The Hollycopter

5 stars *****

This woman is very very funny, which shouldn’t strictly be the case, since the story she’s telling is of how she came to jump from a pier and spend four days in hospital because of her resultant injury. But, as Ms Walsh took us through the background and build-up to the calamitous event, with numerous asides, diversions and detours along the way, I found myself hoping for just a few un-funny sentences so I could stop laughing and remember how to breathe. The rest of the audience seemed to be in the same predicament.

Holly Walsh has qualities similar to the best teachers: a good nature, un-pretentious confidence and authority and the ability to sustain interest and curiosity in her subject-matter. She also uses visual aids – which are just that, aids to her comedy, used skilfully and appropriately and which don’t dominate the show.

In this tiny little venue, everything is up close and personal – Holly and your fellow audience members. Savour it before she makes it big.

Reviewed by Laura

Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar), 18:00 (1hr)

Until 29th August

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a Cappella with Cattitude

5 stars *****

When this lot are good, they’re brilliant, and ninety-five per cent of their show is brilliant. A few of their slower numbers lack the sparkling verve and energy of the more up-beat ones, rendering them merely ‘excellent’. But all one hundred percent of this hour of covers, mash-ups and medleys, arranged for a choir of eleven, is worth every penny.

Technically, they are superb: well-rehearsed in choreography and musicality, slick in their spoken communications, and confident and clear in coordinating the audience’s participation in one of the songs. There’s a healthy dose of humour in there too, in both the words and the actions, and you can’t help but contract the infectious joy they obviously have in performing.

If you want more, you can take them home with you (as many of the audience did): their CDs are available for purchase after the show.

 A feel-good fun-filled hour that will make you happy.

Reviewed by Laura

C Venues, 16:45 (50 mins)

Until 29th August

The Boom Jennies: Blowout

3 Stars ***

The three ladies of this somewhat surreal comedy sketch group are Lizzie Bates, Anna Emerson, Catriona Knox and one of the things that comes across throughout this hour of nonsense is the energy they bring to their performances.

Sometimes I feel the ideas, although good are slightly thin on content, others brimming with it, maybe a little help with the writing would assist their obvious talent.

Now a sketch show should have a running gag or two, and the one with the psycotic French pen pal for me anyway was certainly one of the highlights.

Some bits worked less well for me and suspect a fair few pf the packed out crowd as well, but there is enough substance to make this an entertaining hour.

The individual ‘sound tracks’ the ladies wanted seemed a bit forced, the audience on the night didn’t truly buy into the changes but perhaps another would.

So if you want something different in late night sketch comedy you could maybe give them a try.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Baby Grand V 33

3 to 28 August

22:45 to 23:45

Fringe Brochure P 51

Dave Gorman’s PowerPoint Presentation

5 Stars  *****

Dave Gorman has always been a distinctive comedian, be it on TV, on the radio or even on stage. I first saw this guy way back in the mists of time probably around the turn of the century in his breakthrough show ‘Are You Dave Gorman?’ where he undertook a quest to find his namesakes.

Since then I have seen him a few times and always found him entertaining, funny and he definitely has struck a format that works both in the media and live on stage.

Such is his popularity that his tickets sell out very quickly wherever he performs and his sojourn inEdinburghthis year is a part of a national tour.

As the title implies there is a lot of PowerPoint involved in this production, but the clever construction together with his engaging personality and presence definitely do not make this a boring show, anything but. I have seldom heard the massive George Square Theatre echoing to so much laughter during any hour.

Gorman’s subjects cover a wide variety of topics covering his perceived ethnicity, his Twitter adventures, his love of the internet and asparagus.

All too soon the hour was over, here’s to the next one Mr Gorman.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly George Square Theatre V 3

3 to 28 August

19:40 to 20:40

Fringe Brochure P 64

News Revue: Canal Café Theatre

5 Stars *****

Year after year it happens. Year after year it is up there with the best Fringe shows. Year after year thousands of fans flock to see the latest version of this must see production and this year is no exception.

The premise is simple, 4 actors, this year Gabriella Best, Stephen Leask, Kerry Gooderson and Brendan Murphy are the extremely talented and versatile performers, add some quality writing, and spoof songs, fast and furious direction and a MD, Christopher Peake this year and the recipe is complete for an hour of top class comedy entertainment.

Nobody escapes, be it politicians, ‘A listers’ ‘C Listers’ royalty and sports stars all are fair game and it is definitely open season.

It is impossible to pick out a favourite moment, it was all quality stuff, but I have to admit my liking for spoof songs, and there are these a plenty.

Always this show is a hot ticket and it seems even more so than usual this year. Don’t delay.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Beyond V33

3 to 28 August

18:20 to 19:20

Fringe Brochure P 126

Paul Sinha: Looking at the Stars

5 Stars *****

Paul Sinha is labeled as a former doctor, a top twenty quizzer, an Asian comedian and openly gay, all of which he shares at the top of his hour.

But what is more relevant is that Paul is an extremely funny comedian, well educated, well prepared and extremely engaging, with the knack of making time evaporate so it seems. He does a full jam-packed hour, but it seems like less than half that.

A veteran of Fringe’s since 2006 and featuring in numerous radio and TV shows in smaller roles Paul is not what he calls ‘properly famous’ and a few

 encounters with some such people causes a lot of hilarity as part of his set, laughter as well as gasps of shock.

Sinha is often self-deprecating in his material, but has strong opinions on subjects as well. He is not afraid to express these thoughts, but there is no ranting, rather well reasoned and thought out arguments to back this up.

The world of Sinha is perhaps moving in the right direction, both in his personal life and maybe he is heading to be properly famous too. It couldn’t happen to a nicer man. Help him achieve his Fringe ambition why don’t you and see a top class comedy show at the same time.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand III V 12

5 to 28 August

22:40 to 23:40

Fringe Brochure P 132

Edinburgh Tonight with Joe Simmons and Lorraine Chase

5 Stars

*****

Reviewed on 20th August

This is the second time our group has reviewed this show. Two reasons why. The first review took place very early on before the show had really bedded in, and, secondly, it provides a great opportunity to see loads of acts because of the chat show format; thus a different show each evening.

The show I saw went with a real zing. Joe Simmons (Butch from Topping and Butch) and Lorraine Chase compered and chatted with the guests. There is a good chemistry between the two. There was a cracking line up. The chat and the banter were with Tom Allen who has his own chat show ‘Tom Allen’s Afternoon Tea’, and the marvellous Helen Lederer, only appearing for one performance of ‘An Evening with Helen Lederer’ – more’s the pity.

Other guests who most successfully performed extracts from their shows were musical act Opera di Neposti from their show just ended ‘Into the woods’, rock music comedy act ‘Rayguns Look Real Enough: Balls Deep’, sketch show acts ‘Cab Fare for the Common Man’ and the ‘The Dog-Eared Collective: You’re Better Than This’.

There was still enough time for Michael Topping to sing a saucy, cab journey song. Rounding off the proceedings was a busking act ‘The Showhawk Duo’; two guys on guitars whose fingers flew over the strings. They did Queen’s ‘Don’t stop me now’ and received rapturous applause and then played a second instrumental as we exited. These guys should be playing in a venue somewhere.

At the end, Lorraine Chase described the show as ‘Stonking’! I don’t think anybody in the audience would have disagreed. Full praise must go to Terry Finnegan for putting together such a very varied and enjoyable group of performers.

Reviewed by Ben

Space Cabaret@54: 54

5 to 27 August 2011 (not 15, 22)

16.45 – 17.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 70