Tag Archives: Free Fringe

Punchline Recommends Adam Hess: Feathers

20 Aug

Word by Ross Stark

Photograph of Adam HessAdam Hess gives his all in this fast paced, frantic but wonderfully funny hour.

Like a toddler high on Haribo, he runs down the aisle and leaps to the stage. The first 30 minutes are frantic, in fact the whole show is; so many stories, so little time. Without pause he rattles through his routine at lightening speed.

This is Hess’s style and he works it so well, knowing exactly what he’s doing as he blitzes through the first few jokes, barely leaving any time for laughter. When he does eventually pause there is an almighty roar as uncontrollable laughter sweeps throughout the room. Young to old, every single person seems to be in fits.

Hess is full of wonderful material, from interviews to dates, parents to school. All topics doing the the same thing; painting this wonderful picture of a socially awkward but hysterically funny guy. Hess is renowned for his great one liners and though he delivers plenty within this set they suddenly seem second best to these excellent anecdotes.

Genuinely one of the funniest shows I have seen this fringe. Adam Hess is highly recommended.

Catch Adam Hess: Feathers at 4.10pm at Heroes @ The Hive until 28 August

Punchline’s Top 10 Shows at the 2015 Fringe

4 Aug

Bridget Christie: A Book For Her

Bridget presents a wake-up show in every sense of the term. Grab your coffee and start your day with one of the brightest talents on the Fringe.

11am at the Stand. Info and tickets here

Nish Kumar: Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m so Clever

Nish IS very clever but don’t let that put you off. His material is bang up to date and he politely challenges your assumptions with unforgettable charm.

7.15pm at Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

Katherine Ryan: Kathbum

Punchline reckons this is your last chance to see Katherine before she hits the big time. This gal is going places so catch her while you can.

4.25pm at the Stand 3 & 4 (across the road and down from the main venue). Info and tickets here

Aisling Bea: Plan Bea

Have you seen her before? Probably. She’s on the TV more than you think. If you’re after a an hour of solid laughs and feel-good comedy, make Plan Bea your Plan A.

9.30pm at Gilded Balloon. Info and tickets here

Beasts: Live DVD

 young men who will make you shriek with laughter.  One of the best  legal highs this Fringe.

4.45pm at Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

The Pin: 10 Minutes with The Pin

This duo have earned their stripes over the last few years at the Fringe and this year it’s going to be a tiger of a show.

7.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

The Birthday Girls: Party Vibes

Another chance to see the show that makes any night feel like a Saturday night. Very funny. Very rude. High energy. Everything you want from a party. Lovely.

12.10am at the Pleasance Courtyard. Info here

Spencer Jones Presents: The Herbert in Proper Job

This man had the Machynlleth Comedy Festival audience in uproar and made the compere laugh so much he missed his cue. Now Spencer brings the show to Edinburgh to make you laugh like you did when you were a child. It’s so funny you might be sick.

9pm at Heroes @ The Hive. Info here

Lou Sanders: Excuse Me, You’re Sitting on my Penis, Again

This is literally a gift of a show. She’s one of the highlights of the free fringe so you will want to give her lots of money at the end. For an hour of silliness, borderline hysteria and stealth thought provocation, see Lou.

7.30pm at Laughing Horse @ City Cafe. Info here

Angela Barnes: Come As You Are

Comedy Nirvana (sorry, it had to be done) from someone who makes sharp, unpretentious comedy seem like the most natural thing in the world. Think of a cold beer just when you need it; that’s this show.

8.15 at Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets and info here

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 Birthday Girls: Party Vibes

10 Aug
Photograph of Birthday Girls

Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan & Beattie Edmondson are Birthday Girls

 Words by Suzy Romer

Every night is party night with the Birthday Girls. There is an illicit joy about attending their show, which takes place in a temporary venue with a bar and a fruit machine, but no toilets or backstage. The performers chat to the arriving audience as they set up. In a room like a disused warehouse, the three performers (Beattie Edmondson, Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan) prepare a sound system and a cool backdrop. Ready. Party Vibes is as exciting as a celebration in a speakeasy.

But these women don’t just speak easy; they say whatever they damn well please. They make you feel like you are taking part in a wild night out although they are supplying all the laughs, glamour and scandal. They drink, they brawl, they gamble and they dance. The choreographed numbers which run through the show make it impossible not to grin and whoop. The sketches are wide-ranging in their subject matter and occasionally go beyond your weirdest dreams. There is an outstanding parody of late night adverts for ladies’ bingo. The group list all the sugar and spice that good girls are supposed to be made of (high heels, chocolate, etc), whilst selling us a sticky old gambling habit. Reality TV-style diet shows and internet trolls also get the Birthday Girl treatment: slugged and nailed and smashed like snails, HA HAR!

What’s more, if rude, crude and fantastically good comedy isn’t enough, you’ll learn a thing or two as well. Ever wondered what to say at a wine tasting? Or how the logistics of a threesome work? Never fear. These lasses surf where angels fear to tread and the audience greets it all with shrieks and occasionally barks of delight.

The evening of Free Fringe prohibition-style pleasure ends appropriately with cash payment so it’s a case of no receipts and no regrets. You want to pay more at the end than you planned at the start! I leave on a high thinking it’s just as well we gals don’t behave like this all the time. Or is it?

You can catch Birthday Girls: Party Vibes at Cowgatehead every night at 10pm. They’re packing the place out so GET THERE EARLY. More information here

Birthday Girls

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!

Hennessy & Friends: An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview

20 Jul

Words By Susan Fordhennessy

After a short one year break, Hennessy and Friends are back for this year’s Fringe, and we’re delighted! Taking a gamble on a free show has never been easier – go and see Hennessy and Friends and you won’t be disappointed.  I caught up with Miranda, Dave and Steve to discuss this year’s Festival.

Hello Hennessy & Friends, how are you?
Dave: Very well thanks apart from the slow release panic attack I’m currently having in the lead up to Edinburgh.
Miranda: Man up Dave! We’re fine thank you – how are you?

Can you please introduce yourselves to our readers?
Dave: We are Miranda Hennessy, David Seymour and Steven Shapland: and together we are Hennessy & Friends- A 3 piece sketch group who do sketches and that.

Can you tell me a bit more about your act?
Dave: We peddle our delightfully screwy, slightly macabre brand of sketch nonsense on stage for you to watch with your eyes.

Are you excited about this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Dave: Very excited, It’s getting very close now… I can smell it and it’s all a bit damp.
Miranda: I think it’s going to be a good one! Hopefully this second time round we’ll be able to relax a bit more and enjoy it!

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
Dave: The usual sketch bullshit… set to a backdrop of our continuing in-fighting, petty squabbles and Steve’s untimely death.
Steve: What?
Miranda: Oh you gave the ending away, not even Steve knew that. I’m not sure I’d refer to our carefully crafted show as ‘sketch bullshit’… It’s definitely not about Fleetwood Mac though. Nor is it a reproduction in whole or part of any songs or recordings by said band or any of its members past or present.
Steve: What’s that about my death?

You took a break from the Fringe last year, what made you decide to come back?
Steve: They made me
Miranda: We took a break for a few reasons – we all had other individual things going on. Plus, Steve had a baby so he was pretty tied up doing that. Dave and I got a dog … We weren’t going to come this year either but we missed it and had lots of new ideas that we wanted to try out so we decided at the last minute to go. And have only regretted it a few times since.

What are the best things about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Dave: It’s a whirlwind of a month driven by laughs, alcohol and fast food, that’s the other reason we’re back.
Miranda: Performing every day, seeing lots of other shows and hanging out with your mates. It’s a bit like Uni…
Steve: Getting to spend a whole month with my two only friends, cook for them, clean for them, all the good stuff.

Have you been doing many previews for the Festival, and how have they been going?
Dave: We’ve been doing a few, We’re wary of doing too many, but I think they’ve been going ok… We’ve still got quite a bit of new stuff to put in, we’ve got two left…
Miranda: NOT ENOUGH! ARGH!
Steve: Yeah, we did one where we spilt blood and doughnuts everywhere and got told off by the management.

Other than previews, how do you prepare for a month in Edinburgh at the Festival?
Dave: I’m trying to lose a bit of weight before I go, so I don’t come back dangerously overweight, just enough for people to notice and comment on it behind my back.
Miranda: I’m going to try and not drink for a week beforehand.

Steve: Start adjusting my body clock to ‘Night Mode’ and practice living on no money…

What other shows do you recommend during the Fringe?
Dave: Definitely looking forward to seeing Clever Peter, David Elms’ show is looking great… and Adam Riches’ new show has got to be a must see, we gigged with him recently and some of the new material was utterly brilliant! Loads of others too, just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

Miranda: Definitely Clever Peter and Adam Riches.

Steve: The Steve and Dave show, but don’t tell Miranda…

Miranda: I’m right here.

Dave: Idiot.

Catch Hennessy & Friends show ‘Murmurs‘ at Venue 32 on the Cowgate at 7.30pm.

Tiernan Douieb: An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview

9 Jul

Words by Susan FordTiernan Douieb

Friend of Punchline and very funny man Tiernan Douieb is set this year to perform his first Fringe show since 2011: needless to say we are very excited for it! ‘Read Something’ will be a free event and will run from 13th – 23rd August.  As Tiernan previews his show, I caught up with him to discuss his feelings on Edinburgh 2014.

Hello Tiernan Douieb, how are you?
I’m great thank you, apart from hayfever which is horrible. I don’t know who the High Pollen Count is, but when I find him, I’m going to have words.

Where will people recognise your name from?
Randomly throwing their fingers around a keyboard probably. Or trying to search for shows by Tommy Tiernan and checking page 6 of his Google search.

You are not just a stand up comedian; can you tell us more about your writing and acting?
I primarily do stand up (for adults and kids) but I try to do acting and writing work when it pops up. Last year I did a few adverts and had a lovely bit part in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat which was a lot of fun. I’ve written for a few bits of children’s TV and regularly write blogs and articles for all sorts of bits. Currently I’m working on a children’s TV show with the brilliant Tim Fitzhigham so fingers crossed that happens.

We love ‘Partly Political Broadcast’, can you tell us more about what it is and what you set out to achieve with it?
I’ve been increasingly interested and irritated by politics as I’ve got older and as a result, it’s what I spend a lot of my stand-up talking about now. I think across the UK politics is in a very interesting and often quite easy to mock place. Yet there is nothing on TV that properly satirises it. We have the same old panel shows that are lightly topical and not much more. Andy Zaltzman’s and John Oliver’s The Bugle podcast is the best thing out there, but what we actually need is a British Daily Show. So myself and Ben Hilton decided to see if we could do our own online version. We’ve made 12 episodes now and while it’s been really well received, it’s hard to keep getting views for a weekly online show, so we’re having a break and plotting where to take it next….

How excited about performing at the Edinburgh 2014 Fringe are you?
I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t done the Fringe since 2011, apart from popping up for a few days last year, so it’s nice to know I’m coming back. I’m only doing half a run this year, and I’m already starting to wish I was there for the whole thing.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about this year?
It’s about how noisy the world is. It’s not as political as some of my material has been lately but it does focus on how a lot of people just shout out their opinions having not researched them or thought about it, and with no empathy for others. It’s also about spiders and Sigur Ros.

You have performed at the Fringe before, what have been your highlights?
Wow, that’s a hard question. There’s been so many after the years. Doing Political Animal with John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman hosting in 2011 was great, so was doing my Tom Waits impression at Karaoke Circus. There have been tons and tons of shows that were amazing too from most Kitson things to Transluner Paradise by Theatre Ad Infinitum which had me welling up for about a day afterwards. There’s always several things every year that count as highlights.

What do you expect your new Fringe highlight from 2014 will be?
Turning up halfway through full of energy when everyone else is already knackered! Hahah just kidding. Not sure yet, I’ll just wait and see when I get there.

Apart from your stand up show ‘Read Something’, will you be involved in any other shows during the Fringe?
I’m hosting Comedy Club 4 Kids (which I co-run) everyday that I’m up there. I’m not planning on doing too many other shows unless people ask me too. I wore myself out in 2011 by doing between 3-8 shows a day and I’m wary of ever doing that again. I mostly want to go see things this year if I can.

Who else do you recommend we see at this year’s Fringe?
So so many things. Mark Thomas’s new play, Chris Coltrane, Josie Long, Stuart Goldsmith, Nish Kumar, Nat Metcalfe, Tiff Stevenson, Simon Munnery, Foil, Arms & Hog, and many many more. Definitely go see at least 2-3 things you’ve never heard of and take a chance on them. You never know what brilliant things you’ll stumble on.

Tell me more about the sock puppets and foil hats…
Hahahaha someone’s been looking back through my old youtube vids and odd blogs. Foil hats are purely to defend yourself should you ever go and see Derren Brown live. It’s a necessity. He’s a mind witch. As for sock puppets. I worked on a children’s TV pilot teaching kids to express themselves using puppets, so I learned with the children how to make my own. As a result of my ever erratic brain I then spent some time creating characters like Zack De La Sock and Chris Sock because I really have too much time on my hands.

Tiernan’s Douieb’s show ‘Read Something’ will be on at 7.30pm at Beat from 13th – 23rd July. And it’s on the FREE FRINGE. More details here!

Punchline’s Free Fringe Recommendations!

24 Jul

Ivan Brackenbury

Words by Susan Ford

As a comedian or performer, the beauty of the Fringe Festival lies in its ‘anyone can take part’ policy.  The theory is, that as long as you have a venue willing to house your show, you can perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  This is the spirit very much at the heart of the Free Fringe, a vital part of the Fringe Festival that showcases comedians who perhaps wouldn’t have the opportunity were the festival still in the hands of the elitist.

Anyone will tell you to take a chance on the Free Fringe, and admittedly there is something wholly romantic about venturing through Edinburgh and unearthing the best new comedians.  However, let’s face it, the bohemian idea of allowing anyone to perform does not give much way for quality control.  I guess, what I’m saying is yes, take a plunge in to the unknown and discover your favourite new comedian, but take on our recommendations before you go exploring!

It’s also worthwhile to mention that the Free Fringe is not “free”! The performers and comedians have spent their own money on production, travel and accommodation already and rely on contributions from the audience to get by.  If you have enjoyed the show, be expected to show your gratitude with a donation, and please be respectful of this.

Now I’ve got my admin duties out the way, on with the recommendations…

Laughing Horse present a 60 minute joint show from one to watch Adam Hess and Chortle Student Comedy Award finalist David Elms. As part of super-sketch group Jigsaw, Nat Luurtsema performed regularly on BB3’s Live At the Electric: this year she presents her first solo show in three years also through Laughing Horse. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans’ (The Now Show, Radio 4) show has been described as “an interactive, digital, improv, atheist church service spectacular”, join them for their hour long joint set and see them live up to the hype.

Eric Lampaert

Also in association with Laughing Horse are Glenn Moore and Eric Lampaert.  Glenn Moore was So You Think You’re Funny 2012 finalist and Chortle Student Comedian 2011 runner-up, this year he invites friends to join him for his hour long show ‘Employees of the Month’. Eric Lampaert was a backing singer in Nick Helm’s band on Comedy Blap “I Fancy the Pants off of You”. Absurdist and energetic, Lampaert’s show is not to be missed.

PBH Free Fringe is bringing some great names to the Free Fringe festival. Luke Toulson is another comedian seen on Russell Howard’s Good News, and was nominated for a Perrier Comedy Award; his show is on in the beautiful Cabaret Voltaire throughout the festival. John-Luke Roberts is a comedian, writer and actor, and is bringing his new stand up show to PBH’s Free Fring this year.

Mark Stephenson has a plethora of comedy awards under his belt – Time Out’s One to Watch 2013, Chortle Best Newcomer nominee, Laughing Horse New Act of the Year, and Leicester Square New Act of the Year. His show ‘Half Man Half Amazing’ will prove how worthy he is of his awards collection. 2013 marks Jessica Fostekew‘s third solo show at the Fringe. In the last year Jess has performed on Stephen K Amos’ new BBC Radio 4 show , she’s appeared on BBC Breakfast (BBC1) four times and she has supported Micky Flanagan and Terry Alderton on tour accross the UK: don’t miss her Free Fringe show this year. Edinburgh Amuseum: Three’s A Crowd squeezes three up and coming comedians, all from Edinburgh, in to one show: Katia Kvinge, Eddie O’Dwyer and Rory Telfer perform.

Nathaniel Metcalfe  has been doing stand up since May 2007, and went through to the semi-finals of the So You Think You’re Funny? competition after only five gigs: his free show this year allows him to indulge in his minor obsessions. QI Elf and creator of BBC2s ‘The Museum of Curiosity’ Dan Schreiber, is quite possibly the coolest person in the world.  Or so he used to think: watch him explore many reasons why he perhaps isn’t, and I swear you will fall in love.

David Burke

The Beehive’s Scottish Comedy Festival is a great way to experience the Free Fringe.  Our recommendations for the Beehive are Ray Mearns ‘Waking Up Next To Myself’, Bob Graham ‘Animal Person’ and Pearse James and Martin Bearne ‘Comedy Has the Right to Children’.  After sell-out nights at last year’s festival, Robin Grainger and Gregor Wappler are back with ‘Applause 2: Breaking Gags’ and is a must see this year, with each show featuring a special guest host. For the Beehive’s full line up, visit www.scottishcomedyfestival.com.

David Burke has a real knack for storytelling, he can make any story hilarious and charming all at the same time, hence the name of his new show ‘Exciting Adventures of an Uninteresting Man’. For an absolute guarantee of a giggle, catch Punchline favourite Ivan Brackenbury, radio DJ and very funny character. See him at the Fringe, and then join us in October to see Ivan play at Punchline in both Edinburgh and Perth.

London is Funny Presents… is the alternative variety comedy show.  With the likes of previous performers Cardinal Burns and James Acaster, this show is a very valuable showcase of new talent. Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantastique is another great free variety show that invites guests to perform in an hour of fun.

We hope you have found our guide useful, and that you make the most of the Free Fringe when it visits us in August.  If you have any recommendations that you’d like to share with us, please do tweet us @punchlineuk.

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