Adam Riches Rides!

4 Stars

****

Adam Riches superb, highly visual comedy comes from a selection of bizarre characters in a series of extended sketches. He opens with Pierce Brosnan as a singing and dancing centaur, his assistant playing the back end of the horse. A member of the audience is encouraged to ride the horse which eventually he achieves successfully. This sets the madcap tone for the sketches which follow. Volunteers from the audience are crucial to the play acting.

His energy never flags in his character roles, as he encourages and directs his volunteers to give a performance as well. There is plenty of room for hilarious ad libs. He reprises his super hero character, Victor Legit, who on this occasion is doing battle to fight against addiction to a certain make of drinking yoghurt. How Adam Riches gets away with all the silliness is his flamboyant, commanding stage presence and wonderful sense of timing.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 16.00 to 17.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 22

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – on the Telly

4 Stars

****

This is a non stop show of puns and daft, funny comedy. Two sock puppets form the classic double act; one is sensible and trying to keep to a planned script whilst the other is anarchic doing his best to hog the limelight.

The pace is frenetic as they play out sketches of different TV genres involving numerous costume changes. There is the period drama with rival claimants to the beautiful heroine attempting to fight a duel. We just know the puppet master cannot physically do the walking 10 paces apart and the compromise is hilarious. A sketch with the mixing of dialogue from a cookery programme and a gardening programme along with the appearance of superman calls for split second timing and dexterity. Between the sketches, songs are performed to rock classics with the lyrics twisted and made very adult.

The perfect synchronisation of the hand movements and the delivery of the lines bring the puppets to life. Undoubtedly, there are a number of very corny puns but with so many fired at you, there are some classics.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon Teviot; V14

Dates                                                  4 to 29 August 2010

Times                                                 21.15 to 22.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 120

The Bruce Collective

2 Stars

**

There is a lot going on this show – improvised comedy against a green backdrop with computer wizardry to produce a science fiction film on a projection screen. Chris Harvey-John directs with his laptop as location scenes flash up on to the projection screen.

Suggestions and objects from the audience give the three performers, Jarred Christmas, Mike Wozniak and Simon Young, the ideas to work into a plot of good versus evil. There are some impressive special effects, talking heads for example. However, working the comedy into a pre-set framework meant that Chris Harvey-John’s direction seemed to cause confusion all round. Much of the fun of improvised comedy is when performers run and run, bouncing ideas of each other. Just as I felt they were going in a good direction, they had to move on because of the demands of the story. For me, it was a show that never quite took off.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon; V14

Dates                                                  20 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 18.30 to 19.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 38

Gary Delaney: Purist

****

4 Stars

Apparently Gary Delaney doesn’t think that comedy shows contain enough jokes and it his mission to address the problem with his Fringe 2010 show. And he does so in spades!!

He is not a narrative, long-winded comedian, hell no, Gary likes writing one liners and, if my arithmetic is correct, during the show include in excess of 175 jokes in a 55 minute set, shades of Tim Vine me thinks, except I found Delaney funnier!!

Some of his gags are silly, some are witty, some are clever, a lot are in a little bad taste. And some are pure bad taste. But generally all are funny some draw groans from the packet out audience, some belly laughs, but very few, if any, elicit no response.

A lot of Delaney’s material has found it’s way onto the internet vie Twitter and Facebook allegedly, and I suppose it is inevitable as clever one-liners are easier to repeat than stories, but he still seems to be able to come up with fresh ones.

This was the first time I saw Delaney perform and I certainly hope to catch him again. He is playing till the 29th so you still have chance to catch him this year, but be quick. The show I saw was sold out.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Cellar V 33

4 to 29 August

20-30 to 21-25

Fringe Brochure P66

Andrew Lawrence: The Too Ugly For Television Tour 2010

****

4 Stars

Andrew Lawrence could almost be the epitome of a ‘ginger winger’, that is if he wasn’t such a talented comedian. Boy does he get angry as he is only to happy to tell us on occasions throughout his hour.

A fairly quiet Tuesday night crowd had nothing to moan about though as he proceeded to entertain one and all with a whole host of his material, drawing laughter throughout.

Once Lawrence gets started on a subject, he will have his say without drawing breathe for what seems like ages, I was convinced he must be able to breathe through his ears at times. Rants on MOT’s, scones, Kellogg’s, Edinburgh Pleasance Courtyard, let’s call them self abusers, and his favourite species the Fringe reviewer all come under his microscope.

Lawrence seems to me to get grumpier each time I see him, and each time I see him I enjoy his show more, is that saying something about him or me? His material is funny, his style different and together they make for an entertaining hour of comedy that is always up to the mark.

He perhaps should think about changing his show title though, as I believe an appearance on a BBC Comedy Roadshow could well be in the offing. So get in first and check him out for yourselves.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Cabaret Bar V 33

4 to 29 August

21-20 to 22-20

Fringe Brochure P26

Touching the Blue

3 Stars

***

Clive Russell gives a powerful and poignant performance as Derek Rogers a fictional, veteran snooker player who, as a teenager many decades earlier, had been the youngest ever world champion. The play is an autobiographical account of a sports personality who has experienced fame and wealth at a young age followed by his descent into the doldrums.

Rogers as a young man was a charismatic character with a precocious snooker ability. His nickname was ‘The Thunderbolt Kid’. Born in a Glasgow tenement, he has the west of Scotland gallus humour.  He looks back over his life; his possessive mother, the failed marriages, and nervous breakdown. He is living on borrowed time due to alcoholism.

Miraculously, he has qualified for the World Championship Finals at the Crucible Theatre. He tells his story from a dingy dressing at this venue which didn’t quite ring true for me. However, giving authenticity, there is a TV monitor with clips of film showing famous commentators such as Dennis Taylor giving recollections of Rogers in his prime.

As the play draws to a climax, he reveals an outlandish secret which only he and his losing opponent in his winning of the world championship know about. As a story, it does have comparisons with real sporting legends that have experienced spectacular success at an early age only to squander their talent when they should have been at their prime.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ George Street; V3

Dates                                                  5 to 29 August 2010 (not 16)

Times                                                 15.30 to 16.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 297

Ronna and Beverly: You’ll do a Little Better Next Time

4 Stars

****

Ronna and Beverly’s performance as two middle aged Jewish American mothers is marvellously funny with many surprises packed into an hour long imaginary TV chat show. They have several scripted routines about their self help book on relationships. Ronna is the more focussed and leads the presentations. Beverly follows but her butterfly mind goes all over the place. The addresses to the audience and their conversations have a natural feeling of spontaneity as they talk over each, agreeing or disagreeing.

Two guests appeared to be grilled about their relationships, much to our and their amusement and maybe embarrassment. First up was Ali Cook, the comedy magician, who also performed a couple of impressive tricks. He was followed by Guy Pratt, base player turned comedian, who has performed with the likes of Pink Floyd and Madonna. On these occasions, Ronna and Beverly’s spontaneity was for real as the improvised on the answers they received. Not once did they falter as they sustained the quick paced, complex timing throughout.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 29 August 2010 (not 16)

Times                                                 17.45 to 18.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 117

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