sun 23/09/2018

Comedy Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Bridget Christie/ Men in the Cities/ Lazy Susan/ Outings

Veronica Lee

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman, The Stand *****

This is the “difficult second album” show for Bridget Christie, despite her having done 10 years at the Fringe. She finally found her voice at last year's festival, deservedly winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award after a raft of five-star reviews for her avowedly feminist show, A Bic for Her - but how do you follow that? With another five-star show, obviously.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Andrew Maxwell/ Spoiling

Veronica Lee

Andrew Maxwell (****) tells the Scots in the audience that he’s going to “rip the shit out of everything they hold dear” in Hubble Bubble, his take on the independence referendum. He doesn’t quite do that but it’s a witty and thoughtful take on the issues surrounding the vote.

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Ursula Martinez: My Stories, Your Emails, Purcell Room

Hanna Weibye

In her book How To Be a Woman, Times columnist Caitlin Moran explains the difference between strip clubs and burlesque shows, and why the latter are perfectly acceptable to feminism.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Sarah Kendall/Christian O'Connell

Veronica Lee

Comics rarely start a show by referencing the ending of a previous one, but Sarah Kendall has first to do a bit of housekeeping to explain the genesis of Touchdown. The payoff for her last show was her dropping the c-bomb on her high-school gym teacher, Coach Harris, but when her mother attended a gig she said to her daughter: “It didn’t quite happen like that, though, did it?”

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Chelsea Handler, London Palladium

Veronica Lee

Chelsea Handler may be an unknown name for many in Britain - although some will know her from her spat with Piers Morgan on his now-cancelled US chat show -  but there were plenty of fans at the London Palladium to watch the actress, comic and chat show host making her UK stand-up debut, with a one-off show based on her travelogue of a trip to Africa with some friends, Uganda Be Kidding Me.

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Monty Python, O2 Arena

Veronica Lee

It could have been an embarrassment all round; a bunch of blokes in their seventies revisiting material that was anarchic and transformative 40 years ago but which they are now performing for 10 lucrative nights in the home of commercial comedy. Fear not, though, Monty Python Live (almost): One Down Five to Go – surely the final farewell tour – proves that quality endures.

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Dawn French, Brighton Theatre Royal

Veronica Lee

She may have been performing for more than 30 years, but it takes some cojones to do your first solo show at the age of 56. Dawn French, with neither long-time partner Jennifer Saunders nor fellow cast members on stage, makes her debut with Thirty Million Minutes, an autobiographical show about the 30 million minutes (give or take) she has spent on this earth.

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Adrienne Truscott, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Adrienne Truscott's show was awarded the Edinburgh Comedy Awards' panel prize at the Fringe last year (Bridget Christie won the main prize for another avowedly feminist show), and if it hadn't been for its thought-provoking content and highly original delivery, then it surely deserved an accolade just for the title, Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else!

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David Baddiel, Menier Chocolate Factory

Veronica Lee

David Baddiel last did solo stand-up in 2004, when he walked out of a corporate gig after calling a bunch of bankers the c-word. Since then, he's spent his time mostly writing novels and doing some television and radio projects. It's his general absence from TV, he tells us in Fame: Not the Musical - an intelligent, witty and thoughtful examination of modern celebrity - that arouses pity in some members of the public who recognise him.

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Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Udderbelly

Veronica Lee

Science has fallen in love with comedy – or maybe that should be the other way round. Whichever, geek is now chic, and being in possession of a brain is something to be laughed with, rather than at.

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