Comedy review: Josh Pugh: A Boy Named Pugh

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Josh Pugh's Edinburgh debut has come early, after a mere three years performing.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)


And while this is a rather patched-together hour, you can already see substantial evidence of the talent that has secured the 27-year-old so many new act awards.

The conceit he sets up is that he’s pitching his life story as a film, a pointless framing device for otherwise unconnected material, especially baffling when it’s his gentle absurdism and unwillingness to adhere to reality’s strictures that sets him apart.

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Some great, deceptively simple-sounding gags about being a maze attendant and the problems of a suicidal ventriloquist foreground his offbeat perspective and economic writing, as he packs in joke after joke. There’s a nice running gag about Bob Dylan, reiterating the shaky authority of this slightly shambling comic, and he creates visually pleasing scenarios, imagining the mischief he’d inflict on a single participant in a silent disco.

A spreadsheet claiming to tailor the perfect z-list celebrity to the right engagement doesn’t really work, but it allows him to open up about a personal affliction, while his own meeting with the former Gladiator star Wolf is beautifully executed. Accomplished at the pull-back and reveal joke, Pugh is also decidedly deft with a pun.

Until 28 August. Today 7:15pm.

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