mon 26/08/2019

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Katherine Ryan/ Adrienne Truscott/ Gein's Family Giftshop | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Katherine Ryan/ Adrienne Truscott/ Gein's Family Giftshop

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Katherine Ryan/ Adrienne Truscott/ Gein's Family Giftshop

Comedy reigns at the world's biggest and best arts festival

Katherine Ryan sees the world through the prism of celebrity

Katherine Ryan, The Stand ★★★★

"TV's Katherine Ryan," she introduces herself with heavy irony; the Canadian has gone from Fringe performer to never off the telly in just a few years and knows that the sobriquet can be both a compliment and a drawback. Yet when her waspish humour is such good value it's easy to see why producers love her.

But she's even better live, and in Kathbum (her mother's childhood nickname for her), Ryan describes how she is soon to make a speech at her sister's wedding, the starting point of some very good comedy about her childhood. 

She was always an outsider in her hometown, picked on because of her looks. But she was able to get her own back at her sister's hen party with a withering dismissal of the women she grew up with: "You bitches aren't normal, you're ordinary."

Ryan sees the world through the prism of celebrity, and she's on excellent form in this section of the show, guying Cheryl Cole (of whom she does a superb impression), Peter Andre, Bill Cosby and the Kardashians. Someone has told the comic she looks like the recently transitioned Caitlyn Jenner. "I've always wanted to look like a Kardashian. I'll take it."

The barbs are often as cruel as they are witty, and there's a whiff of invention about some of the more personal material, but this is a strong hour.

Until 22 August


Adrienne Truscott, Gilded Balloon ★★★

In 2013 the American performance artist won the Edinburgh Comedy Awards panel prize for her strikingly original Asking For It: A One-Lady Show About Rape Starring Her Pussy and Little Else! – during which she appeared on stage without her knickers.

It's perhaps inevitable that her follow-up, Adrienne Truscott's A One-Trick Pony!, should have less impact. In an unfocused and slow-moving hour there are many levels of irony operating, but not all of them comedically.

Truscott is again naked, this time with a dress still on its hanger placed in front of her body, and gradually builds up the joke about how irony operates in performance. She starts by telling us about her student days when she became a stripper to earn money, then tells a rambling anecdote from those days, but also takes swipes at many deserving targets, including racists, internet trolls and those silly young festival goers who appropriate Native American headgear. 

There are good callbacks and some decent laughs, but not enough to sustain the energy over an hour.

Until 17 August


Gein's Family Giftshop, Pleasance Courtyard ★★★★

The wonderfully rude threesome – Ed Easton, Kath Hughes and James Meehan – return with Volume 2, after their Edinburgh Comedy Awards best newcomer nomination for Volume 1 last year. The new collection of sketches occasionally flirts with bad taste but has a high hit rate.

The purveyors of "blood, poo and bumhole" jokes (their description) are on fine form. In a fast-moving hour of consistently good quality, two sketches stay in the memory: one a dumb show that develops from an innocent mimed offer of a pint in to a piece of gothic horror over several minutes, while there is a hilariously unexpected punchline in another in which the troupe are telling scary stories by torchlight around a campfire. Great fun.

 Until 30 August

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