Russell Brand: Messiah Complex (4*)

Ruth’s 4* review:

Russell Brand is well known for being over the top.  An ex drug addict and sex addict.  I’ve read his autobiography My Booky Wook.  Silly, grandiose, unreliable, a bit much.

These days Russell is reformed, and his public image appears to be all about the critical analysis of social issues.  He conducts himself with a bit of class and his writing is beautiful and lyrical and eloquent.  His articles and some of his media clips get shared on Facebook a lot, and usually to a positive reception.

I’ve wondered if he might be a genius.  But I wouldn’t say I’m a fan as such in that I haven’t particularly followed his comedy, but I do find him so so interesting as a man.

From what I’ve seen of Russell on TV – particularly his early work – he is a real disruptive game changer in the field of comedy.

And that’s why I wanted to go and see him perform live.  As a comedy fan I thought it would be a shame if I never saw that.  So we bought tickets on the day to see him at the Usher Hall.  God our seats were crap.  Anyhoo.

Russell was, as expected, creative and articulate and charismatic.  His set was extremely coherent and well crafted, and wonderfully delivered.  He’s a fast talker and used big words and big concepts, and is not shy to quote the great philosophers.  No dumbing down here.  I like that.  He was also self-deprecating (albeit in an attention seeking manner) which I found to be quite charming.

Russell’s show had a point, and the point was delivered through a variety of methods from the satirical to the sly to the silly to the downright crude.  Things started off pretty intelligent and built up to an extremely vulgar finale, but none of it was superfluous it all contributed to the narrative.

And it was funny.

Liked it.

Ian’s 4* Review

2013-10-12 Russell Brand_0005Russell Brand was pretty good. He’s charismatic and clever, and the show was really well written – it felt coherent. A solid 4*.

I will NOT be sitting in the upper circle in the Usher Hall again in a hurry. The seats are tiny, close packed and uncomfortable. I scarcely fit in the darned thing.

On another note, this show was NOT age appropriate for a 13-year old.  Russell did try pointing this out to the lad and his parents…

2013-10-12 Russell Brand_0004












Stewart Lee: Much A-Stew About Nothing (4*)

Ruth’s review:

You know those wanky music snobs who only go to small intimate gigs of up-and-coming bands?  Well I’m a wanky comedy snob who only goes to small intimate gigs of up-and-coming comedians.  Usually.  But today I went to a proper comedy show at a large theatre that I had to pay more than £20 for.  To be fair I got more than two hours of material from a single comedian, so that is decent value.

Stewart Lee.  I like him, I’ve known of him for many years and seen him a few times at the Fringe.  Didn’t get in quick enough for tickets this year, hence I had to go and see his tour.  Stewart’s stuff is really not for everyone.  He isn’t a mainstream comedian because his stuff is a bit – well, weird – but his career has had longevity and he has a loyal following.

In this show we got four half hour sets from Stewart, plus an encore.

Each went down well with the audience (largely comprised of men in their late thirties).  I laughed a lot.

There’s something about Stewart Lee’s style and delivery that is totally unique.  It is calm and prepared and coherent and yet strangely repetitive and sardonic and odd.

But it is clever, clever, clever stuff.  Carefully woven, impeccably timed, and deeply satirical.

I like his stuff, but I really do love him.  I think I wish he was my fun uncle.  Or maybe I am developing a more ‘romantic’ interest.

The Lastminute Comedy Club @ Whistlebinkies

2013-08-25 Fringe 0011Ian’s Review:

Compere Paul B Edwards (pictured) was an energetic host for an hour of high-quality standup.  Danny Ward kicked off and warmed the room up nicely  – his National Express story rather tickled me.  Alex Edelman’s material overlapped a little with when we saw him at Richard Herrings podcast, but he did some different stuff too – also very funny.  Christian Schulte-Loh may not be welcome in Israel after an unfortunate misunderstanding concerning the Holocaust, but he’s welcome here any time.  Matt Price finished the show, quickly turning a slightly strange audience interaction into a near hostage situation!  His prepared material was funny, and his banter even better.

If this is the standard of show Paul is putting together, I’ll be back next year!


Ruth’s review:

We went along to this compilation show because we had a free hour and it was nearby, and it was excellent!  Four really good acts and we laughed and laughed throughout.  It was nice to see Alex Edelman again and his material varied to a certain extent from his set at Richard Herring’s Edinburgh Fringe Podcast, so that was a bonus.  Matt Price entertained us with some high quality spontaneous audience participation.  Very good.

Luke Toulson – I don’t know how I feel about my kids (4*)

Ruth’s 4* review:

We were drawn to come and see Luke because we liked his flyer which described him having to watch his kids in what he considered to be a totally racist amdram production of Miss Saigon. I thought this was a really good, solid hour of standup. It was varied and wide ranging in terms of material but at the same time well constructed and well delivered. Luke was likeable and consistently amusing.


2013-08-24 Fringe 0021Ian’s 4* review:

We saw a flyer for this show that was actually quite funny, so we decided to come along.  This is an enjoyable if fairly low-key autobiographical standup set.  It’s funny, clever, and in places painful – I don’t know if his schoolboy love letters were genuine or artfully recreated but in either case they were good fun!  Another name I’ll be looking out for next year.  If his kids haven’t lynched him by then!

Rosie Wilby – Is Monogamy Dead (4*)

Ruth’s 4* review:

Rosie Wilby explores the notion of monogamy and polygamy and everything in between, and poses the question ‘Is monogamy dead?’ This appealed to the sociologist in me, particularly as she’d done a survey to generate material of the show. Oooh I do love a survey. Rosie is charming, and interesting, and the set was coherent and confidently delivered with numerous witty and whimsical interludes. An extremely pleasant, interesting, engaging hour.

2013-08-24 Fringe 0019Ian’s 4* review:

I really enjoyed this show, loosely on based  the results of a survey on monogamy along with some observational humour based on Rosie’s life and a rather charming collection of whimsical diversions.  A very pleasant hour, I’ll be looking out for Rosie again next year.

(no photography in this show, so you get a picture of Ruth reading the flyer instead!)

The very best of… (at Banshee Labyrinth)

Ruth’s review:

We went to see this compilation standup show because it was in the right place at the right time, and it was quite a place held in a tiny cinema that’d I’d never been to before and must look out for.  Oooh but it was baking hot.  Urgh.  It was fine, I enjoyed it well enough.  The standard varied from alright to pretty good.  I liked the guy who cried about his girlfriend and the last guy whose name escapes me.

2013-08-23 Fringe 0002Ian’s Review

I’m not sure what this was the very best of, but the field must have had fairly slim pickings.  The compere didn’t really manage to get the crowd going, and some of the acts were pretty weak.  This wasn’t the show we expected to see (a last minute change of schedule I think) and I can’t find any trace of a running order online so I have no idea what the names of most of the acts were.  As they were generally unmemorable, that’s no great loss.

Milk the laughs (3.5*)

2013-08-20Ruth’s 3.5* review:

I’m sorry to say that the only reason we went to this show was because we tried to go to another one and it was cancelled so we went to the next one starting nearby. However I’m glad we went, it was a decent hour of straightforward standup. Well these three guys manfully played to a small crowd of about ten people, and did a tremendous job. They all seemed like such nice lads – adorable, charming, amusing. They all made me laugh out loud. They all had bits and pieces of material that I loved (blow jobs, Sylvia Plath, otters). I enjoyed the variety in their approaches too which made for a good package. Although I enjoyed it throughout, the middle guy (pictured) was my favourite. His slightly awkward delivery was well timed and hilarious.

2013-08-20 Fringe 0001Ian’s Review 3.5*

A really entertaining hour of comedy.  It felt a bit unpolished, but the combination of likeability, variety and raw talent carried it through.  A perfect Fringe comedy experience, and I’d be delighted to see Henry Perryment, Robbie Ormrod or Mike Hewitson again in the future.