I have tried to see some great shows in this last week guided simply by word of mouth, mainly from performers. It is something performers should do more of – simply take a couple of minutes at the end of their own show to recommend other shows in the same genre. Some do. Most don’t. Especially in free venues, it would genuinely help to guide audiences – and reviewers. In free venues it might be an idea to get another comedian to do your bucket speech – minimising your embarrassment and letting them promo their own show properly to whoever is there. It would be something a bit more positive than simply complaining about no reviews and low audience figures because you have no money for PR. Just a thought.
Brendan Burns raved about Scott Capurro. I have always been a fan but it is easy to forget quite how ferociously skilled he is. The man is an offence Ninja. When other comics go badboy, it can be like being hit with a cricket bat, but Capurro slides in his appalling but perfectly crafted gags about Grenfell and Jews, Islam and Gwyneth Paltrow on the point of a fine stiletto blade. It is eye-wateringly, painfully hilarious. When life gives him lemons he sucks them dry and spits the juice in your eye with a perfect aim. And you laugh because you cannot help yourself. Make no mistake, it takes incredible skill and a lot of work to be this appalling.
Andre Vincent took to Facebook to promote Mandy Knight. This is an absolutely awesome show. And I use the word advisedly. She has formatted it in the baldest, boldest way possible. There are pictures in Mandy’s head. Moments in her life that were so bad, so bleak that her psyche screenshot them, and when she shares them there is absolutely no attempt to “funny” them up. She just sits down and tells you. Then she stands up and is spiky, jokey, jaggy Mandy again and we are back in the comedy room. When she is funny every line has a sting and her delivery is diamond hard. I always wondered where her style came from and now I know. This it what it sounds like when you are laughing into the abyss.
I saw the guys from Matt And Ollie Are… Dads! out on Bristo Square flyering from inside a tiny armchair. This is a debut show and it is a marvellously inventive look at the father/son relationship down the generations of a horribly (and yet hilariously) cursed family through Cossacks, medieval mulch salesmen with unlikely kinks, a Dad with a massive bottom, the horrors of inherited addiction to the Horn and generational problems in the Claus family. There is a great feeling of fun to this fresh and, occasionally, delightfully filthy sketch comedy.
Sid Singh was flagged up by the guys at Just The Tonic as someone who is not getting the audiences he deserves. He has definitely earned the attention of intelligent, questioning punters who like their comedy with a load of well informed politics. Singh is warm and friendly, so when he gets into being the victim of a racist attack in San Francisco, it is shocking. But Sid knows why it happened and he is keen to name names rather than blanket-blame. And the names are Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and their fellow tech billionaires. Don’t let the smiley face fool you, Sid is angry. Fascinating stuff.
A load of people have recommended Josh Glanc, who is a lot like a sweeter, gentler version of Sam Simmons. His show is an absolute delight and his superb tech, Gabriel Partington, has a lot to do with that. The show took six hours to tech, but it was worth it. The wild side of lip-sync and mime are among Glanc’s comedy weaponry, as is the creation of wonderfully offbeat characters. Fans of Aqua, in particular, are in for a massive treat although fans of traditional mime might find parts traumatising. One fish has died in the making of this show, but Josh uses it to such great comedy effect that I cannot complain.
Several comics were worried about Kiwi duo Two Hearts having to pull a show when no-one turned up and sent me along. Thank you! There are definite comparisons to be made with Frisky and Mannish but Laura Daniel is far Friskier and Joseph Moore is waaaay more Mannish. The show harks back to a time when comedy was actually fun, when laughter was an end in itself. There is so much funny here – #MeToo, Feminism, the cosmetic industry and even death are suddenly made hilarious in song. We get a compelling backstory, a Millennial Singalong and the kind of creative, explosive joy usually offered only by the castle fireworks
Mary Bourke mounted a daily attack on my email to get me down to The Stand, where, she says, there has been a dearth of reviewers. Her show is, she tells us, an examination of what it means to be authentically Irish post-Brexit. Ed Sheeran gets taken apart, Mary creates her fantasy Irish pub and we read from the guiding writings of Roy Keane. Bourke has developed a soft, deadpan delivery which she just about pulls off. Do not expect an hour of laughs, but it is an interesting and complex show.
Beetlemania: Kafka For Kids is my one that nearly go away. I meant and failed to see it on day one. It is an hour of sheer joy – not a word normally associated with Kafka – out-loud laughter and obscure literature. To find the comedy sweet spot where children and adults genuinely laugh together takes immense skill, but this show hits it. Classic comedy characters are all here, just slightly subverted, and even Kafka himself would have smiled to see what they do with his stories. The Bridge and the The Bucket Rider are hilariously brought to life alongside a game of Nobody’s Got Talent, a subplot about stolen packages and an old manuscript and some gripping beetle-based drama. There is not a moment in the hour that is not made to give its full comedy potential to the show. The cast dance cheerily along the edge of pantoland but never get lost in there. The script is child-perfect, mined with tiny in-jokes and brilliantly knowing asides for the adults. There is so much skill here, all dedicated to making it look silly and easy.
All shows end today unless otherwise stated. Scott Capurro, Heroes @ Boteco; Mandy Knight, run ended; Underbelly, Bristo Square, until Monday; Sid Singh, Just the Tonic at The Mash House; Josh Glanc, Underbelly, Bristo Square; Two Hearts, Underbelly, Cowgate; Mary Bourke, run ended; Beetlemania: Kafka For Kids, Pleasance Dome