Gavin Webster – Bill Hicks Wasn’t Very Good

4 Star

**** 

No one could ever accuse Gavin Webster of not creating an impression. Whether with it is with his somewhat controversial show title or even his imposing stage presence it is a brave person to ignore him. Also a foolish person because then they would be the ones to miss out.

Geordie Webster claims to be a bitter person and he is happy to be. He gives reference to last years show, has a go at some of the affected comics of TV fame, in fact he does have a go at a lot of things and people. But he does it in a funny way and garners many laughs and a bit of back chat along the way.

He has many targets older people, Elvis, Royals, Gary Barlow and yes even Hicks a little, but he is such an engaging personality on stage it is impossible not to laugh out loud.

Webster is a man you would want on your side if push came to shove and I am pleased to say I felt I could go with him on most of his stuff, ‘cause I wouldn’t want to upset Kenny Webster in any way.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand Comedy Club II

Until 26 August

17-50 to 18-50

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Chaz Royal’s Sexy Circus Sideshow

3 Star

***

This show is exactly what it says on the tin. An example of circus sideshows acts liberally mixed with sexy burlesque dancers, the whole shooting match loosely held together by Joe Black on the night I attended anyway.

This production obviously has a huge following of all ages and orientations, and they roared and cheered and often cringed at the goings on.

The Monsters of Schlock played a major role in proceedings, whether it was hammering nails and even a fork into the nasal cavity or stapling playing cards onto body parts to equal measures of disgust, amazement or horror from the packed out house.

The three burlesque dancers, glamorously attired, at least initially, certainly supplied the sexy and the aforementioned Black acted as ringmaster on the whole affair.

Don’t go see this if you are squeamish or a prude. Do go however if anything goes with you and you are in the need of late night entertainment.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly George Square 3

Until 26 August

23-45 to 00-45

Pete Johansson – Utopian Crack Pipe

4 Star

**** 

Pete Johansson is one of seemingly thousands of top class Canadian comics around at the moment, and although living in the UK for a number of years and he is trying to assimilate  it seems it is impossible to take the Canadian out of him totally and especially his obsession with bears.

He has a few ideas about having them used in crowd control just may solve a few problems and save an awful lot of man hours and no little money and has some amazingly surreal ideas for new TV programmes featuring his ursine obsession.

He manages to incorporate these animals into every topic he talks about and although this may be unusual it somehow works and is endearing in its own way, although possibly a daring tactic if the crowd don’t go with him on this.

For me the strongest section was the discovery of his porn collection by this mother, who forced him into an in-depth analysis with her. You could almost feel his embarrassment yet.

All in all a very enjoyable hour, and with a rather touching ending to boot.

Reviewed by Geoff

Udderbelly Dairy Room

Until 27 August

20-40 to 21-40

Dead Cat Bounce – Howl of the She-Leopard

*****

Imagine Journey, Foreigner and Whitesnake somehow combined to make one band with a guitarist/vocalist, bassist and drummer, but the songs they made were about Australian immigration stats, rugby and Christians in love. They even look the part with the obligatory tight-and-spangly trousers.

They are a genuinely good band, and the music they play would not be out of place in a rock club, except the lyrics are rather wacky. The banter between the songs was lovely and funnier than some comedians. I was slightly surprised how young they seem, given the type of music the play, but it doesn’t have any bearing on it being a really good show. It did seem more like a concert than a show – and I would have been quite happy to have watched for two hours instead of one.

Reviewed by Laura

Pleasance Courtyard

until 26th Aug, 21:30

Playing Politics

*****

This is a five star show all round. The music is impeccable: guitar, vocals, harmonies and solos. The sound across the speakers is great. The songs – which you’ll know the tunes to ‘but not the lyrics’ – are brilliantly adapted to suit their subjects: the Olympics, politicians (lots of them, but not always for negative things, though mostly), Prince Phillip, and Donald Trump. The explanations and introductions to the songs are natural and conversational, and the humour never sounded rehearsed. And the audience had a great time – there were two encores.

Playing Politics are two musicians: two acoustic guitars, vocals and harmony, and they deliver a very professional and very, very funny show.

Reviewed by Laura

Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s

23 Aug, 20:30 (1hr 15)

Tom Lauri: Good With His Fingers

**

After a slightly wobbly start, this was a very pleasing show. Tom Lauri is indeed ‘good with his fingers’, and classic and simple magic was performed with skill and panache and no, I couldn’t see how he did it. The magic is accompanied by some comic commentary which serves its purpose, but isn’t as strong as his magic. There was lots of audience participation, so if that’s not your thing, hide.

The whole performance could benefit from a little more confidence in the accompanying comedy, but overall it’s a nice hour.

Reviewed by Laura

Sweet Grassmarket

until 27 Aug, 14:20

Dream/Life

***

This play is a lot less surreal that the fringe blurb might lead you to believe. It actually has a rather classical narrative structure, with a beginning, some conflict, and a resolution. After the first five minutes or so, the story is surprisingly easy to follow, and it’s easy to become engaged with the characters. There’s just enough detail on the interlocking threads of story to give the whole thing substance, but not enough to weigh it down.

Some of the company of actors are stronger than others, but all deliver their lines clearly, which is more impressive than it might at first sound since the whole play is in rhyme. This never intrudes on the sense of the lines though, but simply adds to the dream-like quality.

Last year this company produced A Hero of Our Time, and they bring the same energy to this rather more surreal (and happy!) narrative as they did to that.

Reviewed by Laura

Zoo

until 18th Aug, 16:00