wed 19/09/2018

Comedy Reviews

Dawn French, Vaudeville Theatre

Jasper Rees

When is a comedian not funny? Dawn French has spent so much of her life making audiences laugh that her debut as a one-woman performer requires some recalibration. The next-door smile is as big as ever, and the eagerness to be liked, so the early section – about the thieving march of time – looks and sounds like a stand-up routine that isn’t quite landing. Laughs are thin on the ground.

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Michael McIntyre, O2

Veronica Lee

It may seem strange to begin a review of a comedy gig with a description of the Tube journey home. But it was noticeable that the crowds who left the O2 Arena in London after Michael McIntyre's new show Happy & Glorious weren't talking about it. About the weather, the full train, what they were up to at the weekend, yes; but his show, no.

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Alan Carr, Touring

Veronica Lee

Alan Carr has titled his latest live show Yap, Yap, Yap! Because, he says as the show opens, everyone has too much to say these days, much of it - such as the stuff on Twitter - not worth listening to. Coming from the host of Channel 4 chatshow Chatty Man, that's comically rich. But such is Carr's genuine likeability that the audience overlook that and settle in to enjoy the evening.

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Sam Simmons, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Sam Simmons' new show – for which he won the Edinburgh Comedy Award last month and the Barry award at Melbourne earlier this year – is titled Spaghetti for Breakfast, but could easily be called “Things That Shit Me”; the phrase pops up repeatedly on a recorded loop, as the Australian comic runs through the large number of things that annoy him.

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Kevin Bridges, Hammersmith Apollo

Veronica Lee

Kevin Bridges, although only 28, has been performing comedy for 10 years. Strange to relate then, that he still gets rattled by hecklers (even friendly ones telling him he's awesome – “Relax, it's not a One Direction concert”) and that this otherwise excellent gig descended into acrimony with Bridges leaving the stage at the end clearly irritated.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Kieran Hodgson/ Richard Gadd/ Trygve Wakenshaw

Veronica Lee

Kieran Hodgson, Voodoo Rooms ★★★★

When Kieran Hodgson was growing up in West Yorkshire in the early years of the century, he was obsessed with two things – cycling and Lance Armstrong, then the greatest cyclist the world had ever seen.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Joseph Morpurgo/ Daphne/ Tom Parry

Veronica Lee

Joseph Morpurgo, Pleasance Courtyard *****

 
In Soothing Sounds For Baby, Joseph Morpurgo uses found objects - vinyl LPs with content so esoteric you would swear he had invented them - and the framework of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs to fashion an ingenious and wonderful show.
 
Morpurgo is supposedly Kirsty Young's guest on the radio show - although in his painstaking cut and paste clips of the programme, Young's questioni

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Nish Kumar/ Adam Hess/ Dial Medicine for Murder/ Larry Dean

Veronica Lee

Nish Kumar, Pleasance Courtyard ★★★★

There's been so little out-and-out political comedy at this year's Fringe that it's a real joy to find a stand-up so engaged with politics as Nish Kumar.

Kumar lays out his stall early on. The issue of diversity in the arts is, he says, "a subject very close to my face". He goes on to discuss why men still dominate everything, and the reasons why Jeremy Corbyn is popular. Full marks for being bang up to date.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Diane Chorley/ LetLuce/ Lazy Susan

Veronica Lee

Diane Chorley, Underbelly Potterrow ★★★

Diane Chorley is the former owner of The Flick nightclub in Canvey Island, Essex. Back in the 1980s it was the place to go, and celebrities – from Michael Barrymore to George Michael and Mick Jagger – used to pass through its doors. In fact, it was David Bowie who gave her the title "Duchess of Canvey".

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The Kinsey Sicks/ Minor Delays/ Rhys James

Veronica Lee

The Kinsey Sicks, Gilded Balloon ****

 

The Kinsey Sicks, a four-piece drag a cappella act, were formed in 1993 and have played off-Broadway and Las Vegas; this is their UK debut. Their name is a play on Kinsey 6, the point in the scale of sexual attraction as exclusively homosexual, and they bill themselves as “Barbarella meets beautyshop”, or “chicks with shticks”.

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