Tuesday 22nd September

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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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Chris Kent: Looking Up, Edinburgh review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer & Reviewer

Chris Kent proves himself to be a witty and adept storyteller, but lacks punchlines needed for the next level.

Cork-born comedian Chris Kent is James Acaster’s favourite stand-up and – for swathes of this show – you can see why.  His style isn’t dissimilar, injecting run-of-the-mill stories with a measure of absurdity by fixating on funny phrases (like “booty cover” and “sweat pea”) and heightening their impact by telling them behind an emotionless mask.  But where he falls short of his biggest fan – in this show at least – is in creating tension (without which, there’s nothing to cut through), producing punchlines and hanging his tales onto an overarching narrative framework.

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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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Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Kendall’s journey through time and space leaves you laughing and moved in her most personal work to date.

The last time I saw Sarah Kendall perform live was at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, where she delivered Shaken – one of three powerful tales to formed her subsequent hit BBC Radio 4 Australian Trilogy series.  But while impressed by her engaging storytelling, I felt her brusqueness – exacerbated by the boisterous weekend Edinburgh crowd – lessened the impact of her message.

Two years on, that criticism can no longer be levelled.  Despite enduring a difficult time personally, Kendall’s become a much warmer performer, willing to share more personal material in new show One-Seventeen.

As with her previous work, One-Seventeen links the past with the present, but now there’s greater frankness when discussing the latter.  Kendall’s retained her no-nonsense delivery and caustic comedic tongue, but the more intimate moments – when she airs worries about motherhood and the fragility of life – draw the audience deeper into her narrative and help even the lower-brow punchlines to land (the best example being a playful twist to a story about a seemingly deluded grandmother).

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Category: Comedy
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Good Girl review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Naomi Sheldon has announced herself onto the dramatic comedy scene with this impressive debut exploring teenage rage and untreated anxiety.

As a powerful monologue delivered by an assertive, confessional and sexually liberated female lead, Good Girl has inevitably attracted comparisons to Fleabag.  But whereas Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s masterpiece provides a platform for a fully-formed, heavily-flawed, mid-thirties voice, Sheldon’s semi-autobiographical play charts the development of a young woman coming to terms with what society expects of her, namely being a “good girl with neat, little emotions”.

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Category: Comedy
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Scott Gibson: Like Father Like Son review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Gibson follows up his debut smash with an equally engrossing and darkly funny tale of abandonment.

Last year, Scott Gibson impressed the judges with Life After Death, his debut show documenting a sudden brain haemorrhage that called time on his call centre career, and picked up the award for Best Newcomer at the Fringe.  While his candidly entertaining storytelling style suggested the Glaswegian wouldn’t be a one-hit wonder, some doubted whether Gibson could repeat the trick.  Could he uncover enough interesting material in Like Father Like Son to pull off another hit, especially given his recent problems with the authorities?  The answer is ‘yes’.

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Category: Comedy
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Wil Greenway: These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Greenway takes his audience on another visceral journey with his latest lyrical tale of courage and memory.

In our Edinburgh Fringe preview, we predicted that Wil Greenway would soon rise to the top of the comedy storytellers.  After the Australian’s performances this month, he’s surely close to achieving this goal and gaining the recognition he deserves.  As with previous show The Way The City Ate The Stars, These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone tells an atmospheric and entertaining story set in South-East Australia.  Its facts may be less dramatic but, as Greenway’s fans have come to expect, the destination is less important than the journey.

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Category: Comedy
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Wil Greenway: The Way The City Ate The Stars review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Greenway elevates the art of storytelling with this lyrical, moving, funny and compassionate tale of love and tragedy in South-East Australia.

Eleven months ago, I reviewed Sarah Kendall’s show, Shaken.  In hindsight, and having listened to more of her work since on Radio 4, she perhaps deserved more than three stars.  However, I stand by the assertion that for storytelling to work effectively live, “it needs a higher laughter-count, or a more vulnerable and relatable narrator.  Kendall’s very talented, but projects an Antipodean toughness from the moment she bounds onstage talking forcefully about dick drawings and bowel movements.  As a result, she finds it hard to generate much sympathy from an admittedly difficult crowd, necessary before embarking on a story that portrays her younger self so unfavourably.”

I restate this to contrast Kendall’s countryman, Wil Greenway, who last night delivered an equally challenging story at Soho Theatre with a different outcome.  When he entered the stage after a short introduction from his folksy, melodious backing musicians (Will Galloway and Kathryn Langshaw), I was ready for a similarly forthright, Kendall-esque approach, given the Melburnian’s solid frame, thick auburn beard and topknot.  But it quickly became clear that Greenway’s a gentler type of performer and someone who could end up going very far.

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Category: Comedy