hurt : Yeah we’re massive Bill Bailey fans. And then newer people like Rachel Parris who is really funny. Who else do we like – Josie Long.

Anderson: Josie Long! We love Josie Long.

Hurt : And I really like Nina Conti, but we don’t do ventriloquism. Maybe you could become my dummy.

Anderson: I was going to suggest that you become my dummy.

After a quick debate as to who was more likely to be the dummy (“It would definitely be you!”) we moved on to talking about the most enjoyable parts of their set.

Hurt: Singing takes the nerves away. Especially for me, I can hide behind the guitar a bit.

Anderson: You always make me sing first as well. So whenever I have to sing, because I’m the first on, if I mess it up then it’s all my fault.

Hurt: The songs always get the audience going a bit more I think, they’ll warm to you a lot more. They’re nice in that respect. Get the audience on your side.

I then asked them: how important are previews before going up to a show like Edinburgh?

Anderson: It’s good for testing out material, and it’s good because we hadn’t performed together onstage for more than a year so it was nice to get back into the swing of it.

Hurt: Especially building up to the Fringe because the Fringe is so intense you want to get used to it again. You don’t want to get up on your first night and be like “shit!”. Which will probably happen anyway.

What else are you looking forward to at the Fringe?

Anderson: Seeing other people to be honest, that’s the best part of the Fringe for me.

Hurt: Our show is kind of an afterthought, at the end of the day. We’ve got a list of thing we always see and that we’ll be going to see this year.

Anderson: You see a lot of bad shows but sometimes the bad shows can be good.

Hurt: And what I really like is after your show you get to meet all the other performers. And that’s always really fun, talking to them about their experiences.

Hurt & Anderson already have two Fringe performances under their belt. The new show encompasses some old material but the majority is new.

Anderson: We’re not going to do the Nick Clegg song in this years show, but we did it tonight just because we know it’s a surefire way of getting the audience to listen and get all riled up.

The lyrics to the catchy song give an insight into the life of Nick Clegg. Reference to his ball-sack got the loudest laugh, a sentence which for his sake I hope has never been said before, although that’s nothing I can guarantee. The comedy duo offered advice to those wanting to share similar pieces of art.

Hurt: If you want to get into comedy you’ve just got to try it. It’s such a cliche but if you don’t try you’ll never know. Go with the free fringe. We wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for the free fringe.

Anderson: It gives you a bit more confidence, because you know you’re more likely to get an audience.

Hurt: There is less pressure doing a free show so you can try out a lot of different stuff. Just go for it.

Hurt & Anderson will be doing another preview of their show in London before the main event in Edinburgh. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to talk to a woman’s magazine, or explore the tragic subtext of Thomas the Tank Engine, then make sure you catch “Bringing Sketchy Back”. Click Here

June 26, 2014 
Article about Free fall
Interview :)
 Click Here

June 26, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Infinitely More Deluded
The Victor Pope Three Minute Interview
“My best experience is probably at the free fringe in 2010 when my mum came to see my show. After refusing to take me seriously as any kind of performer for most of my life, thinking me far more suitable to the family trade of systems analyst, she turned to me and said – ‘Actually, Steven – which is my real name - you're quite good at this`." Click Here

June 26, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Wild Card Kitty: The Showgirl Show
The 3 minute interview: Wild Card Kitty
Wild Card Kitty presents a showcase exploring the glamorous world of being a showgirl in show business. Mixing deadpan humour, character comedy and cabaret seamlessly, she makes the sexy look funny... (please click link for full article and interview!) Click Here

June 24, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Matt Price : The Maryhill Dinosaur
3 minute interview
 Click Here

June 21, 2014 John Fleming's increasingly prestigious blog
Article about Matt Price : The Maryhill Dinosaur
John Fleming blog
 Click Here

June 20, 2014 
Article about Ray Fordyce's Brunchtime Banter (Part 2)
Broadway Baby 3 Minute Interview
A quick 3 minute email interview for Broadwaybaby.com Click Here

June 15, 2014 Tweet of Malgosia Skawinski friend of Bacon
Article about Pope Head [The Secret Life of Francis Bacon] by Garry Roost, Directed by Paul Garnault, Music: Matthew Williams & Eddie Gray
Magnificent
malgosia skawinski ‏@solamiga

Today the magnificent @garryroost owned us in his "Pope Head" one man show. Fantastic.

Reply
Retweeted
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June 14, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
The Carly Smallman Three Minute Interview
Carly Smallman has sung her funny songs at some fabulous venues. From comedy clubs, to arts centres, to the Hammersmith Apollo to her living room... Martin Walker asks about her ITV2 show and latest offering for the Edinburgh Fringe.

Talent is talent regardless of willies or foofs or indeed anything else.
“This year I will be performing my show Made in Penge. After my debut last year I realised that everyone - the venues, promoters, PR people - was making money apart from the performers, and so this year I am performing as part of the free festival above a pub.

“My show isn't completely written yet but I'm very excited about it, as it has the potential to be a great fun hour about how achieving your dream isn’t always as great as you imagine it will be.”

Tell us about your TV show, Viral Tap.
“Viral Tap is the ITV2 show that I've been shooting this year alongside Caroline Flack and Matt Richardson. People send in their clips and our panel chat about them. It's great fun to make and has been an incredible learning curve both professionally and personally.

“Along with success can come some pretty horrendous backlash - I've been relentlessly abused on twitter about my weight and the way I look since the show first aired, and that ugly side of celebrity culture - even though I'm not remotely a celebrity - is something I hope to explore in my show this year. As Sarah Millican wrote in an incredible article earlier this year - we are comedians! We are paid to be funny and that's it. The rest is just fluff.”
You're a stand up, musician, actor and presenter - but what’s your first love?

“Stand up for sure! It's such an honest art form and the beauty of it is that you can talk about whatever you like, in whatever way you like without censorship. I think we need more of that in the world - a bit of straight talking. Plus, and more importantly, it's fun!”
Do you have a view on the BBC axing BBC3 and were they right to announce that they'll be no more all male panel shows?

“I think that the BBC have made a complete boo boo by axing BBC3 at a time when the comedy scene is this vibrant and exiting. No amount of online content will reach as many viewers as a television show.
“As far as whole 'women on panel shows' thing goes the BBC can do what they like. Talent is talent regardless of willies or foofs or indeed anything else.”

Who would be the guests on Cary Smallman's Comedy Roadshow?
“Oh gosh so many! Tony Law, James Mullinger, Rachel Parris, Matt Richardson, Queen Mo'Nique, Sarah Millican, John Kearns... is this list allowed to be endless? There are so many awesome people doing amazing things out there it's hard to choose!” Click Here

June 11, 2014  Playboys with Hunchbacks.
Review of Twonkey's Private Restaurant
Another home run
‘A chariot made from garlic bread, will disappoint in years ahead’
He’s done it again folks. Paul’s latest show, Twonkey’s Private Restaurant, is another home run. You might think we would say that, but it’s just plum true. Nor did it come as a major surprise. Parts of the show have been previewed at one-off gigs, on youtube or Soundcloud, and the Paul & Pierre album. If a skit had been road-tested, we’d have seen it. We’re here, we’re there, we’re everyfuckingwhere, we’re Team: Playboys With Hunchbacks!
And full marks to Brighton for providing this classic cabaret with a Full House on opening night! If you’ve seen Twonkey before, you’ll know what to expect. If you loved it then, you’ll love it now. If you weren’t sure then, you’re just a show or two away from what is known to Fringe hipsters as a ‘Twonkey Epiphany’. Expect a busload of good reviews come August, although Three Weeks probably still won’t get it. ‘Three Weeks’, incidentally, is a reference to the length of the Fringe Festival, which is always closer to four weeks, and shows what clueless arseholes they actually are.
Every year Paul (& Friends!) somehow manages to come up with another bunch of great new tunes. The previously previewed Pissed As A Postman and Mother Shipton are both showstoppers. And they’re joined by a couple of new ballads and a few more Paul & Pierre tracks, all of his usual high quality. The ships wheel is back, with a whole new set of sexual predictions, just as funny as previous years (even if nothing can top the snail in Great Yarmouth). Other great additions are a (fictional) account of a youtube parody of a new track, and a song which is given a huge build up only to consist of just two barely-sung sentences. And it all ends with a new version of 2011′s Hot Beryl! We even learn of a Hawaiian Beryl: half beer, half gin with a pineapple chucked in.
There’s also evidence that as Paul approached part #5 in his Twonkey Pentalogy, he had a look at other #5s just to see if/where they went wrong. He may have watched Prometheus (Alien #5) and its DVD extras. How so? Well the film revisits props from the original Alien known as ‘Space Jockeys’. Mr. Twonkey has used that description literally as the origin story for puppet Chris Hutchinson. Prometheus (so bad it was almost good) was also the first sci-fi from Ridley Scott since Blade Runner, the film which gave Paul’s band Dawn of the Replicants their name.
Twonkey herself gets no mention in the show whatsoever now. Having said that, Private Restaurant is probably more consistent to its own theme than Twonkey’s ever been before. Food and hunger are never far from a sketch or a song. Mother Shipton, a real life fortune teller, got no introduction before she was discussed. Maybe Brighton are a more knowledgable audience and would have known all about her. The show lasted a mammoth 55 minutes, so is likely to see a few snips before the Edinburgh Festival. We’re glad it’s not up to us what bits to drop as there were no saggy sequences whatsoever.
We hope Paul has enjoyed his Brighton Fringe Private Restaurant debut. He has delivered another classic hour of cabaret and you should be counting the days till it’s next performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. We are! The new songs are wonderful, most of it is funny, and much of it is priceless.
Hell, we even left the show with wood! Which is quite an achievement at our age. This may have something to do with the new Twonkey album ‘Giddy World‘. An album review will be the next bus at this stop. We’ll leave you for now with this teaser pic: Click Here

June 10, 2014 The Edinburgh Reporter
Article about BattleActs Improvised Comedy
Edinburgh Festival Fringe – BattleActs
BattleActs will return for their 5th consecutive Edinburgh Fringe at the Laughing Horse Free Festival. Having built a reputation for outstanding improv, awards, rave reviews and a hardcore cult following around the UK BattleActs are bringing their award-winning, multi-five-star late-night comedy party to the Laughing Horse for free.

The show sees two teams of fearless improvisers pitched against each other by a ball-busting compere. Each team attempts to prove their worth and battle it out for the ultimate prize: the audience’s respect!

Facing a terrifying voting system, a high-octane mix of seemingly impossible challenges and incredible physicality the teams battle against invisible giants, improvised Shakespeare and the limits of physical pain. No two shows are the same, with forfeits, (which can see you dancing on live mouse traps) and themed nights to keep everyone on their toes!

BattleActs were awarded the StageWon Editor’s Award in 2012, were recommended by the Independent on Sunday as part of their weekly “Top 10 Comedy Acts in the UK,” TimeOut Critic’s Choice and Spiked Online claimed BattleActs were 2013’s “Best Free Show”

BattleActs have previously performed at the Comedy Store, London Zoo, the Camden Roundhouse. They recently performed at the Vault Festival in London’s Waterloo – selling out the entire run of 500 tickets before their opening night.

BattleActs: 22:00 (Duration: 60 mins), 2nd – 24th August (not Mondays) 
Laughing Horse Maggie’s Chamber @ The Free Sisters, Cowgate. Click Here

June 8, 2014 
Article about Absolutely
Absolutely - Flaming Locomotive
 Click Here

June 5, 2014 Perth Theatre Review
Article about Absolutely
Absolutely - Flaming Locomotive
What makes a person decide to become a performer? What are the influences that shape that performer? How does an introvert become a clown in the world famous Cirque du Soleil? Find out More: Click Here

June 3, 2014 Free Festival News
WELCOME TO THE 2014 PROGRAMME
We have now launched our new site, and our new programme for August 2014 - have a look around! Click Here

May 22, 2014  Broadway Baby
Review of Feminism for Chaps
Broadway Baby preview review
Watts’ comedy isn’t racy, but, like the comedian itself, a bit fluffy with well-intended, well-reasoned polite outrage. He’s just the chap for the Guardian-quoting, bag-for-life toting, kale and quinoa-eating, close-the-pay-gap-campaigning sort. If you named your child Shulamith or Luce, you’ll find a lot to like here. Click Here

May 20, 2014 Chortle
Article about Perfectly Goddamned Delightful
Perfectly Goddam Delightful with Dan Fardell and Pete StrongBrighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett
Even on its first public airing, this is a robust hour of material from Dan Fardell (pictured) and Pete Strong – a confident, gag-packed show that delivers solid laughs. Both acts, admittedly, have some way to go before they dazzle with brilliance, but they prove themselves a safe quartet of hands, with some moments of real flair.

Initially, it appears as if poet Strong has cloned the spirit of Tim Key as he languidly takes to the stage to an atmospheric backing track, downs an heroic quantity of booze, then takes an age deliberately fiddling with the microphone until he produces his notebook of verse.

This, though, is an aberration, and he soon establishes himself as his own man. A depressed, misanthropic man who sees no speck of hope in the blackness of human misery, admittedly, but his own man nonetheless. And thankfully he’s channelled that bleakly nihilistic attitude in to cathartically funny material.

The poems, as it transpires, are something of a minority factor in a set in which he muses entertainingly on the futility of existence. The attitude is well-judged, walking a fine emotional line with an assured step that ensures the laughs from the right places, even if the writing needs some polish.

A deliberately repetitive segment about life being a lake of shit doesn’t have the payoff the audience’s investment demands, typical of a performance that can dwell too much on the downsides before the tension-relieving gag. And the joke about ‘how come Tony Benn died and Katie Hopkins lives?’ is a clumsy reworking of Bill Hicks’s take on musicians.

But Strong largely knows his own voice, and once the bumps are ironed out should deliver a consistent and distinctive 20 minutes.

Fardell, too, finds humour in his depressed state: poor, single and plagued by wretched thoughts – it’s clear the Perfectly Goddam Delightful show title is darkly ironic. Though i there’s actually a chipper edge to Fardell’s manner that these circumstances wouldn’t immediately suggest. Perhaps that’s because, as he later admits, he no longer lives quite the lonely, aimless existence in a miniscule bedsit that he first claims.

But so what if this winningly self-deprecating comic is not a stickler for narrative consistency. The joke clearly rules his work, and he fair packs them in, writing with the efficiency of the slickest American comic to ensure that every morsel revealed about himself is the kernel for a tight one-liner. So even if the quality is variable, the audience is never far from some sort of a laugh – and, as it happens, never all that far from a big one, either.

For there is some inventive writing on display here, from an obvious craftsman who chisels every idea into the best shape it can be. It’s refreshing to see a relative newcomer display such diligence, setting him a step above those with rambling sets that seem more like simply talking out loud than showcases for sharp ideas. Fardell is definitely on the right course for better things both in comedy and, from the basis of what he tells us, his life. Click Here

May 17, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Nathan Cassidy: Date of Death
Nathan Cassidy 3 minute interview
 Click Here

May 17, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about The Rat Pack stand-up comedy
The Nathan Cassidy 3-minute interview
 Click Here

May 13, 2014  Broadway Baby
Review of Twonkey's Private Restaurant
This show is mind-boggling from start to finish.
This show is mind-boggling from start to finish. Mr Twonkey (AKA Paul Vickers) dressed up, messed up and fessed up to looking a bit homeless. It was a dialectic of the believably unbelievable. During the first song, a hot-air-balloon containing ‘Sophie the Aeronaut’ was swung from a stick and Mr Twonkey’s mic cable propelled props off the table. We glanced sideways and raised our collective eyebrows.

Even if you don’t enjoy the the music, you certainly won’t be able to help yourself sharing Mr Twonkey’s enjoyment.
The atmosphere changed from nervous to pure confusion and on to an acceptance of the crazy and quirky antics of the Private Restaurant. The hodge-podge of props, costumes, and strange songs played on Mr Twonkey’s mp3 player felt like the stuff of a primary-school kids party. Any stiff upper lips were determinedly creased into smiles as the nonsensical performance unfolded. Hanratty, the disgusting, balding cat/hyena/racoon, was full of surprises. He talked, sang (sometimes in Spanish), made squelching noises, and generally made his views known whether or not Mr Twonkey got the microphone to his whiskery mouth in time. Mr Twonkey’s other two side-kicks, a lion-jockey who bore an uncanny resemblance to him and a green… thing… with legs, chatted and flirted. If anything, they were a tad more conventional than Hanratty and Mr Twonkey .

From the song Ooooh Trifle, which consisted mainly of those two words, to the more lyrical Hot Beryl; Half Beer, Half Gin, the music was absurd to say the least. Anyone with sensitive ears or perfect pitch be warned. Even if you don’t enjoy the the music, you certainly won’t be able to help yourself sharing Mr Twonkey’s enjoyment. He closed his eyes and danced like a stag at a karaoke club. If you’re lucky, you might get to clutch a pair of Primark knickers or get intimate with a plastic pumpkin. Anything’s possible…
 Click Here

May 13, 2014 The Burton Mail
Article about Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
Award Won For Stand Up Show
News Story Click Here

May 12, 2014  Fringe Guru
Review of Is He A Bit Simon Jay?
Fringe Guru
Who exactly is Simon Jay? It’s surprisingly hard to say. The real Simon Jay is both a very capable actor and an enormously likeable young man, judging by the ten minutes he spent chatting with early arrivals before his solo play began. But there’s also a fictional Simon Jay, who recently passed away at the age of 90, after a life marred by tragedy and shared with few friends. If you’re confused, I can’t say I blame you – but hang in there, because it makes a kind of sense by the end.

But you’ll need to pay attention, because this is a script full of layered riddles and subtly-linked narratives. The story’s told backwards, starting with the fictional Jay’s post-mortem, and a series of questions posed in his later life are addressed once we learn about his earlier years. Many of the answers are the type you’d never have guessed, but feel you somehow knew all along. Written by Jay himself in partnership with Scott Payne, the monologue is admirably subtle, constantly surprising – and really rather clever.

It’s so clever, in fact, that I wish it had taken itself just a little bit more seriously. There’s an offbeat surrealism to much of the plot which – for me at least – proved an occasional distraction from what could have been a very human tale. The recurring theme of sewage also didn’t quite do it for me, although it must be said that it’s far from the most egregious example of toilet humour you’ll find at this year’s Fringe.

The real Jay is a confident performer, who switches between dozens of roles and still makes each one his own. Even the pastiches, like the overblown health guru Dr Strepsils, have enough about them to be interesting – and parts of the performance have an improvised feel, in a completely positive way. Given that he’s dressed the whole time in a business suit and tie, he’s also surprisingly convincing in the female roles. The very posh woman trying to learn to use email was my favourite creation of all.

But my one real disappointment with this play is that it has a Simon-Jay-shaped hole at its heart. We never actually meet the fictional protagonist – and while I realise that’s entirely the point, I found I couldn’t quite build a mental picture of what he’d have been like to talk to. Encompassing a man’s whole life in the space of 60 minutes was always a challenging proposition, and as soon as you have a handle on one Simon Jay, you’ll find you’re being introduced to a much younger and quite different one.

But the real Simon Jay – the actor – is a man I’d like to see more of, too. This is a witty, engaging piece of free theatre, and well worth catching on one of its many dates here in Brighton. Click Here

May 12, 2014  Broadway Baby
Review of Playback Impro
Playback Impro
Brighton review:Playback Impro


by Johanna Makelainen on 12th May 2014
Five actors in their pyjamas create a show from audience anecdotes, bringing them to life with their expressions, postures and words. The idea of playback impro is simple: audience members tell stories and which the actors reflect back to them in a particular style. A tale of a drunken sailor made it seem like an easy task. But how do you become an angry wasp? You grab a stool, place it on your forehead and start chasing the target with it of course. The performance was spontaneous, ingenious and thoroughly entertaining.
One hour was way too short for this treat.
The cast proved to be solid professionals. The five strong London-based group were Julia Munrow, Kelda Holmes, Chloe Conquest, Nathan Allenby and Roderich Millan – a good mix of experience and playful enthusiasm. If I had to pick a favourite, it was young Chloe. The performance of the night goes to Kelda for her hilarious drunken Irish women, but there are no weak links. It’s evident from the quality of the performance that group have been working together for over a year.
Different formations and styles kept it interesting and soon we got used to the impro lingo: ‘short form’ is a brief moment in life, ‘free form’ means the actors decide the style and so on. We had normal chorus, diamond chorus, split chorus, pairs, and what not, with styles ranging from horror to opera. I still feel out of breath just thinking about it. Wearing identical pyjamas was a stroke of genius. It acted as an ice-breaker, dissolved gender and age, and guided the audience to the world of bedtime stories.
The show ended in an amazing medley, which formed an absurd yet intriguingly coherent narrative.
We were fortunate to have a selection of really funny stories from the audience - a 21st birthday party where a guy dressed as a caterpillar decides to drink a bottle of expensive perfume. Or a girl who cuts off her great grandmother’s plait with scissors and places the hair on her doll. The loose theme seemed to circle around childhood misdemeanours. The show ended in an amazing medley, which formed an absurd yet intriguingly coherent narrative.
Those audience members who don’t like to be involved can rest easy as well. There is no hackling or pressure to perform. But most were more than happy to see their memory played back to them. This was one of the few shows at the Brighton Fringe that I really didn’t want to end. One hour was way too short for this treat. There are still two more chances to catch the show at the Quadrant. It’s free and the afternoon matinee time means that kids can go too. So what are you waiting for? It doesn’t get any better than this.
________________________________________

By Johanna Makelainen JojoMakelainen
Johanna Makelainen is a Copywriter from Finland, the land of weird and wonderful cultural oddities. Her interests range from metal to multimedia art, Bukowski to burlesque and sideshows to Shakespeare.
 Click Here

May 12, 2014 Broadway Baby
Article about Playback Impro
Playback Impro
Playback Impro
Playback+Impro
by Johanna Makelainen on 12th May 2014

Five actors in their pyjamas create a show from audience anecdotes, bringing them to life with their expressions, postures and words. The idea of playback impro is simple: audience members tell stories and which the actors reflect back to them in a particular style. Production company A Drunken Sailor made it seem like an easy task. But how do you become an angry wasp? You grab a stool, place it on your forehead and start chasing the target with it of course. The performance was spontaneous, ingenious and thoroughly entertaining.

One hour was way too short for this treat.

The cast proved to be solid professionals. The five strong London-based group were Julia Munrow, Kelda Holmes, Chloe Conquest, Nathan Allenby and Roderich Millan – a good mix of experience and playful enthusiasm. If I had to pick a favourite, it was young Chloe. The performance of the night goes to Kelda for her hilarious drunken Irish women, but there are no weak links. It’s evident from the quality of the performance that group have been working together for over a year.

Different formations and styles kept it interesting and soon we got used to the impro lingo: ‘short form’ is a brief moment in life, ‘free form’ means the actors decide the style and so on. We had normal chorus, diamond chorus, split chorus, pairs, and what not, with styles ranging from horror to opera. I still feel out of breath just thinking about it. Wearing identical pyjamas was a stroke of genius. It acted as an ice-breaker, dissolved gender and age, and guided the audience to the world of bedtime stories.

The show ended in an amazing medley, which formed an absurd yet intriguingly coherent narrative.

We were fortunate to have a selection of really funny stories from the audience - a 21st birthday party where a guy dressed as a caterpillar decides to drink a bottle of expensive perfume. Or a girl who cuts off her great grandmother’s plait with scissors and places the hair on her doll. The loose theme seemed to circle around childhood misdemeanours. The show ended in an amazing medley, which formed an absurd yet intriguingly coherent narrative.

Those audience members who don’t like to be involved can rest easy as well. There is no hackling or pressure to perform. But most were more than happy to see their memory played back to them. This was one of the few shows at the Brighton Fringe that I really didn’t want to end. One hour was way too short for this treat. There are still two more chances to catch the show at the Quadrant. It’s free and the afternoon matinee time means that kids can go too. So what are you waiting for? It doesn’t get any better than this.
By Johanna Makelainen JojoMakelainen

Johanna Makelainen is a Copywriter from Finland, the land of weird and wonderful cultural oddities. Her interests range from metal to multimedia art, Bukowski to burlesque and sideshows to Shakespeare.

Playback can be funny, sad, silly, moving, amazing... and always about you. 'Playback Impro' plays back moments and stories taken from the audience on the spot. Come and tell a story or moment from your life and actors will play it back... or sit back and let others tell theirs. Interactive if you want it to be but no compulsion to join in. Totally spontaneous live theatre with the audience as the star.
Call Sheet
 Click Here

April 23, 2014 Culture Northern Ireland
Article about IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?
The Antrim comic completes an impressive debut solo stand up set at the Black Box
Nestled in Belfast’s bustling Cathedral Quarter, the Black Box is one of the city’s quirkier venues. It is also a proudly independent one when it comes to staging and fostering local creative talent. Its front lounge, the Green Room, is an especially intimate space of cosy armchairs, clustered tables and stylish wall coverings.

Stand-up comedy in such close quarters can be a risk. There is nowhere to hide – all eyes are trained forward, waiting, expectantly, to be amused. Credit must go then to Luke McGibbon for producing an hour’s worth of promising material to a tightly assembled Green Room gathering.

Describing himself as an ‘occasional jape merchant’, McGibbon’s punters, at a fiver per head, certainly get their money’s worth. The gags and quips are, mercifully, more frequent than occasional. Blessed with an eager crowd, McGibbon’s friend Neil Dickson gets the proceedings underway.

A merchant in banter rather than japery, according to the event’s Facebook page anyway, not all of his routine hits the mark, but Dickson is self-effacing and enthusiastic; he is impossible to dislike. One filthy tale involving a traffic warden gets a good reception, as does the first of the night’s prostate funnies (yes, there’s more than one).

It is not entirely clear whether Dickson is reading his own material on purpose or because he has forgotten it, but the sight of him retrieving a wedge of scribbled notes from his pocket is actually quite amusing. As a motor-mouthed opening gambit, and with the benefit of a sympathetic audience – though he laments the lack of any willing hecklers – he does more than enough to warm up McGibbon’s spot.

There is a faint air of endearing confusion to the manner in which the main act arrives on stage, stuck somewhere between a strut and shamble, before extravagantly tossing a handful of paper confetti in the air.

This is his solo debut and he appears ready to put in the work. Good-natured and somewhat awkward, he cleverly places his humour against these two traits, delivering a standard mix of juvenile fare – incest, circumcision and, of course, prostate exams – with a cheeky, slightly embarrassed grin. But there’s more to his act than teenage sniggering.

Working from a list of topics taped to the wall for all to see, including Russell Kane’s ‘dead relative’ theme, McGibbon immediately engages an audience member (christened ‘Tony’ for the duration) with a tacky friendship bracelet and a series of cue cards upon which he calls from time to time. Checking off each topic as it falls, he has clearly done a respectable amount of preparation.

His slate is broad enough to take in a charming tale of childhood in a post-conflict Northern Ireland. Seeking clarification from his father on the difference between Catholics and prostitutes, he is left with one key question: ‘Why do prostitutes have their own estates in east Belfast?’

Indeed, one of McGibbon’s main strengths is his drily articulate asides. ‘I don’t know why anyone in Northern Ireland would want to remember the 70s,’ he mutters, when the subject of throwback nights comes up. Biology students are the world’s best lovers, he goes on to suggest, because they know where everything is. ‘As long you’re cut in half and visible from the side.’

It is witty stuff and, at times, darkly knowing. ‘My room mate is addicted to drugs,’ he says, recalling the time he decided to intervene and hide his friend’s syringes. It was not well received: ‘Turns out he really loves that insulin.’

Some jokes may be swiftly jettisoned, others need polishing. That said, McGibbon’s main opponent would appear to be his nerves, a familiar obstacle to any stand-up. There is talent here, however, right down to the charmingly naff finale in which [SPOILERS, REDACTED]. there is much to work with here. Click Here

April 17, 2014  Herald Sun
Review of GAME ON
Matty Grey in Age-Less 2: Game On
IT’S not every day one gets shot at by a hail of nerf bullets fired by littlies and their parents while wearing little yellow ducks on one’s head.

Thankfully, the only injury this reviewer suffered was a sore jaw from laughing so much.

Matty Grey, that hardworking, marvellous, multicoloured maestro of munchkin merrymaking produces a masterclass of audience interaction with this show for under-10s and their parents that has them in stitches from the get-go.

Grey’s show, Age-Less 2: Game On, contains his patented high-impact recipe for mirth with precise doses of magic, trivia, silliness, gross-out jokes, sight and sound gags, and outright chaos.

The narrative of Grey being sucked into Game Land and how he got home provides him with an excuse to actively involve his young audience members into all manner of good-natured and hilarious high jinks.

There was everything from passing the parcel, to playing with colourful giant robots, to hitting giant yellow balls throughout the theatre to shooting at innocent reviewers.

Grey also throws in some serious and sobering notes during his performance.

During the trivia sections of his show the kids demonstrate a frightening, encyclopedic knowledge of modern video games and video gaming culture. Conversely, they also demonstrate an alarming ignorance of written literature.

Grey then informs his audience that we humans have spent an aggregate of 200,000 years playing the computer game, Angry Birds, and wonders how much more productively we could have spent that time.

Parents would do well to bring their kids to this wonderfully entertaining and educational show, and to heed Grey’s salient message about the dangers of using touch technology as de facto pacifiers, and the benefits of kids playing outdoors. Click Here

April 13, 2014 Mostly Nocturnal Scribbler - Stirred Poetry
Article about Finding Me (Take Me As I Am)
Non Prompt Poem Brought to you by Hangover and New Bra Power
("Ok so I have had a marvellous weekend of poetry an misbehaving with the powerful lyrical political poetry dynamo Steph Pike, we poeted as a an opener for the wonderful Carol Robson’s show Finding Me the show is is by turns informative, amusing and a powerful reminder of our capacity to change ourselves and live the lives we were truly meant to. I mentioned her on the radio show today highlighting the fact she has done all the AMAZING adventurous intellectual things she has done after fifty lives do have second acts" Click Here

March 28, 2014 Free Fest News
PR & Directing deal for Performers
Julian Hall’s Edinburgh PR seminars & directing service

Julian Hall - comedy critic for The Independent and The Stage, author of the Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy, and veteran of 11 consecutive Edinburgh Festivals - is offering PR and directing services for acts going to the 2014 Fringe. And what's more, he's offering Free Festival acts a discount on his normal rates.

"After all this time taking notes on acts for reviews, and sharing their festival ups and downs in conversation, I realised how alike the comedian and critic roles are: we're constantly pitching stories that we hope people will want to hear. It was with this in mind that I started to offer one-off PR sessions a few years ago."

"Branching out into directing will allow me to use my experience in another proactive way and apply ideas more directly to willing acts."

"Whether you choose PR services, directing, or both services, it's always useful to have someone stand outside of what you do to help tweak things and this, of course, applies to actors, writers, comedians and journalists etc."

"The first question you'll probably have is 'will you be able to review me as well?' and the answer is no, however that doesn't mean the publications I write for can't send someone else."

"The second and third questions will probably be 'what do I get?' and 'for how much?'"

So...

What you'll get:

Introductory one-to-one sessions will last for 90 minutes, costing £60 (£45 for Free Festival acts) and will cover the following:

Writing and disseminating your press release; creating a coverage checklist to juice as much PR potential out of your act as possible; how to take targeted follow-up action to outlets where you are most likely to get coverage (from listings to diary stories to features, and reviews); devising photo opportunities and media stunts and so on.

Ongoing PR:

While I can impart enough to get you started and on course, it can be useful to have someone around to help put some of the ideas generated into action and to chase up journalists.

For this kind of activity I would charge:

£10 per hour
£8 per hour for Free Festival acts

Most tasks would take an hour, so, for example, chasing up a feature idea might involve contacting some journalists by phone a few times before reaching them, or crafting a firm-but-friendly email to chase others. Setting up a photocall is more intensive, and seeing through a stunt from start to finish would be at least half a day's work. You might prefer to set a budget limit for press activities and I can let you know what that is likely to cover.

The initial sessions will take place by arrangement, ideally in a central London location. Past sessions have been conducted in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Telephone sessions for those not within easy reach of London will be considered.

All payment methods accepted, invoices can be provided.


Directing:

This is a new venture for me and I have set the rates accordingly. What you want from the sessions can be steered by you, but I would envisage watching your set as much as possible and giving feedback on content, timing, momentum levels (avoiding lulls), pushing key audience response buttons, script editing etc. Much of this you will already instinctively know, but a second opinion will help to finesse your hour.

Cost:

5 x 2.5 hour sessions for £200 (£175 for Free Festival acts) with top ups at £20 an hour thereafter (£15 an hour for Free Festival acts).


Ongoing PR & Directing joint package:

£500 (£450 for Free Festival acts): covers ongoing PR plus the standard directing package, plus one extra session (so 6 x 2.5 hour sessions).

Contact: juleshall@hotmail.com Click Here

March 20, 2014 Culture Northern Ireland
Article about Alan Irwin - Party Hard
Culture Northern Ireland
Alan Irwin's Party Hard is his second hour-long set and listed, conspicuously, as a preview for the Edinburgh Festival. This is usually comedian short-hand for 'I've cobbled together about half an hour's worth of material and will busk the rest'. Happily, this doesn't seem to be the case here.

Irwin bounds onto the stage, exhibiting real energy and presence, his voice ringing around the room. The change is palpable from the last time that I saw him. There is a newfound confidence, perhaps a reflection of the newer set or perhaps because he knows more what he wants to do with his comedy.

Irwin opens with a conversational anecdote about meeting Van Morrison on the Ormeau Road and inviting him to a house party, where nobody recognises the musical malcontent. So far so Call My Bluff, but in his next breath he reveals this to be a lie, 'but I have done lots of other things'.

It's a measure of how far Irwin has come as a performer that we go along with him and that we're not upset by the revelation – we're waiting for the next lie.

The truth behind Irwin's set is that he's trying hard to convince you that he's not a fun guy at all, and he is an exemplary young fogey. His cultural references – to Blur's Parklife, N.W.A.'s Straight out of Compton and 'the D.J. Fatboy Slim' – are heroically archaic. Irwin is 24-years old. "Straight out of Compton" came out a year before he was born.

He convinces too with his none-more-square interest in Hitler's strategic disappointments in the Second World War. It's here, in fact, that he really shines: this narky, pooterish pedantry is his comic voice, and if elsewhere his obvious affection for Louis CK shines through – 'I'm a white Protestant in Northern Ireland. It doesn't get much better than that' – it's the moments like his 'one pen solution to the Middle East peace process' that showcase his gifts as a writer and performer.

Against all the evidence, and even his own testimony, it turns out that Irwin is a fun guy after all. Several days later he will win the 2014 Chortle Student Comedy Award Belfast Heat at Queen's Comedy Club – a major player in the making. Click Here

February 24, 2014  Rip it up
Review of An Elephant in the Room
An Elephant in the Room
Mon Feb 24
Words By The Fix
Posted In Reviews
Wee Leggie opened the show to a full house and a captive audience, sharing the stories and songs of baby boomers that spent their children’s inheritance on world tours and modern medicine. As the title suggests Leggie took us on a comic adventure and spoke the unspoken, nothing was out of bounds.

The audience chuckled their way through story and songs from euthanasia, being a migrant, incontinence, stationary fetish and his own style of bush walking adventures. Leggie didn’t want to sing songs of love, but he did sneak in a love song of his mum and dad’s dependency and need for linen napkins.

A poetic and singing performance that had the whole crowd participating. An evening of fun and frivolity with all leaving with a smile on our faces, check it out Adelaide!

Rating: 3.5
Edel Perth & Kathryn Barclay
AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM continues at Directors Hotel until Sat Mar 1 and The Singing Gallery until Sat Mar 8. Click Here

February 24, 2014 Rip it up
Article about An Elephant in the Room
An Elephant in the Room
Mon Feb 24
Words By The Fix
Posted In Reviews
Wee Leggie opened the show to a full house and a captive audience, sharing the stories and songs of baby boomers that spent their children’s inheritance on world tours and modern medicine. As the title suggests Leggie took us on a comic adventure and spoke the unspoken, nothing was out of bounds.

The audience chuckled their way through story and songs from euthanasia, being a migrant, incontinence, stationary fetish and his own style of bush walking adventures. Leggie didn’t want to sing songs of love, but he did sneak in a love song of his mum and dad’s dependency and need for linen napkins.

A poetic and singing performance that had the whole crowd participating. An evening of fun and frivolity with all leaving with a smile on our faces, check it out Adelaide!

Rating: 3.5
Edel Perth & Kathryn Barclay
AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM continues at Directors Hotel until Sat Mar 1 and The Singing Gallery until Sat Mar 8. Click Here

February 24, 2014  Rip it up
Review of An Elephant in the Room
Review: An Elephant in the Room
Wee Leggie opened the show to a full house and a captive audience, sharing the stories and songs of baby boomers that spent their children’s inheritance on world tours and modern medicine. As the title suggests Leggie took us on a comic adventure and spoke the unspoken, nothing was out of bounds.

The audience chuckled their way through story and songs from euthanasia, being a migrant, incontinence, stationary fetish and his own style of bush walking adventures. Leggie didn’t want to sing songs of love, but he did sneak in a love song of his mum and dad’s dependency and need for linen napkins.

A poetic and singing performance that had the whole crowd participating. An evening of fun and frivolity with all leaving with a smile on our faces, check it out Adelaide!

Rating: 3.5
Edel Perth & Kathryn Barclay
AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM continues at Directors Hotel until Sat Mar 1 and The Singing Gallery until Sat Mar 8. Click Here

February 13, 2014 
Article about Absolutely
Absolutely at Fringe World
 Click Here

February 13, 2014 720 ABC RADIO Perth
Article about Absolutely
Absolutely at Fringe World
Allan Girod's is a small and entirely winning one-man show at this year's Fringe World.

How do you overcome your fears, your inner nerd, to do the things that scare and satisfy you the most? How can medieval total war games give you a coping strategy for stress? And what is it like to be headhunted by Cirque du Soleil for leading role?

The very tall Allan Girod, who wowed the critics in his first one-man show 'When Harry Met Harry' at fringe festivals in Canada and Australia, shares the story of his journey to overcome his introverted, anxious side to realise his goal of acting success in this small and deeply personal performance.

From awful, painful teenage days in suburban Perth where, like probably everyone in his audience, Allen has the wrong clothes, wrong address, and earnestly tries, and fails, at the social nightmare that is the year 10 dance, we're on his side.

This isn't a laugh a minute performance but a confidently told story of a life journey and taking risks when they're terrifying, dotted with comic detail throughout. I was charmed. Click Here

February 10, 2014 Chortle
Article about Harriet Dyer: Barking at Aeroplanes
Chortle Review - Leicester Comedy Festival 2014
‘Exploring the thin line between eccentric and the mental’ is perfect comedy ground for Harriet Dyer, who seems to have lived her entire life on that interface. Her instinctively funny stand-up is packed full of weird and wonderful incidents from her strange life so far – yet however outlandish the tales, they all have an absolute ring of truth.

She is a curious, larger-than-life personality with a vibrant, scatty delivery busting with peculiar energy. The fact the anecdotes haven’t been perfectly honed endears this kooky force of nature further, as she excitedly regales us with her stories.

Some could have more than a tinge of tragedy – a suicide attempt, for example or a yarn that begins ‘the first time I tried to get sectioned…’ – but they all have a heightened absurdity that revels in the oddness of her existence. And it’s not just her life that’s celebrated as strange, everyone from school chums to her dad seems to have stumbled straight out of a David Lynch film. The way she paint it, her native Cornwall might as well be Twin Peaks – and it makes for compellingly weird scenarios.

Dyer has a delightfully offbeat delivery that matches the tales, with little filter between brain and mouth that means she vocalises internal conversations and veers off on entertaining tangents as synapses spark. ‘She’s got funny bones,’ Kevin Bridges is quoted as saying on the show’s blurb – and it’s impossible to disagree. She’s certainly a natural comic insomuch as it’s difficult to see her functioning in any normal job.

That said, Dyer is not the finished product yet. Two opposing forces pull at her work: the need for a stronger sense of direction on some of the tales, and also the confidence to be able to wander freely wherever her easily distracted mind takes her, sure in the knowledge she’ll hit laughs. This is an early outing of the show, and for the moment she seemed concerned with getting her thoughts, written on notes by her side, in order. That’s perhaps right, as once the framework is learnt, she can then choose to ignore it.

But she’s an endearingly bonkers, naturally exuberant personality (she can even use the phrase ‘what the Dickens!’ without it feeling forced) who seems certain to become a comic force to be reckoned with when it comes to first-hand anecdotes. Click Here

February 10, 2014 Chortle
Article about Harriet Dyer: Barking at Aeroplanes
Harriet Dyer: Barking At Aeroplanes - Gig review by Steve Bennett at the Leicester Comedy Festival
‘Exploring the thin line between eccentric and the mental’ is perfect comedy ground for Harriet Dyer, who seems to have lived her entire life on that interface. Her instinctively funny stand-up is packed full of weird and wonderful incidents from her strange life so far – yet however outlandish the tales, they all have an absolute ring of truth.
She is a curious, larger-than-life personality with a vibrant, scatty delivery busting with peculiar energy. The fact the anecdotes haven’t been perfectly honed endears this kooky force of nature further, as she excitedly regales us with her stories.

Some could have more than a tinge of tragedy – a suicide attempt, for example or a yarn that begins ‘the first time I tried to get sectioned…’ – but they all have a heightened absurdity that revels in the oddness of her existence. And it’s not just her life that’s celebrated as strange, everyone from school chums to her dad seems to have stumbled straight out of a David Lynch film. The way she paint it, her native Cornwall might as well be Twin Peaks – and it makes for compellingly weird scenarios.

Dyer has a delightfully offbeat delivery that matches the tales, with little filter between brain and mouth that means she vocalises internal conversations and veers off on entertaining tangents as synapses spark. ‘She’s got funny bones,’ Kevin Bridges is quoted as saying on the show’s blurb – and it’s impossible to disagree. She’s certainly a natural comic insomuch as it’s difficult to see her functioning in any normal job.

That said, Dyer is not the finished product yet. Two opposing forces pull at her work: the need for a stronger sense of direction on some of the tales, and also the confidence to be able to wander freely wherever her easily distracted mind takes her, sure in the knowledge she’ll hit laughs. This is an early outing of the show, and for the moment she seemed concerned with getting her thoughts, written on notes by her side, in order. That’s perhaps right, as once the framework is learnt, she can then choose to ignore it.

But she’s an endearingly bonkers, naturally exuberant personality (she can even use the phrase ‘what the Dickens!’ without it feeling forced) who seems certain to become a comic force to be reckoned with when it comes to first-hand anecdotes. Click Here

February 10, 2014 Chortle
Article about Harriet Dyer: Barking at Aeroplanes
Harriet Dyer: Barking At AeroplanesGig review by Steve Bennett at the Leicester Comedy Festival
‘Exploring the thin line between eccentric and the mental’ is perfect comedy ground for Harriet Dyer, who seems to have lived her entire life on that interface. Her instinctively funny stand-up is packed full of weird and wonderful incidents from her strange life so far – yet however outlandish the tales, they all have an absolute ring of truth.
She is a curious, larger-than-life personality with a vibrant, scatty delivery busting with peculiar energy. The fact the anecdotes haven’t been perfectly honed endears this kooky force of nature further, as she excitedly regales us with her stories.

Some could have more than a tinge of tragedy – a suicide attempt, for example or a yarn that begins ‘the first time I tried to get sectioned…’ – but they all have a heightened absurdity that revels in the oddness of her existence. And it’s not just her life that’s celebrated as strange, everyone from school chums to her dad seems to have stumbled straight out of a David Lynch film. The way she paint it, her native Cornwall might as well be Twin Peaks – and it makes for compellingly weird scenarios.

Dyer has a delightfully offbeat delivery that matches the tales, with little filter between brain and mouth that means she vocalises internal conversations and veers off on entertaining tangents as synapses spark. ‘She’s got funny bones,’ Kevin Bridges is quoted as saying on the show’s blurb – and it’s impossible to disagree. She’s certainly a natural comic insomuch as it’s difficult to see her functioning in any normal job.

That said, Dyer is not the finished product yet. Two opposing forces pull at her work: the need for a stronger sense of direction on some of the tales, and also the confidence to be able to wander freely wherever her easily distracted mind takes her, sure in the knowledge she’ll hit laughs. This is an early outing of the show, and for the moment she seemed concerned with getting her thoughts, written on notes by her side, in order. That’s perhaps right, as once the framework is learnt, she can then choose to ignore it.

But she’s an endearingly bonkers, naturally exuberant personality (she can even use the phrase ‘what the Dickens!’ without it feeling forced) who seems certain to become a comic force to be reckoned with when it comes to first-hand anecdotes. Click Here

February 8, 2014  Herdmu.com
Review of James Loveridge: Funny Because It's True
James Loveridge: Funny Because It's True - Review
A while back, I once read somewhere that the best nights are usually ‘unplanned, random and spontaneous’. Last minute get-togethers with old friends, spur of the moment holidays and random evenings with good company are all things that a lot of people – young, old, boring, exciting – thrive on.

As you may or may know from being a De Montfort University student, DSU Elections are in full swing and the campus centre has never been so busy. While three friends from my Media Production course and I had just finished breakfast, we were being approached left right and centre, getting asked the same thing: “hey guys, sorry to bother you, but have you voted yet?”. ‘Yes’ was always the answer. So when another young man approached us, our first instinct was to say (or shout) ‘WE’VE ALREADY VOTED’ – but his reasoning for approaching was different that what we assumed. Laptop in hand, he came over, telling us about his comedy gig that was taking place that evening at a local bar and venue called ‘The Looking Glass’. Naturally, Emily, Ash, James and I asked ‘where?’ in unison, and after being given directions – he continued on his quest to get us to come to his comedy gig.

James Loveridge, born and raised in Essex – a great starting topic of jokes, I might add – is in Leicester as part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, which he kicked off, and is playing two nights at The Looking Glass. With an open mind, we set out to see James perform his stand-up and needless to say, we are all extremely and pleasantly surprised.

Having only an hour to perform his material, James put on an undeniably great performance in the basement of The Looking Glass, telling stories from growing up, going to school, having the most bizarre sexual encounters and travelling the world. While most comedians nowadays stick to a starting point of ‘so my wife…’ or ‘my girlfriend the other day…’, James says that there haven’t been any ‘rocky moments’ in the relationship yet for there to be any comedic moments – cue laughter from most of the males in the audience. The stories he tells are true, which is the reason behind the show’s title ‘Funny because it’s true’. There are no false recollections. No over-the-top encounters with weird and wonderful people… well… he has met a lot of weird and wonderful people in his time, but nevertheless, you are automatically drawn to his inexplicable way of storytelling that gets you doubled over laughing in seconds.

With a few moments in time where he interacts with the audience, you get that sense of realness from James as a comedian and someone who is generally interested in connecting with the people who is interested in him. Even down to the moment where there seemed some sort of dance-orientated rampant stomping coming from upstairs, James didn’t fail to impress us with his quick wit with the Anne Frank-related joke that split the audience in half, and determination to continue, proving to us his professional showmanship.
I appreciate good comedy when I see it, having watched comedy shows on TV from a young age, I would add James Loveridge to the list.

James is back in The Looking Glass tonight for another round of ‘Funny because it’s true‘ and after having met and spoken to him after the show, I recommend that you go down, watch the show and understand wholly what I mean when I say that James Loveridge is a truly talented (and downright hilarious) comedian, and a man with a freaky resemblance to Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia… Last night was aprime example of spontaneous and last minute nights being the best. Click Here

January 20, 2014 Cracking the Fringe
Cracking the Fringe talks to Free Festival Director Alex Petty
With interest in free shows at the Edinburgh Fringe growing every year, we decided to interview Alex Petty, who runs Laughing Horse, about applying to the Free Festival. Click Here

January 16, 2014  The Public Reviews
Review of SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - From Primark to Prison.
SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - UNITY THEATRE, LIVERPOOL
Scottie Road the Musical’s return to the Unity Theatre kick-starts the New Year with a bang, as Keddy Sutton and Gillian Hardie don their Uggs and rollers once again to give audiences another chance to see where it all began for their brilliant creations, Caz and Britney. Scottie Road follows the duo’s madcap antics as they journey from ‘Primark to Prison’.
The return is a triumph. Sutton and Hardie build an almost instantaneous rapport and their conversational style ensures the audience feels very much part of the show. From the moment they step on stage it is clear that Sutton and Hardie have great chemistry together and apparent ad libs frequently show just how naturally funny and quick-witted both performers are. Not a second is wasted and there are laughs to be had in every line, expression or impression, with Sutton proving to be particularly adept at the latter.
Caz and Britney take the audience through snippets of their time in prison, often via the medium of song. There are well crafted parodies from shows such as Chicago, Les Miserables and Evita and for musical theatre fans it is a treat to hear these recognisable songs reworked with such flair and ingenuity. Highlights include Hardie’s raucous rendition of ‘Master of the Scouse’ and a particularly hilarious version of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. Both performers possess excellent voices and could easily be leading ladies in any of the shows they have drawn inspiration from.
The West End’s loss is currently Liverpool’s gain however and the audience certainly appreciated the many references to Liverpool landmarks and celebrities. Sutton and Hardie strike the right balance however to ensure familiarity with the area is a bonus rather than a necessity and there is plenty for everyone to relate to and enjoy.
In lesser hands Caz and Britney could simply be caricatures and although at times they are brash and over the top, there is a certain charm and warmth to the pair that makes it impossible not to root for them.
With two hilarious shows to their names, the presence of Caz and Britney guarantees a great night and Sutton and Hardie have all the ingredients of a classic comedy partnership. With tickets selling fast and an ever increasing reputation, it is to be hoped that Sutton and Hardie become regular fixtures on the stages of Liverpool and beyond. Click Here

January 16, 2014 LIVERPOOL LIVE
Article about SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - From Primark to Prison.
SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - LIVERPOOL
Scottie Road The Musical is the story of Caz and Britney and their musical misadventure from Primark to prison. The show written by the leading ladies themselves (Keddy Sutton and Gillian Hardie) launched at the Unity Theatre. Our reviewer Tanith Facey donned her curlers and UGG Boots to see the show…
Having had a glimpse at what Caz and Britney could do at last year’s Vogue Ball in Liverpool, I was very keen to see what this comical pair could achieve in their own theatre production. Written and performed by Keddy and Gillian, this was going to be their ultimate showcase and I have to admit, my expectations were quite high.
The intimate venue didn’t give the girls any room for error as we were up close and personal. You can quite often get lost amongst cast and staging in a larger production but not today. Bear in mind that on stage there are only two chairs and a screen for backdrop.
So what’s the story? Two perfectly stereo-typed Scouse girls with curlers in their hair throughout the whole show, wearing UGG boots and leggings and at one point prison issue onsies! They tell their story through a mixture of song and theatre of how a fight that broke out in Primark, resulted in their doing time in the local women’s prison. They entertained us with how they cope with life behind bars and how eventually they plan their escape.

From the moment they stepped on stage the audience were giggling. You can see how well they work together and how well rehearsed they were because their comedy timing was spot on. I loved how they involved the audience, which is quite a big risk in a show like this, but not only did they do it well, the curve balls that they threw (you never know how an audience member is going to respond) demonstrated how witty and skillful they can be. They cleverly put their own comical lyrics to Broadway Show songs and both of their singing voices really are fabulous.
So if you are into comical Scousisms, Broadway show melodies, a bit of audience participation and some very down to earth Liverpool humour, this production is for you. The duo need commending on bringing a simple story to life in the way they did, well written and well executed. I couldn’t help but imagine grander scenery for each of the storyline venues they were trying to depict and a chorus line of girls in curlers behind them when they were dancing and belting out their songs. I hope someone spots how talented they both are and gives them an opportunity to bring their show to an even bigger stage.
Well done Keddy and Gillian! Overall a good night of entertainment and giggles!


 Click Here

January 11, 2014  WHAT'S ON STAGE
Review of SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - From Primark to Prison.
SCOTTIE ROAD THE MUSICAL - LIVERPOOL
Scottie Road - The Musical tells the story of pasty eating, pyjama wearing Scouse scallies, Caz 'n' Britney, who following an unfortunate incident in Primark with a £1.00 ring and a girl called Shaz, end up in prison. What follows are two hours of laughter, madness and a good selection of West End hits modified the Caz 'n' Britney way.
Gillian Hardie and Keddy Sutton are the geneses behind these lovable rogues. Having worked together since 2008, these characters have just got bigger and better, and have created quite a following. As soon as these two walk onto Unity 2 stage, the audience instantly cheer, and the evening flies by, with Sutton and Hardie frequently having to stop to let the cheering and clapping die down before returning to the script. It is clear that the pair are very comfortable working together, often going off script and including the audience as much as possible.
As well as talented comic writers and performers, their vocal ability also shines. It seems that nothing can faze the duo and in some parts of their act put me in mind of a young Eric and Ernie with their easy way with the audience and their comic timing. They are definitely an act to watch out for and easily the funniest women on the circuit. Click Here

December 1, 2013 The Independent on Sunday
Article about Dave Griffiths: C U IN COURT (CNUT v FCUK)
Comedian gets the last laugh over FCUK logo row
 Click Here

August 22, 2013  Three Weeks
Review of Who Ya Gonna Call?
Review
“This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.” Since ‘Ghostbusters’ came out in 1984, what the world has been missing is ‘Ghostbusters The Musical’, and it’s finally happened. Whether you’re a ‘Ghostbusters’ aficionado (Level Three) like the Superfan theatre company, or just a Level One fan of slapstick and song, there’s something in it for everyone. Filling their show to the brim with super nerdy jokes (and ectoplasmic goo) the three cast members recreate the 80’s classic with homemade props and beautifully improvised humour and songs. The highlight is undoubtedly the reconstruction of the iconic ‘Ghostbusters’ montage, with cardboard newspapers and lots of intense running on the spot. The only thing that could’ve improved this show is a cameo from Bill Murray himself.
Wilkie House Upstairs, until 24 Aug, 5.15pm.
tw rating 5/5 | [Elizabeth Jewell] Click Here

August 22, 2013  Who Ya Gonna Call?
Review of Who Ya Gonna Call?
Review
“This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.” Since ‘Ghostbusters’ came out in 1984, what the world has been missing is ‘Ghostbusters The Musical’, and it’s finally happened. Whether you’re a ‘Ghostbusters’ aficionado (Level Three) like the Superfan theatre company, or just a Level One fan of slapstick and song, there’s something in it for everyone. Filling their show to the brim with super nerdy jokes (and ectoplasmic goo) the three cast members recreate the 80’s classic with homemade props and beautifully improvised humour and songs. The highlight is undoubtedly the reconstruction of the iconic ‘Ghostbusters’ montage, with cardboard newspapers and lots of intense running on the spot. The only thing that could’ve improved this show is a cameo from Bill Murray himself.
Wilkie House Upstairs, until 24 Aug, 5.15pm.
tw rating 5/5 | [Elizabeth Jewell] Click Here

August 22, 2013  Three Weeks
Review of Who Ya Gonna Call?
Who Ya Gonna Call?
“This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.” Since ‘Ghostbusters’ came out in 1984, what the world has been missing is ‘Ghostbusters The Musical’, and it’s finally happened. Whether you’re a ‘Ghostbusters’ aficionado (Level Three) like the Superfan theatre company, or just a Level One fan of slapstick and song, there’s something in it for everyone. Filling their show to the brim with super nerdy jokes (and ectoplasmic goo) the three cast members recreate the 80’s classic with homemade props and beautifully improvised humour and songs. The highlight is undoubtedly the reconstruction of the iconic ‘Ghostbusters’ montage, with cardboard newspapers and lots of intense running on the spot. The only thing that could’ve improved this show is a cameo from Bill Murray himself. Click Here

August 19, 2013  Edfringereview
Review of Rauls Were Made To Be Broken
Edfringereview.com
"enlightening"
"Genuine clever inventiveness"
"For some fresh, funny and meticulously contemporary comedy this is the perfect production"
"Human Happiness is by and large a witty and clever show with an ultimately edifying message at its end."
"Master of Audience engagement"
"delivered with a wit, confidence and joyous energy" Click Here

August 19, 2013  Three Weeks
Review of Over It - Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things
Three Weeks Review 2013
 Click Here

August 19, 2013 
Article about Rauls Were Made To Be Broken
Human Happiness: An Alien Concept review
"Delivered with a wit, confidence and joyous energy"
"Genuinely clever inventiveness"
"Human Happiness is by and large a witty and clever show with an ultimately edifying message at its end."
"For some fresh, funny and meticulously contemporary comedy this is the perfect production"
"provides a lot of fun as well as some more serious food for thought."
"Enlightening"
"One has to admire the ease with which the comedian manages to constantly draw upon fresh material and slickly weaves this into a mesh of several core jokes,"
"The material which he offers flourishes with his sheer enthusiasm" Click Here

August 19, 2013  Islington Gazette
Review of James Dowdeswell - Wine, Ale and I
Review from the Islington Gazette
Review: Camden Fringe Festival, NW1

After a brief pause for libation, up came James Dowdeswell, whose vaguely booze-themed show told the alcohol-tinted tale of a man who grew up a pub in the west country; it’s even called Wine, Ale and I – a pun on the 80s classic film starring Richard E Grant.

Witty, meandering tales were his stock in trade; from wine-tasting in France to smuggling a giant hot dog outfit across borders in a comedic cold war style, it was enthralling, enjoyable stuff.

His audience participation was fantastic too – getting to know all corners of the crowd and bantering them without being too harsh, so everyone was happy to join in. By the end of the night the Stoke Newington native had pretty much invited us all out to his local; the Three Crowns.

Two great acts, for next to nothing and nothing not to like.

I absolutely love the Camden fringe, it should be applauded and everyone should vow to go to at least one show each year.

**** stars

Jon Dean
Monday, August 19, 2013
2:38 PM Click Here

August 13, 2013  Fringe Review
Review of James Dowdeswell - Wine, Ale and I
Wine Ale and I - Fringe Review from Camden Fringe
Camden Fringe 2013
Wine, Ale and I

Recommended Show

Venue: The Camden Head

Low Down
Stand-up comedian and actor James Dowdeswell (as seen on Ricky Gervais’ Extras and Russell Howard’s Good News) fills a happy hour with anecdotes, funny facts, and why he loves his ale and wine.

Review
James Dowdeswell does a good line in self-deprecation. With a likeable persona and a gift for storytelling and ad lib, this kind of subject matter is tailor-made for his special sort of talent.

Dowdeswell tells us what’s it’s like to grow up in a West Country pub, what Bristol has taught him about beer, what he’s learnt from pub experiences in Wales to Ireland to Newcastle and back again, and why Pinot Noir is his tipple of choice. We’re also offered some colourfully eccentric facts about booze, a whole host of inspired accents and accurately-drawn people-impersonations, as well as some witty anecdotes from a family trip to Bordeaux on a wine-tasting holiday.

This latest show from this stand-up comedian is a light-hearted look at the world we live in and how a healthy appreciation of wine and ale can make our experience of the world that much better. It’s a solid gig, from the enlightening tales of his youth through to his knack of pleasing and involving the audience. It’s a receptive audience, and he gets a lot of laughs from his brand of intelligent, observational comedy. An audience invitation to join the host-comedian in the pub downstairs after the show is a fitting one, as is the show’s setting – above a boozer.

It’s a friendly hour of conversation about booze as well as being a lesson in how best to bond with complete strangers within the confines of a pub that’s far from home. Dowdeswell, in his own slightly awkward, half-embarrassed way, takes us on a tour of his travels and observations, and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Click Here

August 12, 2013  The Skinny
Review of Anil Desai's Another Night at the Movies
Anil Desai: Another Night at the Movies

Review by Vonny Moyes.

Published 12 August 2013

There's something different about Anil Desai; he's either one of the most gifted impressionists I've ever seen or his face is channelling some sort of witchcraft. Either would be impressive, really. It's a full house tonight, but by the end of the show there will have been more people on stage than bums on seats. He starts the hour conversing about our favourite movies and his domestic grumbles, before using this as a vehicle to launch into something really special.

Being the first to admit he looks nothing like Robert De Niro, he gets us to count to three before morphing into him so completely, it's downright spooky. It's not enough for an impressionist just to nail the voice these days; the character has to permeate their every fibre, and Desai is utterly undetectable. It's even more extraordinary as he melts into 50 different stars in the space of minutes.

He interlaces them flawlessly into charming anecdotes and observational riffs on Indians in space. The audience is utterly captivated; his chameleonics draw as much gleeful gasping as riotous laughter. One of the most impressive parts is a three way discussion between some very famous stars – this artifice works really well, and leaves me wishing the rest of the hour incorporated such intelligent playfulness. He has the talent to make it work. Desai's show is a real treasure of the free Fringe, and a show I would happily pay a decent amount to see. Cheaper than hitting the flicks, and infinitely more fun, so what are you waiting for?
 Click Here

July 28, 2013 The Scotsman
Article about Shit of the Fringe
Shit of the Fringe is a show to see!
My favourite comedy concept this year: Shit of the Fringe, a late-night showcase on the Cowgate “for all the great comedians who have got bad reviews, and deserve more!” Ah, but do they mean “deserve more bad reviews”? (In which case you should heckle "them, Late N Live style). Or do they mean “deserve better reviews”? (In which case you should be nice, maybe.) Either way, it’s a great idea, although perhaps one that could only apply to comedy. Can you imagine how tragic a late night show called Shit Burlesque or Shit Improv would be? I can. I’ve been to both. They just didn’t call them that." - The Scotsman Click Here

April 12, 2013  Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Review of GAME ON
Matty Grey in Age-Less 2: Game On
There is no doubt that the biggest kid in the room during the show was Matty Grey. With the temperament of the Amazing Jonathan, gaming experience of classroom full of primary school kids and props of the Reject shop and Popcultcha combined, I knew I was in for an awesome show.

Matt's show is like a living comic book/computer game, with oodles of audience participation which everyone really does enjoy. To be honest, the grin didn't leave my face from the time we had to chase him up a flight of stairs at the beginning of the show, right through to the real-life version of a game that takes us all back to the 80s with plastic guns and some ducks (yep you know what I'm referring to Nintendoholics)at the end of the show.


Kids of all ages were bursting with laughter at the Mario, Tetris, World of Warcraft, Angry Birds and Pacman references.
Unfortunately it's not at the festival much longer, but make sure you try and get there before it finishes up (yeah you can even take a kid or two along if you like) Click Here

January 23, 2013 Granary Theatre
Article about The Rooftops of Paris
Granary Theatre: The Rooftops Of Paris

The Rooftops of Paris
January / 23 / 2013

A cold evening in Cork in January requires a good reason to step away from the fireplace, and this last week has had many an electric blanket turned up to the maximum. Theatre is one of those things that can always warm the heart and the soul however, along with a few hot ports and a bit of banter.

Upon hearing about Strive Theatre Group’s new play “The Rooftops of Paris”, and that the venue for this piece being the lovely Nancy Spain’s on Barrack Street, I decided to brave the elements for the evening. I was not disappointed. Having met Production Manager Andy Weston earlier in the day, he had advised that I “wrap up warm” due to the performance being outdoors, and I heeded his advice, with all manner of layers that my Mammy would have been happy with. They were needed as it was a bitterly cold night, but I can assure you that the performance made it worthwhile.

The play concerns itself with a young couple recently moved to Cork, where they have put themselves on “the property ladder” with the acquisition of a new house. The couple are expecting their first child, are are enjoying the benefits of the “Celtic Tiger” with Charlie working in a bank, and Cara, a child-minder, able to stay at home in preparation for the baby.

The trials and tribulations of those young people who had grown up in the Celtic Tiger is the drama of the play, as they get their first real taste of the real world; soaring house prices; rising mortgages; loss of friends and acquaintances; and the inevitable inclusion of the most Irish of problems: alcohol.

Cara is played by Paula Wheldon, and amicably so. The characters penchant for the purchase and acquisition of new things, and non understanding of the fiscal consequences of this, is beautifully crafted in the script and well-realised in the performance.

Charlie is played by Aidan Moriarty, a young man who has consistently shown good promise where he applies himself to his craft. His staccato delivery of his frustrations and Hiberno masculine silence help shape the flow of the character as we share his dramatic journey.

The optimism shown by Charlie in his new surroundings are first questioned by local bar man, Tom, played by Danny Hale. Hale’s thoughtful approach to the character endears him to the audience and makes the friendship between this newcomer and the local that much more believable.

Working for the bank as he does, Charlie soon loses his lofty notions of Ireland in the boom and the realization of the imminent collapse of the property market drives him to the drink in an attempt to escape from the reality of his situation.

References to the great Irish Writers and Poets are personified in the character of John, Tom’s brother, a poet recently returned from London, who regales the pub with a few of his own verses before moving to the old classics. Daithí O’Donnell delivers these poems with aplomb, allowing MacArtain’s beauty with words come to the fore.

Some light comedy is a welcome relief in places where the subject matter takes on the more ominous tones. The most obvious of this is the explosion of enthusiasm from Aoife Bradley upon the audiences return to the auditorium for the second act. Her overly cheery child-minder is almost a caricature but is reigned in at the last, making is a plausible and hilarious comic character.

It is the writing and direction that make the piece stand out however. There is a rhythm to the piece that is masterfully crafted, well-understood by the actors and confidently directed and communicated. The poetry and use of language mixes colloquial and officious parlance in a manner I can only describe as Irish, and the inclusion of the many great Irish writers in the play show an appreciation for the past masters that the work exemplifies. Click Here

January 23, 2013 Granary Theatre
Article about The Rooftops of Paris
Granary Theatre: The Rooftops Of Paris

The Rooftops of Paris
January / 23 / 2013

A cold evening in Cork in January requires a good reason to step away from the fireplace, and this last week has had many an electric blanket turned up to the maximum. Theatre is one of those things that can always warm the heart and the soul however, along with a few hot ports and a bit of banter.

Upon hearing about Strive Theatre Group’s new play “The Rooftops of Paris”, and that the venue for this piece being the lovely Nancy Spain’s on Barrack Street, I decided to brave the elements for the evening. I was not disappointed. Having met Production Manager Andy Weston earlier in the day, he had advised that I “wrap up warm” due to the performance being outdoors, and I heeded his advice, with all manner of layers that my Mammy would have been happy with. They were needed as it was a bitterly cold night, but I can assure you that the performance made it worthwhile.

The play concerns itself with a young couple recently moved to Cork, where they have put themselves on “the property ladder” with the acquisition of a new house. The couple are expecting their first child, are are enjoying the benefits of the “Celtic Tiger” with Charlie working in a bank, and Cara, a child-minder, able to stay at home in preparation for the baby.

The trials and tribulations of those young people who had grown up in the Celtic Tiger is the drama of the play, as they get their first real taste of the real world; soaring house prices; rising mortgages; loss of friends and acquaintances; and the inevitable inclusion of the most Irish of problems: alcohol.

Cara is played by Paula Wheldon, and amicably so. The characters penchant for the purchase and acquisition of new things, and non understanding of the fiscal consequences of this, is beautifully crafted in the script and well-realised in the performance.

Charlie is played by Aidan Moriarty, a young man who has consistently shown good promise where he applies himself to his craft. His staccato delivery of his frustrations and Hiberno masculine silence help shape the flow of the character as we share his dramatic journey.

The optimism shown by Charlie in his new surroundings are first questioned by local bar man, Tom, played by Danny Hale. Hale’s thoughtful approach to the character endears him to the audience and makes the friendship between this newcomer and the local that much more believable.

Working for the bank as he does, Charlie soon loses his lofty notions of Ireland in the boom and the realization of the imminent collapse of the property market drives him to the drink in an attempt to escape from the reality of his situation.

References to the great Irish Writers and Poets are personified in the character of John, Tom’s brother, a poet recently returned from London, who regales the pub with a few of his own verses before moving to the old classics. Daithí O’Donnell delivers these poems with aplomb, allowing MacArtain’s beauty with words come to the fore.

Some light comedy is a welcome relief in places where the subject matter takes on the more ominous tones. The most obvious of this is the explosion of enthusiasm from Aoife Bradley upon the audiences return to the auditorium for the second act. Her overly cheery child-minder is almost a caricature but is reigned in at the last, making is a plausible and hilarious comic character.

It is the writing and direction that make the piece stand out however. There is a rhythm to the piece that is masterfully crafted, well-understood by the actors and confidently directed and communicated. The poetry and use of language mixes colloquial and officious parlance in a manner I can only describe as Irish, and the inclusion of the many great Irish writers in the play show an appreciation for the past masters that the work exemplifies.

To book e-mail andyweston16@gmail.com

Runs January 21st-26th (excl Thursday 25th) @ 8pm

Tickets €5 Click Here

January 23, 2013 
Article about The Rebel Rouser
DUKES DIARY “TV & THEATRE CRITIC”
This show is a roller coaster ride of pure neuralgia oops sorry nostalgia. DUKES DIARY “TV & THEATRE CRITIC”

January 23, 2013 Granary Theatre
Article about The Rooftops of Paris
The Rooftops Of Paris
The Rooftops of Paris
January / 23 / 2013

A cold evening in Cork in January requires a good reason to step away from the fireplace, and this last week has had many an electric blanket turned up to the maximum. Theatre is one of those things that can always warm the heart and the soul however, along with a few hot ports and a bit of banter.

Upon hearing about Strive Theatre Group’s new play “The Rooftops of Paris”, and that the venue for this piece being the lovely Nancy Spain’s on Barrack Street, I decided to brave the elements for the evening. I was not disappointed. Having met Production Manager Andy Weston earlier in the day, he had advised that I “wrap up warm” due to the performance being outdoors, and I heeded his advice, with all manner of layers that my Mammy would have been happy with. They were needed as it was a bitterly cold night, but I can assure you that the performance made it worthwhile.

The play concerns itself with a young couple recently moved to Cork, where they have put themselves on “the property ladder” with the acquisition of a new house. The couple are expecting their first child, are are enjoying the benefits of the “Celtic Tiger” with Charlie working in a bank, and Cara, a child-minder, able to stay at home in preparation for the baby.

The trials and tribulations of those young people who had grown up in the Celtic Tiger is the drama of the play, as they get their first real taste of the real world; soaring house prices; rising mortgages; loss of friends and acquaintances; and the inevitable inclusion of the most Irish of problems: alcohol.

Cara is played by Paula Wheldon, and amicably so. The characters penchant for the purchase and acquisition of new things, and non understanding of the fiscal consequences of this, is beautifully crafted in the script and well-realised in the performance.

Charlie is played by Aidan Moriarty, a young man who has consistently shown good promise where he applies himself to his craft. His staccato delivery of his frustrations and Hiberno masculine silence help shape the flow of the character as we share his dramatic journey.

The optimism shown by Charlie in his new surroundings are first questioned by local bar man, Tom, played by Danny Hale. Hale’s thoughtful approach to the character endears him to the audience and makes the friendship between this newcomer and the local that much more believable.

Working for the bank as he does, Charlie soon loses his lofty notions of Ireland in the boom and the realization of the imminent collapse of the property market drives him to the drink in an attempt to escape from the reality of his situation.

References to the great Irish Writers and Poets are personified in the character of John, Tom’s brother, a poet recently returned from London, who regales the pub with a few of his own verses before moving to the old classics. Daithí O’Donnell delivers these poems with aplomb, allowing MacArtain’s beauty with words come to the fore.

Some light comedy is a welcome relief in places where the subject matter takes on the more ominous tones. The most obvious of this is the explosion of enthusiasm from Aoife Bradley upon the audiences return to the auditorium for the second act. Her overly cheery child-minder is almost a caricature but is reigned in at the last, making is a plausible and hilarious comic character.

It is the writing and direction that make the piece stand out however. There is a rhythm to the piece that is masterfully crafted, well-understood by the actors and confidently directed and communicated. The poetry and use of language mixes colloquial and officious parlance in a manner I can only describe as Irish, and the inclusion of the many great Irish writers in the play show an appreciation for the past masters that the work exemplifies.

To book e-mail andyweston16@gmail.com

Runs January 21st-26th (excl Thursday 25th) @ 8pm

Tickets €5 Click Here

August 3, 2012  Broadway Baby
Review of CeilidhKids at the Fringe - FREE!
Gay Gordons For Grandchild And Grandma
 Click Here

May 26, 2012  FringeGuru
Review of Who Did I Think I Was?
Who Did I Think I Was?

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Theatre
25-26 May, 1:00pm-1:50pm, 7:00pm-7:50pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp
As the script points out early on, Who Did I Think I Was? is a play about "two men sharing digs"; but forget any thoughts of college capers, because these men are father and son. Both have suffered tragedies, and both have ended up alone - though both have a lot of happy memories to share. And both are played by a single actor, Peter Henderson, which means their stories are told through a series of interleaved monologues spanning several years.

As I know from reviewing his previous work, Henderson does comically annoying mannerisms very well. In this case, as the father, he sneezes, grumbles continually, and describes everything he's doing out loud; it's to Henderson's credit, both as actor and playwright, that he has the courage to repeat the same joke over and over and make it funnier every time. But of course, Dad has hidden depths - he flew a Spitfire in the War - and the script brings out a few moments of thought-provoking tenderness, though I did feel this aspect of his character could be more strongly played.

The son, perhaps, is more fleshed out: he's got an interesting and predictably troubled past, which emerges in measured doses over the course of the play. He has a few comic moments of his own - including a thoroughly passable Mick Jagger impersonation - and at one point rescues a flagging pace with a glorious rant on the annoyances of sharing someone else's space (though I'm totally with his dad on the right way to hang the toilet roll). Generally, though, the son's had a difficult life, and it's his story we learn the most from - particularly when the script cleverly meshes his comments with his father's, giving us a second perspective and a subtler point of view.

If I've one criticism of Henderson's generally-impeccable performance, it's that the two characters aren't clearly enough distinguished: they're a bit too much "like father, like son". The younger man could do with a few mannerisms of his own, and perhaps a more obviously different physical presence, to complete the illusion of two people on stage. The script also suffers a little from having two endings, as each of the men's personal stories comes to a close - it leaves the final scene feeling like a postscript, which is a shame, because it's really what carries the whole message of the play.

Overall, though, Who Did I Think I Was? is a compelling piece of theatre, which is bound to improve even further as Henderson develops into his role. I'm not sure it has a particular moral - except for obvious one that life can be hard, and we need to face it together - but I'm not sure that really matters, either. It's a story worth telling, about characters whose fates came to matter to me, and the bittersweet ending is delivered with just the right amount of manly emotional reserve. No need for me to reserve my praise, though: Henderson's impressed me in the past and, emphatically, he's done it again. Click Here

May 26, 2012  Fringe Review
Review of Who Did I Think I Was?
Who Did I Think I Was?
Billed as "A tragicomedy of a father and son being together again", Peter Henderson returns to Brighton Fringe in a "one-man two-hander", playing both father and son.

There's something Meldrewish about Henderson as the father but he's darker and prepared to dive even deeper into the intolerance and irritation of later life. This is a show that is finely observed and there's a lot of detail that will finesse even further over a longer run.

It's staged with simple economy and there's a marvellous sense of someone past it and thwarted. The son is haunted, and wonderfully overlapped with his older relative. Henderson is equally believable as both dad and son. A son moving back in with his dad at 48 - a bachelor pad for two. Memories, secrets, a life gone astray, this is a well crafted monologue from a professional in charge over almost every millisecond onstage. Almost, there are a few slips, some some parts are more completely crafted than others.

Two single gentlemen sharing digs one is reminded of the classic father-son polarity that has been expounded by British Television comedies such as Don't Wait \up, and even in the music of Cat Stevens. But this is more refined, deeper, beter observed.

The son leaves us in no doubt as to his irritations with his father in a delightfully delivered rant. A father and a son thrown together, united in their differences, grudging accepting even as they reject.

Dad and son of course look rather alike and this lends weight to this comedy of differences, and it's a testament to Henderson how quickly we as audience can switch between the two, sliding from one into the next episode/chapter. Dad really is dad and son is a sharply realised chip off the old block (on the dad's shoulder as well).

Monologues such as this are sadly becoming rarer on the fringe. They feel traditional, straightforward and unfussy. This is well observed writing, direct acting without need for theatrical gimmicks. A simple set up that works: a highly accomplished performer playing two closely related people, evidencing two contrasting takes on life, connected by life's unplanned circumstance. It would make a good radio play but the live action gives us added visual comedy that needs very little movement. This is the comedy of vocal delivery and inroom or at-table gesture and playing with simple daily objects.

I'd like to see the script delivered in a less hurried way in places. We need time to take it all in and silence is an authentic part of every thinking human being.

It's a rich picture - that is what we are given, and we are the better for this hour at the Three and Ten. I can imagine some reviewers not getting the mastery here. It's very well crafted work, a character piece about a father and a son with troubled pasts, uncertain futures and shared angst in the present. I found the father more caricature than the son who feels a bit richer and more realistic in the way he is portrayed.

A sparse audience weren't up to the task of giving this the laughter response it needs and deserved. There were also many poignant moments, especially at the end. Henderson delivered anyway under tough circumstances and more than held his own in a show that deserves a much bigger audience. Crisp writing, fine character acting, and a father and son who deserve each other ! Strongly recommended.
Reviewed by Paul Levy 26th May 2012
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April 3, 2012 Edge New York
Article about MargOH! Channing is TIPSY!
Bitch can sell a song

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April 3, 2012 Edge NY
Article about MargOH! Channing is TIPSY!
MargOH! Channing is Tipsy
MargOH! Channing is Tipsy is in the tradition of Victor Hugo’s "Notre-Dame de Paris" Ms. Channing marries the sublime and the grotesque in a show that transcends its comedic trappings to become the portrait of a woman whose dreams have been dashed but whose hope springs eternal.

Her whispered and wistful rendition of "Everything Changes" was devastating. I only wish it had come later in the show, because for me it was climactic.

Throw in an earnest tribute to Amy Winehouse, a couple of glitter-dipped back-up singers, and a duet with Ms. DeBarge, and "MargOH! Channing is Tipsy" became a hilarious hodgepodge of performance art, stand-up comedy, cabaret, theater, and drag. We are allowed to see MargOH! at her best and at her worst, somehow at the same time. It’s that fine-tuned duplicity that makes her so real.

Watching the performance was like seeing a cat thrown from a roof: you pity it, you fear for it, you witness its desperate flip-flopping. But then it lands on its feet, and you marvel at the grace of it all.
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April 3, 2012  The Skinny
Review of Anil Desai's Another Night at the Movies
Anil Desai: Another Night at the Movies

Review by Vonny Moyes.

Published 12 August 2013


There's something different about Anil Desai; he's either one of the most gifted impressionists I've ever seen or his face is channelling some sort of witchcraft. Either would be impressive, really. It's a full house tonight, but by the end of the show there will have been more people on stage than bums on seats. He starts the hour conversing about our favourite movies and his domestic grumbles, before using this as a vehicle to launch into something really special.

Being the first to admit he looks nothing like Robert De Niro, he gets us to count to three before morphing into him so completely, it's downright spooky. It's not enough for an impressionist just to nail the voice these days; the character has to permeate their every fibre, and Desai is utterly undetectable. It's even more extraordinary as he melts into 50 different stars in the space of minutes.

He interlaces them flawlessly into charming anecdotes and observational riffs on Indians in space. The audience is utterly captivated; his chameleonics draw as much gleeful gasping as riotous laughter. One of the most impressive parts is a three way discussion between some very famous stars – this artifice works really well, and leaves me wishing the rest of the hour incorporated such intelligent playfulness. He has the talent to make it work. Desai's show is a real treasure of the free Fringe, and a show I would happily pay a decent amount to see. Cheaper than hitting the flicks, and infinitely more fun, so what are you waiting for?
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April 3, 2012  The Skinny
Anil Desai's Another Night at the Movies



Review by Vonny Moyes.

Published 12 August 2013


There's something different about Anil Desai; he's either one of the most gifted impressionists I've ever seen or his face is channelling some sort of witchcraft. Either would be impressive, really. It's a full house tonight, but by the end of the show there will have been more people on stage than bums on seats. He starts the hour conversing about our favourite movies and his domestic grumbles, before using this as a vehicle to launch into something really special.

Being the first to admit he looks nothing like Robert De Niro, he gets us to count to three before morphing into him so completely, it's downright spooky. It's not enough for an impressionist just to nail the voice these days; the character has to permeate their every fibre, and Desai is utterly undetectable. It's even more extraordinary as he melts into 50 different stars in the space of minutes.

He interlaces them flawlessly into charming anecdotes and observational riffs on Indians in space. The audience is utterly captivated; his chameleonics draw as much gleeful gasping as riotous laughter. One of the most impressive parts is a three way discussion between some very famous stars – this artifice works really well, and leaves me wishing the rest of the hour incorporated such intelligent playfulness. He has the talent to make it work. Desai's show is a real treasure of the free Fringe, and a show I would happily pay a decent amount to see. Cheaper than hitting the flicks, and infinitely more fun, so what are you waiting for?
 Click Here

April 3, 2012  The Skinny
Review of Lou sanders in Another Great Show Again
The Skinny Review
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April 3, 2012  London is Funny 4
Review of Lou sanders in Another Great Show Again
Review
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April 3, 2012  Spoonfed
Review of Lou sanders in Another Great Show Again
Review
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April 3, 2012  Brighton Moon
Review of Feminism for Chaps
Review of preview - Brighton Moon
It isn't fashionable to be a feminist, least of all a male feminist. At least female feminists only have to worry about Jeremy Clarkson fans dismissing them. Male feminists, well, apparently they are hated by the feminists too.


I went to this fully expecting an hour of 'hey, guys, tell her her bum doesn't look big in that! Hahahaha!' such was my prejudice when I read the blurb. I honestly thought I was going to be in for an hour of thinly veiled misogyny dressed up as comedy. To my delight, I was wrong.


This was a genuinely funny, cerebral bit of stand up that addressed real issues of inequality at its roots... Click Here

April 3, 2012 Buxton Fringe
Article about Feminism for Chaps
Buxton Fringe review
The thing I expected from this show, given the title, was a bloke with a twiddly moustache, cravat, and waistcoat sitting with a glass of whisky lamenting something along the lines of; “Ahh, yes, women. Funny things, aren’t they? Oh, go on then, they can have the vote. It’ll keep them quiet.” Luckily, I was actually completely wrong for once. The show comes in the form of an hour of very lovely, very funny stand-up comedy from a man who seems to be a much nicer version of Boris Johnson...

His work is good, solid observational comedy with the right amount of ranting. Recommended to any men who aren’t quite ready for Germaine Greer, and any women who really want a bit of a giggle at the expense of the patriarchy. Click Here

April 3, 2012 Fringe Guru
Article about Feminism for Chaps
Buxton Fringe preview review
You may or may not define Watts as a feminist, but you can’t dispute that he’s a chap. Wilfully overdressed in a summer-weight jacket, and constantly sweeping back his coiffed-but-unruly hair, he’s the kind of fellow you instantly warm to yet expect to be useless at everything. In fact, he turns out to be a pretty handy comedian...

Watts is very enjoyable indeed. The first few minutes of this show are among the most outright hilarious I’ve seen in Buxton, and there are comic highlights sprinkled throughout the rest of the hour, including a classic dilemma of political-correctness and a lengthy scene set at a sex party. At the end of the day, a terribly nice man talking about an orgy simply can’t fail to be funny. Click Here

 

      

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