Tag Archives: Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Punchline recommends Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

23 Aug
Photograph of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Words by Suzy Romer

Harvey, Garvey and Kane are a smart sketch group who allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. It’s always nice to see three chaps take to the stage in suits but these men can become anyone and anything with no costume changes and virtually no props.

We are taken through a range of sketches with seamless style. A little boy asks his mummy and daddy what sex is and the answer goes far beyond the comic possibilities explored by anyone I’ve seen before. A deliciously silly press launch with a grown-up boy band neatly exposes the less media-friendly aspects of reunion after twenty years. Amid the virtuosity of the performances we get a really generous dose of classic material, the stuff we quote at each other long after the show.

In an age where the boundaries between genres are constantly being poked and prodded, it’s immensely reassuring to be entertained by a group who can follow the great old traditions with freshness and vigour. There is a caper ability about these guys that will see them go far. That’s pure sketch, that is.

Catch the last performance of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane at 4.55pm at the Underbelly (Bristo Square) on Sunday 24th August. Buy tickets here

Photograph of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Punchline recommends Ian D Montfort’s Midday Séance

23 Aug
Photograph of Ian D Montfort

Ian D Montfort

Words by Suzy Romer

Here’s some unusual advice for a comedy show: when you go to see Ian D Montfort, try to sit near the front. This comic creation is a walking, talking spectacle in himself, to the extent that it’s difficult to believe he’s not real. Every smirk, grimace, raised eyebrow and self-conscious flick of the hair is crafted to perfection by the performer Tom Binns.

Ian presents himself to us as a middling to successful clairvoyant and mind reader but Tom provides us with a first-rate collection of conjuring tricks. Ian himself points out that Fringe budgets are simply not high enough for the technology required to cheat. How does he do it? In fact you stop asking yourself because you are too busy laughing at the secrets of audience members which are revealed periodically through the show. Ian reveals a tip-top selection of the sauciest secrets in tones of teasing concern with eyes that sparkle with mischief. He also nominates a sceptic who – entirely coincidentally – has a dark future ahead of him, predicted by our charming and calculating host.

This genuine charlatan is a delightful cure for anyone exasperated (or fascinated) by the “real” thing and he outperforms the competition at every level.

You can catch Ian D Montfort’s last séance of the Fringe at midday on Sunday 24th August at Bob’s Bookshop. More info here

Punchline Recommends: Lucy Beaumont ‘We Can Twerk it Out’

22 Aug
Photograph of Lucy Beaumont

Lucy Beaumont

Words by Suzy Romer

Lucy Beaumont opens her show by kindly introducing us to her Hull accent, but you know what? She had us at “hullo”. Right from the start, we find ourselves in a conversational relationship where we are literally expected to say yes and no, and we thoroughly enjoy doing so.

This is her first full-length show at the Fringe but you wouldn’t know it. She glows as she tells us about her experiences, observations and ideas. Her friend Jackie is having difficulty meeting the right man and the stories about her are a perfect balance of poignancy and twinkling cheekiness. Lucy’s mum worries about her safety when she is out alone and comes up with a highly original way to fend off potential attackers. Lucy Beaumont’s world is very real, yet every cloud has a comic lining.

For the duration of the show we are gently lifted out of our own existence and forget ourselves. Lucy Beaumont is warm and wry and enjoys springing an occasional surprise on her captivated audience. I leave the venue having already adopted her lilting “I know…” when I agree with something. She may still be taking off but she is going to be one high flier in comedy and she leaves diamonds in her wake.

Lucy Beaumont is at Pleasance Courtyard at 5.45pm until Sunday if you can get your hands on a ticket. But of course you will have if you took our Top 10 recommendations at the start of the fringe!

Punchline Recommends: Tom Toal ‘In Prequel’

13 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Tom Toal

Tom Toal

Tom Toal performed at the Fringe last year as one quarter of the famous Comedy Reserve, but is back at the festival this year with a full hour to himself. And it’s the best thing TT could have done, as he has written a beautiful, heart-warming, and very funny show.

‘In Prequel’ is certainly the best way to describe Tom Toal’s show; the set is a narrative of all the big events that have built up to biggest life-changing happening in Tom’s own life. Tom incorporates the funniest tales of childhood, growing up, and family events that have shaped him into the man he is today. His big finale story, is clearly one he is most passionate about, and he tells it with enthusiasm and charm that keeps you hanging on to every word.

Tom Toal is a master of story-telling, but he is also a very funny comedian. He makes call backs throughout the show to previous events, linking every part of his story with fantastic jokes. With just the right amount of audience participation thrown in, Tom makes you feel comfortable as well as entertained too.

Tom Toal is performing as part of the Free Fringe at Cabaret Voltaire. It is an afternoon show, in a lovely big venue, so can be a treat for the whole family. Catch ‘In Prequel‘ throughout the Fringe at 14.30.

Punchline Recommends Carl Donnelly: Now That’s What I Carl Donnelly Vol.6

11 Aug Photograph of Carl Donnelly
Photograph of Carl Donnelly

Carl Donnelly

Words by Suzy Romer

By the time Carl Donnelly formally introduces himself to the audience, he’s already made friends with us. His relaxed style and lack of pretension make him an instant hit.

This is no mean feat because Carl has had a difficult year. He talks candidly about separation from his wife and coming off anti-depressants but never burdens the audience with his angst. Instead, he takes us through the hilarious stories of how he’s recovered his appetite for life. Many of these stories have a “You had to NOT be there” condition and cause ripples of laughter that tip back and forth across the room. His up-for-anything attitude gets him into one scrape after another but here he is to tell the tale, with his sharp outfit and self-proclaimed expensive haircut. The overriding thrust of his stories is that boys just wanna have fun, especially naughty ones, but then it’s so much better when he tells it…

When he suddenly announces it’s time to wrap up the show, it comes a bit of a shock. We’ve got to know him a little, caught up on recent stuff, but our time’s up so it’s goodbye until next time. It’s like meeting up with an old friend after a long time apart. It’s rare to find a comedian so warm and easy-going – nice one, Carl.

Catch Carl Donnelly at 8.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Buy tickets here

The Punchline Guide to the 2014 Free Fringe

1 Aug

Free ComedyWith so much on offer at the Edinburgh Fringe, it can be easy to spend a fortune on booking tickets to see your favourite comedians. But the Edinburgh Fringe doesn’t have to be a huge expense; you can still see the pick of the Festival without having to fork out so much money. The Free Fringe is something Punchline greatly supports: here is our highly anticipated guide to free shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2014. Earlier this month we spoke to Tiernan Dioueb, and Tom Toal, two acts we definitely recommend you catch this year. Tom Toal’s comedic storytelling show is at Cabaret Voltaire at 2.35pm, and you can watch Tiernan Douieb delight audiences in Beat, Cowgate at 7.30pm from 13th August. We’re particularly excited about Ellie White, whose show is at 2.30pm at Viva Mexico.

Photograph of Birthday Girls

Birthday Girls in “Party Vibes”, 10pm at Cowgatehead throughout August

If sketch comedy is right up your street, we recommend the awesome Birthday GirlsHennessy and Friends, Casual ViolenceClever Peter and The Grandees, all performing free shows during the Fringe. You might know Birthday Girls as half of Lady Garden, and you can catch them every night at 10pm in Cowgatehead. Casual Violence, Clever Peter and The Grandees will perform a ticketed show as well as a free show; catch ‘Om Nom Nom Nominous’ by Casual Violence in Voodoo Rooms as part of the Free Fringe, Clever Peter’s ‘Free for All’ at Laughing Horse @ City Café at 4.15pm, and The Grandees (a weird and wonderful trio) in ‘A Creepshow’ at Heroes @ The Hive.  Hennessy and Friends are not to be missed in Venue 32, Cowgatehead at 7.30pm throughout the Fringe. Also check out In Cahoots at St Johns at 6.15pm.

Joel Dommett in "Finding Emo"

Joel Dommet in “Finding Emo”, 9pm at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House throughout August

For TV famous names at small prices, we recommend these famous faces at the Free Fringe.  Joel Dommett (BBC 3 Practical Jokers), Brendon Burns (C4 Stand Up for the Week), Mae Martin (Russell Howard’s Good News), Fern Brady (8 Out of 10 Cats) will all be involved in free shows during the Festival.

Last year, John Kearns won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer Award for his free show ‘Sight gags for Perverts’. He is back this year with another free show, ‘Shtick’, which given last year’s award, is bound to be a continuously busy affair.  Also 2013 Newcomer runner up Liam Williams will be performing as part of the Free Fringe, another event which is bound to be tipped hotly given his nomination last year. Jenny Bede won last year’s Musical Comedy Awards Best Newcomer, and this year she is here with the show Bren and Jenny.

Taking a chance on a free show is always daunting, but it is also one of the most exciting aspects of the Fringe. If you don’t want to jump in completely blindfolded, we recommend you take your chance on Lou Sanders, Chris Boyd (from Nick Helm & The Helmettes fame), Ben Target, and Jojo SutherlandDave Griffiths is one of our Top 10 recommendations for this year, with an amazing story of taking on the Big Boys.

For a glimpse behind the comedy scenes, you can investigate Comedy Death and Comedian’s Comedian. If neuroscience and rap are your thing, Off the Top is your ideal show!

If you are less keen to take a complete risk on a free show, we can recommend some very popular and highly acclaimed Fringe acts that have received praise for previous years’ performances: Adam HessDan CookLukeToulson and Eric Lampaert.

For the Free Show enthusiasts who have taken on board our guide and want to see more, here are some extra free performers that we think will put a laugh in your belly: Cariad and Louise’s Character HourStuart Mitchell, Chris Coltrane, Kieran Hodgson, Jenny Collier, Feminism for Chaps, Spencer Brown, Adam Belbin (Laughing Horse New Act of the Year Winner 2011), Ahir Shah (Best Show at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival), Candi Gigi (Hackney New Act of the Year finalist 2014), Half Baked (Winners of the Funny Women Awards 2013), Harriet Kemsley (Winner of Funny’s Funny and Bath New Act of the Year), Kat and Jon Appeal (As seen on Kerry Howard’s BBC Comedy Feeds and Doctor Brown’s Blaps), Nicky Wilkinson (Finalist New Act of the Year 2013, and finalist So You Think You’re Funny 2013), and Tom O’Mahoney.

Now, a word of warning, although the shows are Free to get in, there is a donation-in-a-bucket system at the end. If you love a show, remember you’d be paying £10-£15 elsewhere so let the performers know you loved them by putting a little (or big) something in the bucket at the end.

Have we missed anything wonderful on the Free Fringe? Let us know!

Punchline Recommends: Beasts – Solo

31 Jul


Words by Suzy Romer

High-octane isn’t normally an expression used to describe a comedy sketch show but this year’s Beasts is a real adrenaline rush of wild things. It’s got sex, it’s got violence, and it’s got magic which is as good and bad as it gets. Directed by Tom Parry from Pappy’s, you can feel the energy, whimsy and good will that he brings to the production, but these guys are forging ahead with a style of their own.

The show is built upon my favourite sketch scenario of simmering tensions, rivalry and grumpiness between the performers. They begin with a sketch so simple it is like a melody picked out on the piano with one hand. The show gradually develops to symphonic effect and really, it’s unbelievable that three men can fill this compact performing space with such grandiose daftness. You find yourself sucked into their world of ambition, nostalgia and lightly bruised egos as they jostle for the position of top dog. There’s more than one surprise along the way; prepare to squawk.

This was one hell of a show to start my Fringe and I’m tempted to see it again as a finale. There’s nothing fledgling about this group. This is sketch comedy as it’s supposed to be and it brought the house down.

Catch Beasts – Solo at 4.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August. Buy tickets here

Photograph of BEASTS

Director Tom Parry with BEASTS: James McNicholas, Owen Roberts, and Ciarán Dowd

Tom Toal: An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview

21 Jul

Words by Susan Fordtom toal

Tom Toal has performed previously at Fringe alongside Ian Smith, and most recently last year, as part of the famous Comedy Reserve. This year welcomes a full hour of stand up from Tom with his show ‘Tom Toal in Prequel’. After catching snippets of his preview, we are really looking forward to his performance this year, and caught up with him to discuss.

Hello Tom Toal how are you?
Very well thank you, just got indoors before the rain started so that’s always gonna put a smile on your face.

How excited about performing at the Edinburgh 2014 Fringe are you?
I’m very excited, Edinburgh is what you gear towards all year round, cannot wait to be up there.

Last year you were part of the famous Comedy Reserve, but this year you are going solo, how does it feel?
It’s certainly lonelier, if we ever got plaudits last year we shared it as we did with criticism. This year gotta have some big shoulders to take onboard such things.

How does performing for a full hour yourself compare to teaming up with other comedians with a shorter set?
With an hour you have so much more time to explain more of your themes and make it a bit more theatre, with a shorter set it’s more focused on how funnier you can be before your time is up.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
There is a twist at the end where you find something out about me, but I’ll not give that away. It’s about how life comes full circle, and all the things we learn through childhood and adolescence prepare us for when life truly kicks in.

Have you been doing many previews and are they going well?
They have been going well, had one where I stank the room up but it made me work so much harder and ended up being a blessing in disguise.

What is the best thing about the Edinburgh Festival for you?
For the whole month I can concentrate on working towards being the best stand up I can be, and the feeling of improvement at the end of every festival.

Who else do you recommend to see this year
Ian Smith, Rhys James, Joe Wells, Fin Taylor, Sean McLoughlin, Mat Ewins, John Hastings, Nish Kumar, James Acaster, Lucy Beaumont.

Catch Tom Toal’s show ‘In Prequel‘ at 2.35pm at Cabaret Voltaire throughout the festival.

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