sun 05/07/2020

Comedy Reviews

Dara Ó Briain, Hammersmith Apollo

Kate Bassett

At 6ft 4in, Dara Ó Briain is a massive bloke. With his bald, cannon-ball head and barrel-chested torso – togged out in a suit – he looks like a bulldog that's acquired a tailor. But it is not, of course, his physical build that has made this affable Irishman a huge name in the entertainment industry. What's key to his popular appeal is his "ordinary bloke" manner combined with his gift of the gab and his quick mind.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Bo Burnham/ Ovid's Metamorphoses/ Tony Tanner's Charlatan

theartsdesk Bo Burnham: Astonishingly accomplished musical comedian and wordsmith

Bo Burnham says he doesn’t like the terms musical comic, internet sensation or teenage wonder. Well he’s all three, save the last now, as he turned 20 during this year’s Fringe - and anyway he prefers the term prodigy, he tells us in deadpan tones typical of the deeply ironic, faux offensive manner of his performance style. But sensationally talented he undoubtedly is, and this is an hour so stuffed with gags - verbal, visual and musical - that one almost doesn’t have enough time to savour...

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Edinburgh Fringe: Patrick Monahan/ Asher Treleaven

theartsdesk

With the charm-cum-cheek of a naughty schoolboy, Patrick Monahan is an instantly likeable presence whose latest show, I Walked, I Danced, Iran, is a lop-sided but very funny hour-and-a-bit of observational comedy. Monahan is a veteran of several Fringes and a regular on The Paul O’Grady Show on Channel 4.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Sarah Millican/ The Phantom Band

theartsdesk

When Sarah Millican won the If.comedy newcomer award two years ago, it was with one of the most accomplished shows I had ever seen at the Fringe - by newbie or veteran - and now the South Shields stand-up has made critics reach for the superlatives again with another hour of superbly crafted comedy.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Greg Davies/ Apples/ Carl Donnelly

Veronica Lee

Comic Greg Davies has made us wait for his solo debut - he’s in his early forties, appeared at the Fringe as part of sketch group We Are Klang for a few years and more latterly has been starring in The Inbetweeners on Channel 4 as Mr Gilbert. Before that he was a drama teacher in a secondary school for 13 years. But boy, was it worth the wait.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Rob Rouse/ Daniel Sloss/ Teenage Riot/ Mark Nelson/ The Fitzrovia Radio Hour

theartsdesk Rob Rouse: a suitably potty-mouthed routine about putting his son in nappies

Rob Rouse is one of those hugely likeable comedians guaranteed to make you laugh and so it proves with The Great Escape, prompted by his family’s recent move to the Peak District, an expertly crafted autobiographical narrative with lots of fresh observational comedy thrown in for good measure.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Kevin Eldon/ Lovelace: A Rock Musical/ Jeremy Lion/ Susan Calman

Veronica Lee Kevin Eldon: Titting about in his first solo show, but his character comedy is huge fun

He may call it Titting About, but Kevin Eldon’s show, his first as a solo performer (at the grand age of 49), should be made compulsory viewing for young comics. For this is a man who has learned his craft, the value of good writing, of stage presence, of timing and myriad other things while putting together a lengthy CV that includes Nighty Night, I’m Alan Partridge, Fist of Fun and Brass Eye. If you have seen him in any of those, you will know he's...

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Edinburgh Fringe: The Boy With Tape on His Face/ Barbershopera/ Tom Allen

Veronica Lee The Boy With Tape on His Face: Sam Wills's original and inventive sight gags

This is a show of such originality and inventiveness that I will struggle to convey just how much fun it is to watch a man perform sight gags and physical comedy for an hour - and who does indeed appear throughout with a strip of black gaffer tape over his mouth.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Stuart Goldsmith/ Steve Mason/ Peter Straker

theartsdesk Stuart Goldsmith: he looks clean-cut, but likes to live a bit on the wild side

You may think the very well-presented comic Stuart Goldsmith - clean-shaven and wearing sensible Merrells (“which says I’m not wearing a fleece but I own one”) - is the sort of  bloke your mum always hoped you would end up marrying or having as your best friend. His show is titled The Reasonable Man, and Goldsmith is indeed utterly dependable, he tells us, plus he comes from that most nondescript of towns, Leamington Spa. But he would like to break out a bit.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Marcel Lucont/ Primadoona/ Phil Nichol

theartsdesk Marcel Lucont: looks like the love child of Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge Gainsbourg

Marcel Lucont, “France’s greatest misanthropic lover”, comes on stage looking like the love child of Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge Gainsbourg - in head-to-toe black, sporting manly stubble and clutching a bottle of vin rouge. Is he an ethnic stereotype, or is he the alter ego of Alexis Dubus from Buckinghamshire, who happens to speak perfect French?

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