Tag Archives: free festival

Sketch Thieves

Sketch Thieves
13:00 – Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire (Venue 338) Aug 2-26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the start, this show was warm and welcoming. The entire room was attentive, expectant.

Love Hard
Tales From the Elsewhere 21:45 Laughing Horse @ Espionage (Venue 185) 2-26th Aug

The first sketch came from two familiar faces. They were none other than  the smashing chaps from Love Hard (Tales From The Elsewhere) and as you’d expect, the sketch they performed was a very well written piece, masterfully performed, quick witted with excellent word play and brilliant one liners. Quick and energetic, they really got the audience’s juices flowing.

Bad Clowns
Hostage: 16:30 Just The Tonic @ The Grassmarket Centre, just The Meeting Room (Venue 27) 18-26th Aug

Keeping the aforementioned juices going, a troop called Bad Clowns followed. With boundless energy and a slick performance, these three are smooth operators. The sketch they had prepared was silly, fun and very well written. They built suspense carefully, then crashed through it to a very satisfying end. Another strong performance to follow the first.

Lola & Jo
Focus Groupies: 16:00 Underbelly, Cowgate, Delhi Belly (Venue 61) 18-26th Aug

it was clear from the start that this was brilliantly written, and it was unusually performed. 4th wall? What 4th wall. A slow burning sketch that builds momentum and laughs through the writing and structure. The character work is pin point accurate and leaves you thinking of those people we know who are ‘exactly like that’. Highly enjoyable all round and easily a match for the first two.

Tina’s Leaving Party
Hot Young Things: 21:50 Just The Tonic @ Th Grassmarket Centre, Just The Meeting Room (Venue 27) 18-26th Aug

This is a lovely bit of business. True brilliance shines though here, as with the previous three acts. This is another demonstration of how timing, presentation and top notch writing comes together to produce something that really sticks with you. The subversion of expectation is masterful and the chemistry between the two is strong, leading to a fine honed performance.

4 excellent performances performing their own material but this show has only just begun.
Now, each group must present their interpretation of one of the other group’s sketch. So here’s what went down.

Love Hard as Lola & Jo

They really captured the sketch well and it got savage fast. The sketch went a slightly different way which was equally pleasing and brilliantly funny. Love Hard really captured the over sharing aspect of the sketch and extracted the urine magnificently. The crowd was waiting for it and they delivered, proving the excellent quick wittedness of the performers.

Bad Clowns as Tracy’s Leaving Party

Again, the friendly savagery showed early on and it was amazing. Bad Clowns looked like they had so much fun and so did the audience. I’m still laughing now as I type up this review. They captured the mannerism very well and the last sketch was incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing two men stuffed into one t-shirt one of whom is brushing the other’s teeth fairly violently. That much toothpaste in one mouth should be illegal.

Lola & Jo as Love Hard

The hilarity just keeps on coming with this performance. I loved the fact that they riffed Shakespeare word for word. It totally blew mw away. The mock energy and silliness was perfectly captured and the friendly rivalry was palpable. An incredible performance presented passionatly and tenderly while being side achingly funny. Awesome. Just awesome. These two really have a feel for spontaneity.

Tina’s Leaving Party as Bad Clowns

Seeing a sketch written for three performers but presented for two was unbelievable. The incredible thing was that it didn’t make a difference. Far from feeling sparse they filled the time they had expertly with superb inpersonations of the guys from Bad Clowns and fabulous sarcasm. At one point I couldn’t look at them because I was laughing so hard. These two are highly skilled and so on point. The audience loved it and so did the performers.

The standard of comedy from all was matched here and I feel very lucky to have seen this. You simply must see this show. It would be foolish not to.

 

Zahra Barri – Zahra Warrior (Not Princess): A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

Zahra moves on to the stage with the confidence of a warrior – she has never wanted to be a princess, despite what society has told her. This is a show about facing up to the stereotypes that women face in society, standing up to them and saying ‘no’. From the very start, Zahra has a strong confidence in her material and a great command of the room.

Her show takes in a whole host of topics – from growing up as a female in Saudi Arabia, to dating, the #MeToo movement and Repeal the 8th – there are plenty of hard-hitting moments in this show, and many dark jokes to go alongside them, but Barri has an instant charm that always makes the audience feel at ease, that this is a safe space in which to explore powerful concepts and ideas. Zahra also has plenty to say about the pitfalls of social media. There is a great structure to the narrative of this show, coupled with her self-assured delivery, brings a fantastic energy into the room.

Zahra is not a princess; this show proves she is a warrior of comedy.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Zahra Barri – Zahra Warrior (Not Princess)

Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, 1515

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 26th August

Phil Ellis is Ready For The Big Time

Phil Ellis is Ready For The Big Time
19:40 – Heroes @ The Hive (Venue 313)
Aug 2nd-26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phil Ellis has the most unique entrance to a show I’ve ever seen and I’m not telling you what it is. You’ll have to go and see for yourself.

Brilliantly executed and dripping with charisma, Ellis has a magnificent stage presence and handles the room masterfully. There is a lot of audience participation which is relaxed in nature, leading to some unexpected, hilarious outcomes adding more layers to an already exquisite show.

This performance is totally charming and completely peculiar, playing with different styles and conventions while utterly subverting expectations. It is also ram packed full of dark humour and pure genius.

If it were possible to give this 6 stars, I would. I’ve never seen anything quite like this and I very much hope I do so again.

Go and see it. It’s an absolute must see show. Don’t miss it. It’s one of the best experiences out there.

Stranger Friends

Stranger Friends
00:00 – Laughing Horse Free Festival @ The Bunker, Espionage (Venue 185) Aug 2-14th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Excellent and bizarre and with great audience participation, Nathan Eagle & Sunjai Arif work the room masterfully and bring to the performance boundless energy as wellas a healthy helping of the downright weird.
Although this is somewhat of a split show, Eagle & Arif have such excellent chemistry that it feels like one big show instead of the more formalised presentation most split shows have.

Eagle’s material is clearly fine honed, well written and very well performed. He owns the stage with proper, traditional comedy complete with brilliant anecdotes and strong punchlines which land and hit home with age groups in the audience.
His biting, fairly dark martial trips off the tongue and is delivered with an effortless charm that makes it impossible not to enjoy.

Arif is a tour de force. His manic, energetic style compliments Eagle’s more restrained performance perfectly and adds layer upon layer to the overall hilarity and enjoyment of the show. Arif’s interaction with the audience is nothing short of genius which leaves you slightly unable to believe what you’re seeing it and moreover, what you’re a part of, in the best possible way of course.

It’s clear to all that these two have so much fun doing what they do and it’s infectious.
I was in absolute fits of laughter.

These guys are amazing.

Gary G Knightley: Twat Out fo Hell

Gary G Knightley: Twat Out of Hell
11:35 @ City Cafe Aug 2-6, 8-20, 22-26th
Free Festival Laughing Horse

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This show is lively. Very lively. Quick witted with strong audience work, sharp observations and great stage presence Gary G Knightley commands the room and supplies some close to the knuckle, very funny material.

The show has good structure and is very well written and thought out. The pacing and timing come together to form a brilliantly funny performance for adults with a filthy sense of humour.

Knightley beings bags of charisma to the show with boundless confidence and some fairly unusual approaches to solving some of the world’s major problems.

If you’ve ever thought ‘I’,m going to hell for laughing at this’ not only is this the show for you but I’ll see you down there.

This is very much worth taking the time to see, just make sure you don’t take the kids or that reflective you have who’s easily offended. For me, this is top notch stuff.

Henry Cafe: Quiz Machine

Henry Cafe: Quiz Machine
18:30 @ Whistlebinkies (Venue158) Aug 5-10, 12-17, 19-24, 26th
PBH’s Free Fringe

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This show is exceptionally written and brilliantly performed. With a high but relaxed level of audience participation, a peculiar pub quiz unfolds complete with drama, suspense, and weird questions. Everything is spot on with this performance from stage presence to material, from delivery to framing, it’s just masterful. The way the jokes are built up paired with the timing and execution makes this the complete comedy package leaving the audience wanting more.

The crowd work itself is skillful and highly polished, allowing, the feel of a real pub quiz to  seep through the room. The narrative of the show is also so superbly shot though that everyone in the room is not only invested but leaves with the sense that they’ve seen and been a part something brilliant.

I couldn’t stop laughing and I urge you to do the same. Go and see this. It’d be silly not to.

Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones – 52 Days: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

The narrative that Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones is one of a year spent journalling his exploits on a pack of playing cards – 52 stories; one for every week of the year, with cards drawn at random and chosen by the audience is an innovative structure to a stand-up show.

The stories told will change from performance to performance, as is the nature of the structure; one the night I was in attendance, there were stories of drunken excess, new loves and heartbreak that spanned the globe from Australia to South America. There is a brutal honesty to the stories that are being told by Aidan, engaging with a great blend of easy charm. Sometimes, the stories pushed on the taboo, with tales of sex, but these are dealt with a sensitivity that never puts the audience on edge.

Aidan carries the structure of the show with a great energy that brings the audience along with him on his adventures, stepping in to the levity of situations while finding the darker side of things as well.

Aidan’s unique storytelling is never less the engrossing and he has a lot of tales to tell – 52, to be exact.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 2230

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 26th August