Punchline recommends Sam Taunton: It’s Nice, It’s Modern

13 Aug

Sam TauntonWords by Suzy Romer

For a lovely, friendly hour of feel-good comedy from a new name at the Fringe, look no further than Sam Taunton. He is warm, charming and self-depreciating, perhaps a little too self-depreciating but he is young and will one day stop using his ex’s words to describe himself. There’s a reason why she’s an ex!

Sam fills the show with smart observations and great stories which include all the extra flyaway comments that turn giggles into belly laughs. He covers a good mix of subjects including family, drugs and gigging in Australia. From the sound of it, he is more used to playing to boisterous crowds in Australian bars than to quiet, attentive Edinburgh audiences in converted university spaces but he adapts beautifully and ad-libs with poise and style.

Sam Taunton has good, solid material and the standard is consistently high. Look out for his name in the future.

Buy tickets for Sam Taunton: It’s Nice, It’s Modern here

7.40pm | Assembly George Square | Until 25 Aug

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Punchline recommends Tom Parry: Parryoke!

12 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

If Tom Parry’s name is attached to any show as a writer, director or performer, you can guarantee it will be a great laugh. Parryoke! is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy an hour in the vibrant, effervescent company of the Renaissance man of comedy.

This is his most strictly stand-up show so far, even more so than his last solo show. He tells some memorable anecdotes, shows us some unforgettable photos and connects with us through ever-so-gentle audience participation which even the most entrenched introvert will love. There are plenty of ‘nineties references which, far from being simply nostalgic, are tied into an exploration of wider themes, and he provides new laughs on the subject of Christmas presents, weddings and football. Then there’s the actual singing (never too much and always funny) and the richest comedy material about karaoke I have ever heard.

This is smart, sparkling feel-good comedy which is deliberately presented with no dark side; perfect for anyone who wants the comedy equivalent of a good pub with no TV news screens. Our multi-talented host knows exactly how to use his arts to bring us together for an hour of non-stop fun, and there are smiles and laughs all round.

Buy tickets for Tom Parry: Parryoke here

6pm | Pleasance Courtyard | Until 26 Aug (not 13)

Punchline recommends Josie Long: Tender

11 Aug

Josie LongWords by Suzy Romer

Josie Long has been pretty busy with a baby for the last 13 months but this Fringe she is back in comedy and has a great show at the ready. She has that marvellous standing in comedy now which creates a warm atmosphere even before she comes on stage because everyone is anticipating her arrival and knows she will be brilliant. We’ve missed her!

She greets us with a delightful song (which she claims is not a skill but it really is) before sharing some ideas about baby-related sleep deprivation which make us roar with laughter and fix any lingering bother in those of us who remember that phase with discomfort. Josie has an amazing conversational style where you almost forget you aren’t taking part in the monologue. She treats big and small subjects with the analysis and humour they deserve and boldly faces fears about politics and climate change with admirable power and perception.

Josie doesn’t simplify topics for the sake of a quick joke because her comedy comes from a deeper, more complex outlook. Life isn’t always easy and neither is her material but her dynamic ability to find the best bits and revel in them with us is a welcome pick-me-up to us all.

Buy any remaining tickets for Josie Long: Tender here

8.20pm | The Stand | Until 25 Aug

Punchline Recommends Jayde Adams: The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face

7 Aug

JaydeAdams2019

Words by Iain McLaren

I first saw Jayde Adams 2 years ago. First as part of the Pleasance Opening Gala with her iconic Pavarotti on the bus routine then her full show from the same year. I was struck by her power and her stage presence. She was brilliant. Adams is best known for her bright flamboyant shows with lots of dancing and singing. This year she has taken the potentially risky tactic of stepping out of her comfort zone and delivers more of a stand up based show.

After reflecting on her career to date, Adams has brought to the Fringe a show which looks at modern day feminism from her own viewpoint where her family household was run as matriarchy. Is Adams the new hero for this generation’s young women? Maybe not but she explains how her own journey led her to many discoveries and how it has shaped her own opinion of 4th wave feminism.

While this might be a more serious show from Adams, it lacks none of her humour or forceful nature which she is known and loved for. She might have stepped out of her comfort zone, but she walked right into another brilliant show and amazing performance.

This show is selling fast, if you want to see one of the best performers at the Fringe get your tickets now!

 

Buy tickets for Jayde Adams: The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face here

9.30pm | Pleasance Courtyard | Until 25 Aug

Punchline recommends Nick Helm: Phoenix from the Flames

6 Aug

Nick HelmWords by Suzy Romer

When I picked up my ticket for Phoenix from the Flames I was promised (OK… warned about) audience participation, swearing and nudity but the actual show is so much better than the sum of the parts. The glorious gruff superstar is back for his full Edinburgh run for the first time since 2013 and God it is good to see him again.

Many of his classic show highlights are present in their best versions. We enjoy some great songs that simultaneously transport and tantalise us because they are not available to listen again. We feast our eyes on a uniquely inventive stage costume that only Nick Helm could have designed with his own particular combination of mirth and majesty. His props are delightful and the big screen makes everything larger, funnier and more glamorous. As always, Nick’s material deftly balances light and dark, but this time in his bravest and most vulnerable moments, he has replaced his traditional poems with arresting truths about his most recent experiences with depression. Here we really see the skill and experience of a true comedy expert because he can take difficult material and give us the benefit his rich comic observations with some carefully chosen, lightly scattered gems of wisdom.

Nick Helm is one of a few wonderful men in comedy who dare to incorporate genuinely taboo subjects into their material and “find the funny” in a way that works brilliantly. It puts me in mind of Rob Delaney’s autobiography Mother Wife Sister.. (which deals with alcoholism) and Rhod Gilbert’s show The Book of John (which deals with IVF). In the age of debate about whether you can genuinely make jokes about any subject however hard, Nick Helm has started in the right place, with himself. If any of the jokes sound easy, it is because he has chosen to present them that way and there isn’t a lazy quip in sight. His comedy comes from a place of courage, not cowardice and that makes all the difference.

Buy tickets for Nick Helm: Phoenix from the Flames here

5.40pm | Pleasance Dome | Until 24 Aug (not 12)

See our original recommendation for Nick Helm here

Punchline recommends Ciarán Dowd: Padre Rodolfo

5 Aug

Ciaran DowdWords by Suzy Romer

If you met Don Rodolfo last year, great. If you didn’t then now’s your chance. Last year Ciarán’s show was so complete and satisfying that it got him the Best Newcomer Award but the 2019 show is somehow even better. It shoots way beyond any particular parody and takes on a life of its own to align with its own unique glory.

As soon as the lights go up we are swept up into Padre Rodolfo’s delicious, dramatic, delirious world of superstar priesting, sword fights and outrageous filth that shouldn’t be sexy but definitely is. His ridiculous stories are packed with extravagant nonsense and they are utterly compelling. We long to hear what happens next and our host knows it because he quietly suspended our disbelief while we were watching the massive opening number. We are teased and rewarded, shocked and wooed with irresistible unpredictability that combines master storytelling and an ingenious collage of joyous live experiences. Music, lighting, and technical stage brilliance of all kinds go right through the production and the number and variety of jokes per minute is truly astounding. The invincible energy creates a momentum that carries us through from beginning to end.

This is a show that wraps up all the best Fringe experiences together and then lets you tear off the paper and revel in it all at once. Forget all your other stuff for an hour and just enjoy this. It’s a rollicking, riotous, romp of a show, just Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Buy tickets for Ciaran Dowd: Padre Rodolfo here

9.45 | Pleasance Courtyard|Until 25 Aug (not 14)

Punchline Recommends Lou Sanders: Say Hello to Your New Step-Mummy

3 Aug

Lou SandersWords by Iain McLaren

Lou Sanders just keeps getting better and better. Her all round comedy performance and amazing material hits new highs this year with Say Hello to Your New Step-Mummy. Hot off the back of her brilliant Taskmaster triumph, Lou shares a self-reflective look at her past relationships, sex life and conversations with her “healer” who is trying to help clean Lou’s “chakras” and of course it also wouldn’t be Lou if we didn’t have bit of a chat about her labia!

Her open and inclusive style brings everyone together in a way that makes her stories come alive. Starting in her childhood and running us through to current day, she explains just why she feels maybe ready to be a mother, or possibly step-mum, to some lucky little munchkin all while making some choice “your Dad” jokes.

Lou is all set for a great Fringe so grab your tickets now and join in the fun, while she enjoys your Dad! (that one isn’t in the show). The show is pay-what-you-want however it is better to buy tickets in advance to reserve your seat as she is selling out fast.

Buy tickets for Lou Sanders: Say Hello to Your New Step-Mummy, here

3.15pm | Monkey Barrel 3 | Until 25 Aug (not 14)

See our original recommendation for Lou Sanders, here

Punchline recommends Jessica Fostekew: Hench

2 Aug

2019JESSICA_BRRWords by Iain McLaren

Massive belly laughs. I like a good old-fashioned belly laugh when I see a comedy show. Enter Jessica Fostekew with her new show, Hench. From start to glorious chanting finish this show provides belly laughs aplenty.

Fostekew explores various themes such as self-image and how those around us see us, birth and parenthood, all delivered with the raw power of a comedian able to command the audience and provide them with a cathartic experience like only she can. She shares her story in best possible stand-up fashion, finding big nuggets of comedy gold even in the most personal of experiences. It felt like everyone in the room could genuinely find something in common with her tales of a modern-day woman and parent looking outward and inward for strength, grace and wisdom and finding… well you’ll have to see the show to find that out.

This show will cure what ails you or at least keep you laughing long enough to mark it as one of the best you’ll see this Fringe. It’s pay-what-you-want or what you think it deserves and given you’ll see shows this Fringe which cost more than £10 but are nowhere near as good, I honestly believe it’s worth at least that.

Buy tickets for Jessica Fostekew : Hench, here

1.30pm | Monkey Barrel 4 | Until 25 Aug (not 12)

Punchline recommends Phil Wang: Philly Philly Wang Wang

1 Aug

Phil WangWords by Suzy Romer

Every Fringe has a few golden tickets for sell-out shows so this recommendation is really to tell you to just buy Phil Wang tickets on sight if you get the chance. I thought I was too late myself but I got lucky at the public box office on the night so maybe you can too.

Phil has a comfortable star quality that makes the audience take to him instantly and we know we are in safe hands because he has every part of what makes a great show under control. His material is absolutely up to the minute (he laughs at himself for daring to make jokes about 2018) and he offers a perspective beyond his years, all the better because he is one of the youngest people in the room on this occasion. He covers everything from farts to philosophy, and takes on virtually every current controversial topic with a response that cuts through two-sided arguments with big surprises and brand new comedy angles. He even succeeds in dealing with moral outrage without engaging in it and the result is Philly Philly funny. You can feel bits of your brain tingle that haven’t been used for a while and it’s such a blessed relief that our laughter rocks the room.

There is only one heckle, and Phil’s response is a comedy world cup goal. He allows the guy a laugh then immediately dwarfs it by an infinitely superior ad lib of his own. He follows up with a soft power warning not to take up any more time and then tops off with a flipping call back. These are the magic moments that comedy lovers spend their lives chasing. Beautifully played, sir.

Buy tickets for Phil Wang: Philly Philly Wang Wang, if you can here

8pm | Pleasance Courtyard | Until 25 Aug (not 12)

 

Punchline recommends Beetlemania: Kafka for Kids

31 Jul

Words by Iain McLaren

It’s the start of the festival and my second as a father. Last year didn’t really count all that much though as my son was too small to take anything in or sit still for long enough. However this year is different. With that in mind this year’s Fringe kicks off in style with Kafka for Kids. “Kafka?” I hear you say. “Is that not a bit of a dry subject for kids?” Normally… yes absolutely. But believe me you are in safe hands with the Kafkateers.

From start to finish the whole crowd buys into this wonderfully funny take on the normally depressing author and his philosophical tales. Take a trip to the bottom of the sea with Poseidon, discover what life is like for an insecure bridge, hear the tale of an old man and his balls (this honestly is kid safe, so get your head out of the gutter) and where has Kevin the beetle gone?

All this and more is explained in this brilliant hour long show for kids and adults alike. Get your tickets early and remember how to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Enjoy your Fringe!

Buy tickets for Beetlemania: Kafka for Kids here
11.45am | Pleasance Courtyard | until 25 Aug (not 14)

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