thu 04/06/2020

Comedy Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Daniel Kitson/ Leisa Rea/ Misconception

theartsdesk

Daniel Kitson only occasionally performs at comedy venues at the Fringe these days - perhaps a late-night spot here and there, though not a full set - but it has become almost a tradition that he writes a new piece for the Traverse each year. On the cusp of comedy and theatre is, surely, storytelling and Kitson, winner of the Perrier comedy award 2002, has become a storyteller of excellence.

Read more...

Edinburgh Fringe: Doc Brown/ Imran Yusuf

Veronica Lee

Doc Brown comes on stage in the hip-hop uniform of all-black clothing, lots of bling and black-out shades, and starts rapping “It’s all about me” in suitably bombastic tones. But Brown isn’t all he seems, as the rap peters out, the gear comes off and he is no longer a rapper, but a stand-up making his debut at this year’s Fringe. It's a terrific and captivating opening to an hour that speeds by.

Read more...

Edinburgh Fringe: Tiffany Stevenson/ Fair Trade/ Gutted: A Revenger's Musical

theartsdesk Tiffany Stevenson: her new show is about mums, celebs and bastards - what a combo

After making her Edinburgh debut last year, Tiffany Stevenson returns with another cracking show, Dictators. Ostensibly it’s about Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, et al, but in reality she cleverly  manages to do a show about the mother-daughter relationship and our obsession with celebrity in the guise of a political theme. Mums, celebs and bastards on the same bill - it's a stroke of genius.

Read more...

Edinburgh Fringe: Late Night Gimp Fight!/ While You Lie

Veronica Lee 'Late Night Gimp Fight!': fast-paced sketches on the sexually deviant side

Going to a late-night comedy show at the Fringe is always taking a risk, not least because every drunken fool in the place, with their oh-so-funny heckles, thinks they’re funnier than the performers. And so it proved at the performance I saw of this deliriously funny sketch comedy, performed by five fit young chaps, in which the payoff to one skit involves one of them going buck naked.

Read more...

Edinburgh Fringe: Jason Cook/ Lee Kern/ Barrow Street Theatre

Veronica Lee Jason Cook: The Geordie comic's show is about his suspected heart attack last year

He may describe himself as “a Geordie chancer”, but in reality Jason Cook is a warm comic whose material is utterly devoid of cynicism. Yet he’s far from being pious - he spices up his act with caustic barbs for deserving targets (quite often himself) and has a raft of sharp putdowns for hecklers who think they’re wittier than he is.

Read more...

The Unforgettable Bob Monkhouse, ITV1

Adam Sweeting Bob Monkhouse: 'What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup? Anyone can roast beef...'

He wasn't a jack of all trades, said his friend June Whitfield, "he was a master of all trades". The charge of "smarminess" dogged Bob Monkhouse throughout his career, but as this quietly penetrating documentary made clear, he was highly intelligent, multi-talented and had a lot of layers he kept to himself. Actor, scriptwriter, singer, novelist (though they didn't really mention that part), stand-up comic, cartoonist, radio star, gameshow host and posthumous campaigner against the prostate...

Read more...

Better Off Ted, FX

Adam Sweeting Ted (Jay Harrington) and Veronica (Portia De Rossi) locked in a power-meeting at Veridian Dynamics

And first the bad news. The ABC network in the States has already declared Better Off Ted dead, after a paltry two seasons. Which is a pity, since acerbic, mildly surreal satires about the workings of corporate America don’t come along very often.

Read more...

Would I Lie to You? BBC One

howard Male The crew of the Starship Deception about to lie as no one has lied before

The fact that we humans are, technically speaking, bad liars proves that we are instinctively moral creatures (rather than getting our morals from our god or our parents) and that lying is therefore, evolutionarily speaking, probably a bad idea. You can get away with saying you were caught in traffic, rather than admitting you were in the pub, but a polygraph will pick up on changes in blood pressure, pulse and respiration - those indicators of anxiety you’d rather not be feeling - and your...

Read more...

Latitude Festival, Suffolk

David Cheal Latitude: Blue skies and a cornucopia of culture

So little time, so much stuff to see: that, in essence, is the story of Latitude. Now in its fifth year, this Suffolk festival offers a bewildering cultural cornucopia: music, theatre, dance, cabaret, comedy, circus, literature, poetry, as well as unexpected oddities such as performers dressed as unicorns wandering the woods at night and teams of ghoulish “medics” defibrillating random victims (I was one of them) during theatre group Duckie’s Saturday night masked ball. It’s a blast (albeit...

Read more...

Pete and Dud: The Lost Sketches, BBC Two/ British Grand Prix, BBC One

Adam Sweeting Wossy and his mirthsome pals celebrate Cook and Moore, with the great Clifford Slapper at the piano

Great comedy may be timeless, but that's probably because of the great comedians performing it as much as the material itself. Could you imagine Dad's Army being anything more than a shadow of its former self if it was remade with a new cast? Would Frasier achieve the same transcendent mix of bourgeois self-regard and millisecond farcical timing with James Corden and Mathew Horne in place of  Kelsey Grammer and...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

The Last Full Measure review - exceptional performances elev...

It’s impossible to deny the sincerity with which Todd Robinson has approached the true story of William H. Pitsenbarger, a...

Album: Dion - Blues With Friends

As news bulletins compare events in America to 1968, the mental jukebox spins almost inevitably to “Abraham, Martin and John”, first recorded by...

New Music Lockdown 9: Chic, Laura Marling, Billy Bragg, Stee...

For better or worse, the lockdown may be easing in the UK but there’s no sign of any gig action, even on the far distant horizon. So it’s back to...

Christo (1935-2020) - 'Beauty, science and art will alw...

The death of Christo, aged 84, was announced on Sunday, marking the end of a visionary and flamboyant artistic career. Best known for huge,...

A Very British Hotel Chain: Inside Best Western, Series Fin...

It’s impossible to tell whether this reality-doc...

Stephen Hough/Lucy Crowe, Anna Tilbrook, Wigmore Hall online...

After a devastating drought, even a light shower can feel like something of a miracle. Under normal circumstances, a 60 minute lunchtime...

Shutdown: The Virus That Changed Our World, Sky Documentarie...

It’s too early for a definitive account of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this was very much a...

Album: Westerman - Your Hero is not Dead

Will Westerman is not afraid of sounding retro. It's clear his influences are diverse, from jazz fusion to the bedroom proto-house experiments of...

First Person: Gabriel Prokofiev on 14 years of his Concerto...

For most people a turntable, or record player is used to play back old vinyls bought from a market or second hand store, or perhaps a carefully...