The Fantastical Return Of Greyfriars Bobby 4****

What a great start to this years Fringe. A terrific little venue in St Andrews Square, surrounded by great food and a great atmosphere, you are led into a lovely tent with seating perfectly laid out so that the children can all see the stage and aren’t having to constantly bob back and forth to get their best view. This is aided by the fact that the cast do use the whole of their space to their advantage so the whole of the tent is used on occasions. The story is that of a reluctant ‘tweenager’,  Bex, who has been instructed to visit her uncle in Scotland and it follows her adventures with Greyfriars Bobby, Sherlock Holmes and a living statue in order to locate her uncle so that she does not become lost n the big city.

This is a great tale of  mystery and had the audience, which a was a range of ages, joining in, laughing and totally involved. The cast were engaging and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, and as such, I would wholeheartedly recommend this show to anyone with children, it was funny, clever and well executed so that all could follow it . There was use of video screens and a puppet, so there was plenty to keep the audience involved, and the use of the videos for the Tram ride was great fun. If you have a chance to go along and see this, then do, you shan’t regret it.

STAND IN THE SQUARE : 5th – 14th August

£8.00/£7.00

12:20pm

Stand Comedy Club – 10 January 2013

susan_morrisonSo with the festive season over for another year it is time to get back to normal and a visit to the number one comedy club The Stand in Edinburgh seemed to be the order of the day in order to prepare for the weekend.

On arriving to find a rather larger than normal queue, 30 odd people celebrating a 21st birthday, who went on to somewhat take over the pre-show wait and making their presence more than felt prior to compere Susan Morrison hitting the stage. She of course managed to bring a presence of normality to proceedings. As always Susan was in top form, a commanding presence and just the lady to keep our rather vociferous visitors in check. Doing the compere’s role to perfection she gagged the more vocal elements of the crowd, while garnering as much information for the acts to work with should they so desire.

bruce_fummeyBruce Fummey had the task of opening proceedings and this star of the Afro- Celtic comedy circuit’ comedian and speaker as always confidently took centre stage and was straight into his well written and delivered opening material. Unfortunately he was somewhat sidetracked by the ‘birthday’ party and feel his normal polished and funny performance suffered in the process. Still he is always good value anyway so I’ll just look forward to the next time I see him.

jamie dalglieshFollowing a rather extended first interval, and a rather less populated club, the birthday boys had been invited to leave, Susan introduced to us all the rather young Jamie Dalgliesh. This youngster from Glasgow has a load of potential but for a lot his strong Glasgow accent, his choice of material and the speed of his delivery did alienate a percentage of his audience. One visitor asked me at the end of his set ‘Was he actually speaking English?’ I explained and she said she was unable to understand a word. Okay his material is largely Glasgow based so maybe the nuances did not translate easily, just maybe slow down a bit and tone down the accent and reach a whole lot more people could be the way to go.

nathanThe closing act of part two was the ever popular Nathan Caton. Now I have seen him a few times during Edinburgh Fringes and a few TV appearances too so was looking forward to his set and I definately was not disappointed. Caton is young, still in his twenties, but has confidence and presence to back up his funny and well written material. There is no arrogance about this charismatic comic, he is the butt of most of his gags, but with his family providing a veritable gold mine of stories he is really blessed. Caton certainly has a huge future in comedy. I look forward to seeing his next performance and I am surely not alone in this respect.

ben norrisA second interval and a bit more Morrison magic saw the headliner Ben Norris on stage to close out the gig. Now Norris came with a huge reputation part of which seems to be built on his riffing with the audience. Perhaps the audience were less than forth coming on the night, maybe there weren’t enough to play with, but to keep going back to female German genetics students, which had been a dry hole time and time again disappointed me.  He switched to prepared material majoring on his 7 year old triplets was more of the expected standard, but was not enough to fill his time. He tried more riffing in a different corner, but again failed to achieve the comedy gold he was looking for. Instead of blaming the unfortunate pair for ruining his night, just maybe if he delivered more prepared material we could all have had a better time.

The Stand stage comedy nights in their three clubs, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle virtually every night of the year. To check out the  stellar line-ups go to www.thestand.co.uk for all details.

Reviewed by Geoff

‘AMUSED MOOSE LAUGH OFF’ STARTS THE COUNTRYWIDE

amused mooseIf you think you could be the next Jack Whitehall or Sarah Millican, this is the competition for you!

The prestigious, nationwide Amused Moose Laugh Off contest, to search out and discover the next big comedy star, is about to kick off. Entries open on 1st January 2013, and qualifying rounds take place in London, Scotland, and the north of England (in the venue in which Sarah Millican was discovered before going on to win the 2005 competition). Qualifying rounds start at the end of January and places fill up fast so there’s no time to waste.

In association with leading UK DVD company 2entertain, this exciting countrywide talent search for comedy’s brand new comic gems is famed for discovering the comedy stars of the future. Previous Amused Moose Laugh Off winners include Jack Whitehall and more recently Rob Beckett, just back from “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Here Now! 2012” replacing Russell Kane, and finalists have included Greg Davies, Rhod Gilbert, Jimmy Carr, Andi Osho, Simon Amstell and Alex Zane.

The audience votes at every stage, whilst the overall winner is ultimately decided by comedy industry professionals, though if the audience decide differently there is a second award of “People’s Champion” awarded for the first time in 2012, to Funmbi, with the overall winner being Richard Todd.

The Amused Moose Laugh Off 2013 final, featuring a celebrity host and an industry-heavy audience, will be held at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013 with £1500 as the winner’s main prize.

Amused Moose Laugh Off has proved to be a fantastic shop window for new talent, with finalists being quickly signed by leading agents and promoters, as well as having the opportunity to be showcased in Amused Moose Comedy Gangshows in Edinburgh and in London’s Soho Theatre.

So if you want to set your stand-up career off to a flying start, showcase your talents to the comedy industry, take your first steps towards your own DVD and have a shot at the main prize of £1500 to invest in the development of your comedy career, what are you waiting for?

For the entry form and more information go to the brand new Amused Moose website at www.AmusedMoose.com/Awards then just turn up at qualifying rounds eager to perform a few minutes of your funniest gags, hopefully on your way to fame and fortune.

Midnight Paranormal Haunted Underground Experience

3 stars
***

This was a very interesting tour, starting with a look at some torture instruments and detailed accounts of how they were used. Morbid and cringey but fascinating.

This was followed by a look at some vaults and a short bit of underground street, what they were used for, who lived (and died) there etc. Add in some tales of ghosts and banshees and other spiritsa and you get the idea. All very interesting but not scary if you’re sober or just sensible!

My main issue with the tour was that it was very short, both in distance travelled (a few vaults) and the time – under an hour long yet advertised at 90 minutes. I would have assumed, reading the description, that it would have been more in-depth so that was a bit disappointing.

Still, a very interesting hour although definitely aimed at the tourists.

Review by Alan

Auld Reekie Tours
3 Aug-1 Sep
Midnight

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

Funny Women at the Fringe

4 Star

****

It’s always difficult to review a show like this as the only thing that can be covered in reality is the concept as such is the nature of the beast is that the comics change daily.

Now we at one4review have been championing female comics for a while, to us it doesn’t matter what ‘bits’ you have got as a person it’s how funny you are that’s important and we feel females definitely get a raw deal.

Even the show time for this showcase production is not really conducive to comedy with a 14-00 start time, but once inside it doesn’t matter. The show goes on and if the one I saw was typical goes on well.

We had an experienced compere, in this case the very funny Jessica Fostekwe and five other comics with a variety of styles, straight stand up, character comedy, even comedy songs too during the course of the hour.

This is an excellent way for them to showcase their main shows and also for the audience to try before you buy.

Win – Win situation here I guess.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly George Square

Until 17 August

14-00 to 15-00

Thom Tuck Goes Straight-to-DVD

*****

You might have seen this show last year. If you didn’t you now have no excuse because it’s on for free (though you can make a donation at the end). And just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s no good: this show (almost) won this man awards last year. He really, really deserves them.

Thom Tuck is very intelligent, very clever with his words, and very, very funny. His delivery is fluent, but never sounds rehearsed. His mastery of the fullest possible range of tone and expression is impressive: he told a fairy tale to a roomful of drunk people, and we sat silent and mesmerised. He talked about various little-known Disney films, and had us in stitches. And he used the word ‘topiary’ without fear or irony (he has an enormous vocabulary too).

I really liked his outfit, and he has impeccable stage presence (though technically, he spent most of the show off it). Tellingly, the tech man (who has probably seen the show a few times) was sniggering most of the way through too.

Reviewed by Laura

PBH’s Free Fringe @ Cabaret Voltaire

until 25 Aug, 22:05