Tag Archives: Edfringe 2015

Punchline recommends Tom Parry: Yellow T-shirt

26 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

Imagine a long hug from a best friend you haven’t seen for ages. Now put Beethoven’s Ode to Joy on in the background. That’s how joyous Tom Parry’s show is – for a whole hour! It’s stand-up, but not as you know it. In fact, there are so many interesting things happening that I leave with the distinct impression that there was more than one person on stage.

Photograph of Tom ParryYou know how you can usually tell whether the comedian wants to be there or not? Well, Tom Parry really wants to be there, like this show is especially for us. His unconditional love creates a party atmosphere before he’s uttered a word of his official set. There are two levels of genius at play here. Firstly, Parry is multi-talented as he knows how to stage a show; write positive, meaningful material; engage the audience’s hearts, minds and bodies and maintain an ever-varying menu of events. Secondly, he makes all these things look EASY with his cheery, bounding energy and down-to-earth sociability. There are very few people with the talent and sheer likeability to create such comedy alchemy.

As for audience participation, the very term sounds artificial when applied here. We are literally all together in the pub with Tom and some or all of us join in with the main events depending on his suggestions. He shares life stories, observations and curious ideas which are all linked in to the central theme of fancy dress but we don’t really notice because his vitality radiates through the whole room and we are in-the-moment with him. If you want an hour of brio in your life, be there and get the t-shirt.

You can see Tom Parry: Yellow T-shirt at 6.20pm at Just the Tonic at the Tron until 30 August

Punchline recommends Pappy’s Presents… The Secret Dudes Society

23 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

Who needs to visit Hollywood when you’ve got Pappy’s Secret Dudes Society right here in Edinburgh? It’s a late show for sure, running from midnight to 2am but my goodness it’s worth it. Cinderella would kick herself for missing it. This is the hottest spot in town and they’ve got everything: Pappy’s themselves as multi-talented hosts, a resident band with matching kitsch shirts (half of The Spook School), marvellous resident sketch group Lazy Susan and an all-star line-up.

The Masters of Sketch

The Masters of Sketch and Friends

The wild atmosphere kicks in even before the show begins as Pappy’s chat to the audience from off-stage. Once we get started, we are asked if we want to know who’s in the line-up or if we want a surprise. One poor chap in the audience loses out to the almighty vote for SURPRISE. And this is a fascinating option because the audience is so star-studded that there is a genuine air of mystery about who we will be privileged enough to see tonight. On Monday 17th, this included Joel Dommett, Nish Kumar, Max and Ivan and the royal Katherine Ryan.

Were we sitting behind Joel Dommett’s parents? Isn’t Nish Kumar delightful and spot-on even when he’s a little bit more boisterous than usual? How cool was Max and Ivan’s fight? (THAT’S the Wrestling I LONG to see by the way – a big silly fight with all the best comedians… anyone?) Could Katherine Ryan publish her set so I can keep a copy of it on me to deal with dreadful people? Have all thirty-something British men seen Frozen? These are some of the questions that I have.

If you haven’t seen this show yet, it’s where you need to be. This isn’t cool like the conventional rebels at school who got wasted at school discos (what is cool about THAT?). This is proper cool and it’s the holy grail of Fringe experiences.

You can see Pappy’s Presents… The Secret Dudes Society at 23.55 at the Pleasance Dome on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th August

Punchline recommends Tom Binns: The Club Sets

23 Aug

Words by Iain McLaren

If you are looking for a show with a bit of everything then look no further than Tom Binns : The Club Sets. Opening with his unique psychic, Ian D Montfort, he gives us a comical and up-close insight into the spiritual world. You may not believe in psychics but you will believe in the comedy of Ian.

Next Tom returns as himself with a whole cast of family puppets with his new ventriloquism act. This new found skill is explored and presented to you with all the dedication we have come to expect from Tom.

Tom Binns

Finally he brings out the crowd favourite in the awkward and somewhat naïve Ivan Brackenbury with his array of ironic songs. This character never gets old as the audience’s eye-watering laughter shows.

This brilliant comedian and entertainer is constantly expanding his skills and bringing them to the stage to thrill and delight his audiences and this show is no exception. Go and see this genius at work!

You can see Tom Binns: The Club Sets at Assembly George Square Gardens at 12.40pm until 31 August

Punchline recommends Mae Martin: Us

10 Aug

Mae Martin 2015

Words by Suzy Romer

Mae Martin is an instant hit with the audience and creates an open, feel-good atmosphere right from the start. Her style of delivery is dreamy but her comedy is spot on. She talks to us about family dynamics, adolescent crushes and nights out. Sound familiar? WRONG, she is a complete original and as you listen, you can feel your brain becoming more supple as it stretches out from its habitual little pathways. There are some great moments in her stories of outrageous slapstick which have the audience laughing and wincing in equal measures. There are also plenty of “Meet the Fockers” moments of in-family taboo-busting. Oh my God, did she just say that? Yes, she did.

She was brought up in a family where gender behaviour and sexuality was never limited by narrow definitions. I like to think of myself as being pretty open-minded but I learned with Mae that I have a whole lot of casual prejudices about sexuality which I rarely bother to question because I don’t have to. Really, I mean, what have I been playing at?

The audience is amused and rapt by her more thought-provoking sections and once or twice she asks if we are with her. Yes! We’re thinking! I know comedians aim for belly laughs, but Mae is aiming higher than that and she is hitting the bull’s eye more often than she thinks. Her manner is searching, searching for understanding and recognition of ideas that are common sense of the most uncommon kind. If you want fearless, down-to-earth laughs and a fresh outlook, she’s the one to see.

You can see Mae Martin: Us at 21:15 in the Laughing Horse @ City Cafe until 30 August.

A 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Interview with Mat Reed

15 Jun

Words by Susan Ford

Mat Reed brings his first hour long show ‘Stalked’ to the Edinburgh Festival this year as part of Just the Tonic at The Mash House.

Mat Reed

Mat Reed

A natural performer, and a very funny man, Mat Reed pushes his story-telling skills to the forefront of his new show, as he relays the tale of four terrifying years of being stalked.  The stories will have you on the edge of your seat in fear, but also laughing heartily as Mat lightens the mood beautifully throughout his set with comedy.  As Mat prepares for a month in Edinburgh, I caught up with him to see how he is getting on.

Hello Mat, how are you?
I’m fine, as well as a comic can be mentally I suppose! You know – anxiety, crippling self doubt, fake persona to compensate real life shortcomings, the usual… I’m skint as how I am usually.

Are you excited about performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
I wasn’t, you know I felt like it was something you had to do really. But this year I feel I have an actual show, a solid hour of entertainment, and also it’s personal to me so I’m quite proud of it. That’s an exciting prospect.

How many times have you performed at the festival before?
I’ve done it all the way through once before with some lovely folk. It was a showcase show that I compered; I was on with my now best friend Benny boot, a brilliant Aussie comic, and Sarah Millican was on too. It was a lot of fun, and it was just having a gig every night as opposed to doing an hours show. And apart from Benny, I met some life long friends.

Without giving too much away, what is your 2015 show about?
Well, my show is titled ‘Stalked’, so there’s not much mystery as to the content. I had a horrendous four year long episode of being stalked and it was bizarre terrifying and crazy times ten plus a million, so I decided that I’d weave some good from a bad situation.

What can the Edinburgh audience expect from your show?.
Well I hope the laughs are plentiful because the drama and tension in this story do need balancing out. So far preview audiences have said they were on the edge of their seat a lot, then laughing, then tense again, so it’s a thrill ride I suppose, but one to enjoy.

What do your preparations for the Festival involve?
Saving, saving and a bit of crying about how much you could spend the money you’re spending on accommodation on other things, but mainly getting everything in order so it flows and there’s no lulls for an hour.

What does the Edinburgh Festival mean to you?
It means working towards doing the job I love, for a wider audience. Anything else is a bonus. I love, love comedy and couldn’t imagine not doing it. I go insane if I don’t gig for a week – I’m a mess and I haven’t had a holiday in 9 years!

Other than your show “Stalked”, will you be taking part in any other shows?
I hope to, yes. I have been signed up to a few by my agent who wants my name far and wide across the Edfringe board. I want to do as much as possible; it’s more or less a boot camp and I want to train my funny muscles.

What other acts do you recommend we catch during the festival?
My top recommendation is Gav Webster – always a class act. There’s loads of others – Funz and Games Tooz will be great, and my friends Rich Wilson, Eddie Brimson, Keith Carter and James Dowdeswell are always worth anyone’s time. But I’m also looking forward to doing Lee Kyles Hinge show, it’s hilarious.

Catch Mat Reed’s Stalked at Just the Tonic @ The Mash House Aug 4-17, 18-30.

Follow Mat on twitter @reed_mat

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