Wednesday 22nd November

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What’s On London’s Edinburgh Fringe Preview

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

With the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest arts event – officially starting today, we decided to follow the Highland herd and put together a list of the comedy shows we’re most looking forward to seeing this month and then subsequently in London.

Given the vast number of acts performing over the next month in this seventieth year of the Fringe, we can’t pretend our list is completely comprehensive, and apologise to the many worthy artists unmentioned below.  It reiterates just how spoilt for choice fans of live comedy currently are.  But we guarantee this: if you choose to see our suggested stand-up, character, storytelling, musical and sketch comedians, you won’t go far wrong.

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Category: Comedy
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John Robins: The Darkness of Robins, Edinburgh preview

In the third of our Edinburgh Fringe previews, Ian Cater speaks to comedian, broadcaster and Queen fanatic John Robins about recovering from post-breakup despair to find humour in his painful and funny new show, The Darkness of Robins.

Professionally, John Robins has had an excellent year.  The Bristolian stand-up’s new show, The Darkness of Robins, is the most distinctive of his career, well-placed to become one of the hits of the Fringe.  His previous set, Speakeasy, has been condensed into a prestigious Live from the BBC episode available on iPlayer.  And the cult Chortle-Award-winning Radio X show and podcast he hosts with close friend Elis James is going from strength to strength, passing five million downloads and raising ‘Brand Robins’ to deservedly high levels.

However, the past eight months have been emotionally turbulent, as Robins has struggled to deal with his split from fellow comedian Sara Pascoe after three years together.

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Category: Comedy
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Jon Pointing: Act Natural, Edinburgh preview

In the second of our Edinburgh Fringe previews, Ian Cater speaks to Jon Pointing about his brilliant comic creation, acting coach Cayden Hunter, in debut solo show Act Natural.

In our first Edinburgh preview last week, we started with a prediction.  So here’s another: Cayden Hunter will be the breakthrough character act of this year’s Fringe.  The arrogant, vulnerable, hilarious star of Jon Pointing’s debut solo show, Act Natural, has already got much of the London comedy world talking.  That buzz should extend north and, hopefully, onto our TV screens before long if executives can find a suitable vehicle for him.

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Category: Comedy
London

What’s On, London? 8th – 11th June 2017

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Last weekend was a tragic one for London.  But we can’t let mindless, hateful morons stop us doing what we do best: making the most of the amazing things this great city has to offer everyone – whatever your tastes and interests.  We carry on.  We must and we will.  With that in mind, the next few days offer plenty of opportunities for Londoners to seek escapism, to laugh and to marvel at the creative contributions people make to our shared culture every day.

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Category: Art
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Preview: The Underbelly Festival Southbank 2017

The Underbelly Festival Southbank 2017 is up and running, with a roll call of stellar entertainers taking to the stage before the distinctive purple dome gets dismantled at the end of September.  

And this year’s festival, presented by Hilton, promises to be better than ever, bringing together two slightly smaller offerings – Udderbelly and London Wonderland – into a summer-long, one-stop shop for comedy, circus and variety shows.  

Whatever your tastes, there seems to be something for everyone.  Plus, with free entry into the complex, there are few better spots to enjoy a beer and decent street food in a festival atmosphere, nestled beneath the London Eye and overlooking the splendour of Westminster.

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Category: Comedy
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The KAOS Brief review: Blair Witch meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Last week saw the European premiere of new sci-fi thriller The KAOS Brief at Stratford Picture House as part of this year’s ‘London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film’, a.k.a. Sci-Fi-London 17.  

Cora Robertson attended the screening and Q&A session for What’s On London, and was full of praise for JP Mandarino’s first feature film – “a really enjoyable romp through a host of sci-fi and horror tropes” – which manages to fuse the best aspects of The Blair Witch Project with Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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Category: Cinema
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24th Raindance Film Festival, 21st September – 2nd October 2016

Tomorrow sees the start of the annual Raindance Film Festival in London’s West End – now Europe’s largest independent film festival.  Across 12 days, audiences will get the chance to see 90 feature films, 85 short films, an incredible Virtual Reality Arcade, and dozens of talks by the film industry’s great and good.  

Despite modest beginnings, Raindance has become a very big deal, helping launch the careers of Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan, and providing a launchpad for films such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and Memento to achieve critical acclaim and commercial success.  

Ian Cater spoke to Raindance’s founder, Elliot Grove, about the inspiration behind it and what London film fans can expect to see at this year’s festival.

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Category: Cinema
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Birthday Girls: Sh*t Hot Party Legends review

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Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable time at the Fringe than an hour of Birthday Girls’ raucously funny sketches.

From the second you enter the room to find the performers handing out shots, dancing wildly and decorating the audience with glittery makeup, you know that fun’s the aim of the game for the next hour.  Birthday Girls – Rose Johnson, Beattie Edmondson and Camille Ucan – hijack the crowd on their Saturday night out, the basis from which their hilarious sketches spill.  In between, the trio perform amazingly choreographed and suggestive dances – the kind of segues used on TV sketch shows, where they’re surely destined to be.

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Category: Comedy