Tag Archives: Punchline recommends

Punchline Recommends:  “Help Us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope”

11 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Punchline recommends joining Tom Toal as part of the Free Fringe, as he saves the whole of Edinburgh with his new show ‘Help us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope’.  Tom Toal captivates his audience with a unique brand of narrative comedy, that is as delightful to listen to as it is superbly funny.

It would usually be unprofessional to mention a venue as part of a comedian’s set, but Ciao Roma is one of the nicest places to spend an hour of your Fringe, and a lovely setting for an excellent comedy show. Tom Toal’s new show is well-written, and jam-packed with jokes and stories from his life. Tom is charming with the audience, not just saving them from the inevitable end of Edinburgh, but entertaining them completely with his words.

Tom Toal is no stranger to the Edinburgh Festival (this year is his 3rd full solo show), but 2016 proves to portray Tom at his absolute best. Tom’s set has been magnificenly weaved into a fantastic hour of comedy, and with it being part of the free fringe, I genuinely can’t see why you wouldn’t go and see this beauty of a performance. Tom Toal performs ‘Help Us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope‘ at Ciao Roma every day during the fringe at 16.35.

Punchline Recommends: Tom Toal ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath’

25 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Tom Toal is a real feel-good, super-lovely comedian, and it’s completely impossible not to enjoy an hour in his company. This year Tom Toal returns to the Edinburgh Festival for his second full show ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath’ at Pleasance Courtyard, and I strongly recommend taking the time to watch him now.
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Tom Toal’s set is a story, a heartwarming narrative about all the good and challenging things in his life. From raising his baby daughter to leaving/returning to his hometown of Bexleyheath, Tom questions and reviews his younger self and how much he has changed since making his original plans. Tom Toal always delivers a good story, and his words are completely infectious the more he travels through the tales.

Catch Tom Toal ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath‘ at Pleasance Courtyard 20.30 throughout the Fringe.

Punchline Recommends: Nish Kumar ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever’

25 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Nish Kumar is a truly brilliant comedian, and he is showing Fringe audiences just how good he is with his new show ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever’. As a self-confessed left-wing comedian, Nish covers some very big issues, and he covers them well, bringing humour to personal and pertinent topics.
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Nish Kumar’s show title may throw you off course, dumming down just how clever Nish is for a good laugh. However, Nish really is the smartest man on stage at this year’s Fringe, expertly weaving jokes and pure comedic gold in to his well thought out narrative. Nish puts his points across strongly, but more importantly, keeps the audience continuously laughing from the second he is on stage, to the second he leaves.

Catch Nish Kumar ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever‘ at Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs at 19.15.

Chris Turner: An EdFringe 2015 Interview

17 Jul

Words by Susan Ford

Chris Turner recently gained recognition as runner up at the English Comedian of the Year Awards last month, and also during last year’s Fringe when he won Amused Moose Laughter Award’s Best Show (People’s Champion), and The Arts Desk’s Best Comedy of 2014. Chris Turner is not only a very witty and unique joke-writer, but is also a rapper, musician, actor and extremely clever young man who is preparing to take on 3 big performances at this year’s Fringe. I caught up with Chris recently to see how he plans to cope with being one of the busiest men at the festival.
image Hello Chris, how are you?
Hi! I’m rather relaxed, thank you – it’s a sunny day, I’ve not got a gig to drive off to, someone just bought 8 tickets to my Fringe show on Black Wednesday, and I’ve found some tapestries that I want on my office wall.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
I’m always excited about Edinburgh. I’m incredibly proud of my shows, and lucky to be performing and living with my best friends for the fifth year in a row.

What have you been doing since last year’s Festival?
Overall, writing a new hour of stand up, which has been simultaneously terrifying and electrifying. Chronologically: relaxing, Christmas shopping, Christmas gigs, busking in New Zealand, applying aftersun, telling jokes in Australia, slogging it out on the circuit, previewing the new show.

imageTell us about all the shows you are involved with/performing at the Festival?
‘Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised’ is an hour of family friendly long-form improv with my best mates (though we go under the name Racing Minds). Each year we’ve stepped up to larger and larger venues, and this time we’re in the Pleasance Queen Dome, which as far as improv goes, is one of the best rooms on the Fringe.

‘AAA Batteries (Not Included)’ is a three hander stand up show that’s suitable for kids, though aimed at adults. I started it in 2011 with Liam Williams and Adam Hess, and since then David Elms, Jon Bennett and Daniel Roberts have variously made up two thirds of the trio. It’s free, and is becoming a bit of an institution with families – we’ve had to turn people away for every show for the last three years. This year I can’t say who the other two are, because they’re too funny, so you’ll have to come and see.

‘Chris Turner: XXV’ is my second stand up show, and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. I performed it at the Perth Fringe in February, where it was nominated for Best Comedy, and since then it’s got so much funnier. It’s about being told I had 10 years left to live, which is an utter goldmine of jokes. I rap my little socks off in it.

What preparations are in place for you to be the busiest man at the Fringe this year?
The usual tricks of lemon & ginger tea, VocalZones, and blood sacrifices/mousetraps in the kitchen. My stand up and improv are unamplified, so it’ll be interesting to see how long I can go before resorting to microphones and claiming if I’m less funny without both hands free. Last year I didn’t drink for the month which allowed me to keep my voice but did diminish the opportunities for reckless fun. This year I’ll trade that for a slightly hoarse final week.

Do you prefer performing solo shows or as part of a team?
They won’t read this, so I can answer honestly – team shows, because it’s different every day, and if I’m not funny, they will be and the show’s still good. If I’m not funny in my solo show then it’s all on me, and I take that pretty hard.

imageHow many years have you performed in Edinburgh, and what does the Festival mean to you?
It’s my ninth Fringe, and after my first one, 16 year old me said ‘I don’t see why I’d ever not be here in August’. It was a combination of messed-up shows I attended, underage drinking, and the fact that I could eat haggis suppers every night without parental supervision. I’m doing my best to prove my youthful self right, and I still believe that the Fringe is one of the most important things in my development as a comedian.

What’s the best audience reaction that you have experienced whilst performing at the Edinburgh Fringe? How important is audience interaction to your show?
There’s a lot of audience input for my freestyles – please come prepared with the most challenging words and topic you can think of – my favourite suggestions from last year were 9th Century Crop Rotation and Afghani Irrigation Ditches. I like the crowd at Spank! – you drop a good freestyle there and they’ll let you know how they feel about it. I step off stage feeling more Rockstar than Comedian.

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
This is going to be incredibly incestuous, but they’re all very funny:
Asp – Daniel Roberts
Foolball – Tom Skelton
Möglich – Douglas Walker
Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes – Ghostwriters
And this one will probably be the best show up there, from the funniest person:
Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby

AAA Batteries (Not Included) is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), 15:25 Aug 6-17, 19-29
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised is on at Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) 12:00
Chris Turner: XXV is on at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) at 21.45

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

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: James Acaster ‘Recognise’

12 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

James Acaster

James Acaster

Twice-nominated for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award, James Acaster is back again this year with another magnificent show. James Acaster is so good at writing comedy, it’s easy to get wrapped up in his whimsical storylines as if it’s real life. In fact, his make-believe life is so intriguing, it would be a much better place to exist in James’ world than my own.

James Acaster landscapes tales of an occupation he never had with such conviction, it leaves the audience hanging on to every word in awe. The other themes and topics may be basic at first sight, but the way James weaves and moulds them in to a show is something really quite special. Adopting one theme, dropping related anecdotes periodically and twisting the idea to its most hilarious potential, is Acaster’s trademark style, and no one could do it half as well as him.

It’s hard to give you a round up of what ‘Recognise’ is about, but that is James’ secret ingredient to a good Fringe show. His shows are selling out most nights, so I strongly recommend looking for a ticket now!

James Acaster performs ‘Recognise‘ at Pleasance Canaret Bar at 8pm.

An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview with Nish Kumar

12 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Nish Kumar

Nish Kumar

The festival is still going strong, and I’ve had the delightful opportunity to speak to some of my favourite comedians for Punchline. Today I’m with Nish Kumar, the “veteran underdog” of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Hello Nish Kumar how are you?
Pretty good thanks friend – how are you? (Bit cold but in love with the Fringe – SF)

Are you enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Yeah it’s been pretty fun. I’m eating a lot of noodles. Is that weird? (Who doesn’t love noodles? – SF)

Is this your first time at the Festival?
Nope – it’s actually my ninth consecutive year here. They call me the “veteran underdog”.

What have been your highlights so far?
The noodles have been pretty great. Also David Trent has been constantly photographing my every move on his twitter feed.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
Opinions – how they are formed and how we express them. It does have jokes in it though.

What have the audience reactions been like so far?
Pretty good. I’m expecting a terrible one any day now.

What other shows do you recommend this year?
Nat Metcalfe, Tom Neenan, Stu Goldsmith, David Trent and Massive Dad.

See Nish Kumar’s act ‘Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity’ at the Edinburgh Festival, 7.15pm in Pleasance Courtyard (Beside) until 24th August. Buy tickets here

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