Susan Calman’s show is worth a look

Here’s another of  my reviews from the Edinburgh Fringe, first published on The Skinny’s website. Great local act.

As the gathering crowd winds through the Underbelly’s stairways and passages, you can’t help noticing the eclectic mix of people here to see Susan Calman. Her opening lines reveal her readiness to deal with this very mixed crowd indeed, as she energetically quizzes the audience about which of her various jobs – from radio to stand-up – has drawn them to see her at the Fringe.

And from this early point on she has somehow, almost miraculously, drawn the diverse audience together and on she goes through her tight, well-written set, sharing a mock, self-deprecating obituary she’s apparently written for herself while drunkenly reflecting on the course of her life. The gags touch on manners, size-ism, feminism, relationships and the potential comic pitfall of Glasgow.

Glasgow can draw stand-up acts towards well trodden paths and Calman’s show does touch on the usual stuff like alcoholism, stabbings and alarming mortality rates; luckily she also adds her own colouring of the subject. Her audience could have been a difficult one to balance in terms her shock value versus local charm, but she clearly has enough charisma and a lively banter to keep everyone completely entertained.

A show well worth seeing.

Life of Si, or Si-ing to get a job in TV

Life of Si, Si Harder at the GRV, Edinburgh Fringe

This review was first published on The Skinny’s website.  There are lots more reviews of comedy from the Edinburgh Fringe there, and other stuff besides.

Ever wondered what it would feel like to be in a live studio audience? Well, you may just find out with this comic double-act who have been wowing audiences with their combination of live performance and pre-recorded material with some clever interface between the two thrown in.

The show is a collaboration between Simon Feilder and Sy Thomas, a pair of talented, emo-inclined media enthusiasts with bundles of charm and an elusive yellow teapot named Alan. The venue’s comfortable couches and warm atmosphere are skilfully exploited to recreate the pair’s shared flat, lending a sitcom feel to proceedings.

The alternating live and pre-recorded pattern becomes a little repetitive and at times the transition between the two feels awkward. But the duo’s live interaction with the multimedia element of the show evidences potential comic genius and maybe even a TV career or two.

You can’t help wanting to see a little more of the live show and less of the pre-recorded material, but with a quirky take on traditional performer-audience banter and possibly the funniest a cappella impression of contemporary indie music you’re likely to hear, this show is well worth an hour of your time.

Absolute Best of Absolute Beginners – not quite true but quite good

Here’s my review of Absolute Best of Absolute Beginners.  A decent bunch of Scottish stanp-up acts battling against a venue that’s more like a hot lab than a theatre, but they shine through and earn an easy three stars from me.  First published on The Skinny’s website. Lots more Edinburgh Fringe reviews available there.

These guys are really up against it. In a Fringe dominated by international acts and TV celebrities, it can be difficult for local talent to shine through. Add to this a venue that’s all flourescent lights, that familiar sweaty warmth of Fringe stages and an indundation from the heavens just before the show went up. But from the midst of adversity, Absolute Beginners brings a decent show that has audiences laughing and cringing with just about the right intensity to send you back out into the rain with a smile on your face.

Don’t be fooled by the name either: some of these locals have experience under their belts, and you can tell. You won’t find a bad act here, but look out for Matt Winning for instant laughs and Eddie Cassidy for a hilarious take on that most Scottish of comic subjects: drugs. There’s a total of eight comedians in rotation of five per night. The quality is mixed, but on the whole it’s worth the effort. A good show to see if you want to catch a glimpse into the home-grown scene.

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