Keith Smith: Fringe comedy round-up

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Disillusioned by David Cameron’s Big Society, Marcus Brigstocke (Assembly Mound, 9.10pm, until August 25, * * *) attempts to create his own version – the Brig Society – in this entertaining hour of smart political comedy.

Questioning the motives of those in power and exposing their thought processes (and their hypocrisy) he sets about appointing his alternative cabinet, drawn from audience members. The startlingly simply, and comically effective, illustration of the causes of the global banking crisis is an undoubted highlight, but not everything works so well. His insistence on referring to the PM as David Cam-Moron is just childish and the first third of the show – spent introducing different ages and nationalities in the room to each other – is pedestrian. But there’s a fabulous concept here.

With politics dealt with, it’s up to Sean Hughes (Gilded Balloon Teviot, 8.15pm, until August 27, * * * *) to address that other comedy staple – the Irish football team. Oh, and religion. Hughes proves it’s still fertile ground, though, questioning aspects of Jesus’ life story before changing tack to vent on whatever else takes his fancy, from a re-appraisal of David Attenborough’s status as a National Treasure to how a childhood obsession with the Bay City Rollers has ruined his adult love life. Irreverent and delightfully cynical.

Satire isn’t top of the list for Foil, Arms and Hogg (Underbelly Cowgate, 10.30pm, until August 26, * * *) though. For the most part, the humour is ridiculous and outlandish.

Some of the scenes peter out, but the trio’s likeable enthusiasm carries them through, and if some of the characters – gossiping old women and sanctimonious priests – are standard comedy stock, elsewhere there’s a genuine attempt at originality. A small town talent contest is imaginative while a send-up of an inept improv troupe is perfectly measured. There’s even a spot of rather unusual audience participation to round things off.