Nat Luurtsema – In My Head I’m A Hero

**

2 Stars

Last year Nat Luurtsema received great reviews for her part in sketch show Superclump and this year sees her return to the Fringe with her debut solo show. The show’s title refers to Luurtsema’s nature as a daydreamer, but one who things she would be more than capable in a crisis. There is some good material in this show – and the unexpected appearance of a somewhat unusual video from Nat’s school days provides the biggest laughs of the hour. However, the efforts to link some of the material back to the theme of the show sometimes feel like a bit of a struggle.

There is no doubting that Nat Luurtsema has it in her to be a successful comic, she has a friendly and chatty personality on stage and there were some clever jokes in this hour. Unfortunately, this chattiness also works against her at times; there are several moments in the show which feel more like someone simply recounting episodes from their life, rather than the stand-up show it is intended to be. This coupled with the afternoon slot in a very hot Joker Dome, meant that at times I struggled to maintain my concentration on what was being said. Nat also writes a funny and entertaining blog, and perhaps some of the material in this show would have been better suited to that format.

A debut solo hour must always be a daunting prospect for any comedian, and I have seen several come back to Edinburgh with a much stronger show second time around. I have a feeling we may see the very same thing from Nat Luurtsema, and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out to see what she comes up with next year.

Reviewed by Sarah

Pleasance Dome – Joker Dome

15:45 – 16:45

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Gutted – A Revenger’s Musical

****

4 Stars

I should probably start with a disclaimer; I love comedy and I love musicals, therefore a musical written by Martin White and Danielle Ward, the masterminds behind London’s bi-monthly awesome Karaoke Circus, and featuring some of my favourite comics, was going to have to work very hard not to impress and entertain me.

And I wasn’t disappointed – Ward and White have created a musical which finds its laughs in murder, funerals, love and revenge. From the opening moments when sketch trio The Penny Dreadfuls appeared on stage dressed like some sort of Tim Burton-esque macabre funeral assistants, to the final company number song the laughs just kept on coming. What was perhaps a little more surprising was the quality of the acting and singing on show; many of the cast are well-known as stand-up comedians but they are clearly talented musical theatre performers too.

Stand out performances come from Colin Hoult in the lead role of Mr Bewley, and (bona-fide musical theatre performer) Helen George as Sorrow, the titular Revenger. These main characters are ably supported by Doc Brown, Lizzie Roper, Sara Pascoe, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Michael Legge, and Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck of The Penny Dreadfuls, not forgetting a cameo by Jim Bob, formerly of Carter The Unstoppable Sex-machine.

This cast of comedians has been ably directed by Chris George, which can’t have been an easy task but he has certainly succeeded. If you are a fan of comedy and musical theatre then you really can’t go wrong with Gutted.

Reviewed by Sarah

The Assembly @ George Street

23.15 – 00.40

Best Of Irish Comedy

****

4 Star

The Stand Comedy Club has been running this institution for many years now and on the evidence of the show I attended  it is still as popular with the customers.

The format is simple, one compere, two acts a break then a headliner. Simple but effective.

Compere for the night Martin Mor has been around for ever and is totally at home as MC is spite of some drunken idiots on the front row. He warms up the crowd, sets up targets for the others to latch onto if desired, prior to introducing the opening act, on this occasion Maeve Higgins.

Now Ms Higgins comes with a good reputation from previous work, but I don’t know what happened on the night. Maybe the drunks got to her, maybe she just had a bad day, maybe… who knows,  but I felt she struggled throughout her set.

Mor again, then a shorter, punchier set from Jeff O’Boyle, originally from Northern Ireland, but now based locally. O’Boyle quickly silenced the front row with classy put downs and certainly enhanced his reputation with this performance.

Following on from the interval Martin Mor gathered things together and set things in place for headliner Ian Coppinger to rock the house. At only 5’ 2’’ he is small in stature, but massive in talent. The twenty minutes he delivered were pithy, funny and all over way to soon for all.

The line up for this changes nightly, so it is quite possible, and many do see this showcase more than once.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand III

6 to 29 August

18-05 to 19-20

Fringe Brochure P34

Stephen K Amos : The Best Medicine

****

4 Star

I don’t think ther has been a year since he started attending the Fringe that one4review has not covered Stephen K Amos’s annual Edinburgh show and this year is certainly no exception.

His statue and profile has risen greatly since the early days, so much so that he is selling out the massive Pleasance Grand nightly and there is a TV in the offing to boot.

As always with Amos there is quality comedy on offer and the man is a natural comic. He has the knack of picking out the posh kid on the front row and keeps going back to him throughout the show.

Amos has a 1982 diary that was recently unearthed and reads extracts from this, expanding on some entries to give an insite to his young life, all to great effect. Although his humour is non-abrasive, don’t think he can’t cope with any heckler as one idiot thought then rapidly found out otherwise.

Other than back in time his tour in 2009 and incidents at the BBC were also a source of fun.

The performance as always was polished, professional and good value for money as always and it was gratifying to see him on top form yet again. And as with all of his recent gigs, don’t leave early, there is always a finale with a difference.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Grand V 33

4 to 29 August

21-40 to 22-40

Fringe Brochure P 126

Colin Hoult: Enemy of the World

5 stars

*****

As a site I don’t think we’ve ever reviewed Hoult before.  Looking back through the archives we missed out on last year’s Carnival of Monsters, and there’s no mention of Colin and Fergus.  That’s definitely about to change.

Hoult’s show is one of the most creative and unique shows I’ve seen this Fringe.  It’s sketch comedy that takes on a touch of the bizarre, populated by a cast of oddballs.  To give you a rundown of the sketches would be to draw away some of the delight, but rest assured that every single moment of this show is a slightly weird pleasure to experience.  The material is dark yet funny and there are lovely little nuances in the performance which are a sign of just how carefully this show has been crafted.  Hoult in particular has a wonderful way of playing with the audience, involving them and toying with them but never scaring them into silence.

This show is unlike anything I’ve seen on the Fringe before and for that I thank Hoult, Poor Lottie, Gustav and Black Jack.  He may be an Enemy of the World, but Colin Hoult is now undoubtedly a favourite of mine.

Reviewed by Di

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Upstairs

16.45-17.45

The Dave Hill Explosion

**

2 stars

Truth be told I found the format of Hill’s show a little odd.  It was half performance, half chat show, and I’m not sure either worked fully.  Hill’s delivery is deadpan, and he certainly isn’t afraid to use silence to comedic effect whilst he performed his routines.  Sometimes this worked devastatingly well.  Sometimes it didn’t.

Hill was joined on this night by Des Bishop for the chat show section of his act.  Whilst this was interesting to watch it certainly wasn’t the most humorous of exchanges I’ve seen.  It felt like Hill and Bishop knew perfectly well what they were talking about but there were a couple of moments along the way where they lost the audience, either by making in-jokes or not fully filling us in on the context in which they were discussing something.

Hill is definitely a unique performer, but one that’s just not entirely to my taste.

Reviewed by Di

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Upstairs

23.00-00.00

Clint’s Reality

4 Stars

****

On entering the Belly Button auditorium, the elaborate set is noticeable. It consists of 4 doors, 2 sofas and a drinks bar. Billed as a farce, there is a strong suspicion they will figure in the action.

The main character is the high profile Clint Resolute, Head of a Reality TV Company, and adept at media manipulation. However, his popularity and private life appear to be collapsing. Holly, a reporter, has uncovered evidence that he has rigged a reality show. Amanda, the girl he is having an affair with, turns out to be the winner. Priscilla, his wife, wants a divorce. His son and the show’s producer, who has the documentary evidence of the cheating, have teamed up and are prepared to blackmail Clint. His PR man and creative assistant look unable to get him out of this mess.

The action builds to a final hilarious final scene when all the characters make an appearance. There is much entrancing an exiting through those doors, collapsing on sofas and even a disappearance behind the drinks bar.

The young cast of Airborne Theatre act their socks off, maybe a bit over the top at times. A good farce depends on split second and this was mission accomplished.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Underbelly; V

Dates                                                  Vary

Times                                                 12.35 to 13.35

Fringe Programme Page Number: 239