Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Comedy Review: Edinburgh 2011

4 StarsGlenn Wool – Brilliant stand up from Canadian stand-up Glenn Wool. A little known comedian in the UK his subject matter is all that stands between him and the nicely polished pleasantness of “Live at the Apollo” or “Comedy Roadshow”. And thank god. If ever there was a comedian born to talk about anal examination in a small room (off from another small room, it’s Glenn. Although relying a little too much on his appearance as a way of relating to the audience early on his formula for framing dark comic hilarity worked to perfection. Even with a back coated in Carlsberg (a terrible accident on the seats behind me) i laughed and groaned and had an aching jaw by the time we walked into the cold Edinburgh air! Not to be missed.


4 Stars

Joanna Neary – There is something lovely about the simplicity of being told a story, a proper story, about individuals with real personalities who you can identify with, be happy for, and cry alongside. Neary’s show fulfills all of this, taking us back to a happier time of youth clubs, rubix cubes and shoulder pads. Yes the 80s. Bless ’em. There is something wonderfully warm about Neary as she weaves worlds together and paints a luscious picture of spandex and neon against a background of teenage angst. Think Daniel Kitson meets Josie Long meets a hot water bottle and you’ll get the idea…


4 Stars

Phil Nichol – I’ve seen Phil Nichol perform a few times now and everytime have been overawed by his sheer energy, passion and lunacy. His show, The Simple Hour, focused around his desire to create a show his parents could see. A brilliant premise but one flawed in that there is no real arch to his narrative, he realises pretty much straight away that it, well, ain’t gonna happen, and so returns to his regular material. Not that his regular material isn’t good, it is, excellent at points, but it’s not new anymore, and seemed like a combination of club sets with a vague pretense of originality. If you’ve not seen him before then don’t miss it, if you have then there’s not a lot new.


4 Stars

Political Animal – Bought on a whim by my good friend Chris, Political Animal is the midnight starting comedy show for the educated and politically turned on. Led by the outstandingly geeky Andy Zaltsman and ably assisted by stateside residing John Oliver this show takes a look at the world of politics through the eyes of some of the most astute comic minds in the world. Occasionally collapsing into anarchy (thanks to a cameo by Daniel Kitson playing God) with short pieces by other performers I’ve no idea if the show is like this every night, I hope so and I’d love to find out!


4 Stars

Seymore Mace – A portrait of a year of depression and Mace’s one-man-mission to pull himself from the doldrums. Starting extremely strongly with some clever audience interaction it focuses around the rediscovery of the inner child, when everything was good, happy and joyous. Sadly not everything is and after a very promising start the show lulled as the ideas became more fraught and we finished with a seemingly get-out-of-jail-free piece of audience participation. An entertaining show, worth checking out the development at 2012’s fringe.


4 Stars

Gavin Webster – “All young people are cunts“. Hmmm quite a statement there. But he goes on to clarify, not all young people (phew), children are okay (right), and teenagers, actually are okay (so that leaves…), it’s people in their 20s he can’t stand (huh). This was the point he lost me and the large portion of 20 somethings who’d come to see the show. The problem for me wasn’t the subject matter, everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but that Webster, a fine comedian with great comic timing and nice ideas at the top of the show turns into a raving lunatic with no real point or punchlines. Creating a bad song to accompany your lack of a point or the lack of thought that it felt had gone into this didn’t mask the problems either. The opening was nice, but as an audience I seek revolutionaries who learn from their initial statements, not reactionaries who would be better placed in the Daily Mail.


4 Stars

Mick Sergeant – There is potential within the material that Sergeant has produced for another comedy character of the Pub Landlord quality. The show focuses around the life of man/caricature Mick as he tries to get off the dole and back into society. He’s a really like able comedian and elements of the show are very funny, but vast amounts feel forced and need something around which to hold the ideas and the current character doesn’t quite provide enough of a believable standing in reality. A brief moment as a hairdresser provided a moment of untapped potential, the hairdresser Mick Sergeant? Might have legs…