Friday 15th November

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EdinburghFringeProgramme2018

The Edinburgh Fringe: Ten To See

With just over one week left of the world’s greatest arts festival, Ian Cater lists his top ten comedy shows to see if you’re lucky enough to be north of the border before the Edinburgh Fringe comes to a close on 27th August.  And if you can’t make it up there, continue to follow What’s On London on Facebook and Twitter for news of when these fantastic shows are heading here. 

gs_gary_starr_micf18Garry Starr Performs Everything (right).  Occasionally a show has people almost soiling themselves with laughter from start to finish and this spoof whirlwind theatre lesson is one such daft, chaotic and immensely talented production.  Damien Warren-Smith’s actor-who-knows-best rattles through every theatrical form in various states of undress in a manner that’s equal parts hilarious and unpredictable.  Every day from 20.10 at Underbelly Cowgate, with an extra show at 22.50 on 21st August (tickets here).

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Category: Comedy
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Rob Oldham: Worm’s Lament review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer & Reviewer

Rob Oldham makes a solid start in his first hour-long show, showing a sharp eye for observational comedy.

For a first hour-long Edinburgh show, this is an assured effort from Rob Oldham.  Although never quite hitting the heights you suspect he may be capable of in time, he delivers a well-structured show – frequently commentated on during fourth wall-breaking moments – that’s heavy on parody and neat one-liners.

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Category: Comedy
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Wil Greenway: Either Side of Everything review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer & Reviewer

Wil Greenway delivers more warm and engaging storytelling, but loses something in this style experiment. 

Over the past few years, a Wil Greenway show has virtually guaranteed a charming, poetic experience filled with passion and laughter.  This year’s iteration, Either Side of Everything, is ultimately no exception but something seems to have been lost in the Australian’s experiment towards comedy and multiple storylines.

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Category: Comedy
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Rob Oldham: Worm’s Lament, Edinburgh preview

In our third Edinburgh preview, Ian Cater speaks to up-and-coming comedian Rob Oldham about Worm’s Lament – his debut full-length Fringe show, already tipped for the Best Newcomer Award.

Not bad, is it?  To be one year out of university and putting on your first hour-long show at Pleasance Courtyard.  To be performing work directed by one of the best contemporary creative minds around.  To be described as having a ‘unique comedic voice’ by the age of 23.  To be, in short, Rob Oldham.

“I realise how lucky I am,” he says, examining each word with deliberation before placing it before him.  And he does, you sense, truly feel that fortune.  But equally, Oldham would be forgiven for finding success routine.  Getting into Cambridge was soon eclipsed by the award of a Double First and a place on the prestigious Footlights sketch troupe touring the United States.  Shortly afterwards, he was handpicked to provide tour support for John Kearns and Abandoman.  And even his football team, Fulham FC, got promoted last season.

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Category: Comedy
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Jordan Brookes: Bleed, Edinburgh preview

In the second of our Edinburgh previews, Ian Cater speaks to unconventional stand-up Jordan Brookes about Bleed, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated show at this year’s Fringe.

Few comedians have as big a buzz around them right now as Jordan Brookes.  The 32-year-old heads north on the wave of a soaring reputation amongst critics and fellow comics, evidenced by last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination and Chortle gong for the 2018 Comedian’s Comedian.  As a further mark of progress, Brookes has gone from beginning his last run at a remote Free Fringe venue to a primetime slot at Pleasance Courtyard – still perceived as the Edinburgh gold standard.

The plaudits and upgrades stem from the unfeigned, unflinching and unconventional style of comedy that stands him apart.  “Oh Christ,” Brookes groans.  “Why the hell did you have to say that?  Now they’ll expect too much.”

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Category: Comedy
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Wil Greenway: Either Side of Everything, Edinburgh preview

In the first of our Edinburgh Fringe previews, Ian Cater speaks to Wil Greenway – one of the most soul-stirring, poetic storytellers around – about his move towards comedy in new show Either Side of Everything.

The first time I saw Wil Greenway walk onstage, he looked very much your archetypal Australian hipster: bright shirted, bare footed, big of beard, all perched on a strong frame growing down from a top-knot.  He was only lacking a surfboard and a can of Fosters to complete the picture.

But book split from cover the second he opened his mouth and unravelled a softly spoken story full of heart, humour and small-town heroism.  The fluid in his eyes ebbed and flowed to the rhythm of his words: full of mischief during each well-worked metaphor; packed with pain when retreating to gather himself during folksy musical interludes from singer Kathryn Langshaw and guitarist Will Galloway.

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Category: Comedy
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Jon Pointing: Act Natural review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Jon Pointing’s debut solo show is an excruciating masterpiece of character comedy.

If you ever see better character comedy than Jon Pointing‘s Act Natural, you’ve struck gold.  Because Pointing’s debut, in which he plays hilariously flawed acting coach Cayden Hunter, is a delicately crafted and wonderfully acted masterpiece.

The conceit is that audience members are attending Hunter’s acting workshop, a set-up nimbly explained as he enters and pretends not to want attention while he readies himself for the session.  Of course, Hunter wants the opposite, made clear when he slowly changes his top onstage, breathing in and tensing his muscles.  From that moment, the stage is set for a perfect demonstration of vulnerable self-importance, a traditional and deep well for character comedy.

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Category: Comedy
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Rhys James: Wiseboy review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

A sharply written tongue-in-cheek take on white privilege from the young master of pithy comedy.

Anyone following Rhys James on Twitter will attest that few comedians package their observational comedy quite so pithily.  While some complain how social media’s devalued the profession, opening the door for the world and its dog to dabble in satire, the Mock The Week occasional uses it to hone his retorts on big news items and day-to-day occurrences – essential panel show practice.  These skills translate to his live material, with 2016 show Forgives being one the tightest-written around.  And in Wiseboy, the son of Harpenden delivers another densely-packed show ironically bemoaning his comfortable, privileged existence.

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Category: Comedy