Tag Archives: review

Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

As Sian Clarke is running late for the show, the audience is treated to an appearance by Strange Johnson, former Judas Preist roadie and current vape shop owner, launching his new book, memoirs of life on the road.

Johnson takes full advantage of his moment in the limelight, regaling the audience with extracts from his memoirs which touch the edges of self-indulgence. This is man who has spent a life working for those in the spotlight and almost does not know how to handle it when he is under its glare himself.

Jimmy Slim, as Johnson, brings an eclectic mix to the stage – physical and anecdotal comedy which pushes at the boundaries, challenging the concepts of what comedy can be. The material is well-crafted and delivered, a structure to the half which shows how carefully thought through every aspect is. The self-indulgence of Johnson is flipped on its head at the climax and everything slots together very well.

When Sian turns up for the show, there is a whole new energy on the stage, a dark, brooding energy which is unapologetically hard-line. This performance is about what it is still like to be a woman in today’s society, how toxic masculinity still needs to be stood up to.

The narrative is about how Sian was patronised by a man who came round to do some work on her house. The show is a response to this man, and to everyone that has ever harassed, cat-called, patronised a woman – a performance which takes the audience into some very sinister corners, causing a tension and an uncomfortableness which is a perfect reflection of the issues. The rhetoric which rumbles on very level of this show is a powerful one indeed.

This is a show that needs to be seen – there is a lot I did not want to reveal in this review as I did not want to take away from its impact. Just believe me on this – it needs to be seen.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted

Heroes @ The Hive, 1640

Part of the Heroes Festival (£5 advance, PWYW on the door)

9th – 26th August

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue – Cult Comics: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue present a split-hour of comedy for the geeks of Edinburgh, both performers dropping in more than a few niche references for fans of comics and sci-fi.

Gabriel takes to the stage first, with a good amount of energy and charm to welcome the audience into his world. His comedy is sharp, flipping the conventions of racism and appearance. Perhaps the highlight of this half hour is how he explains he is ‘Jehova’s Witness proof’. There are stories about how he was bullied growing up but Gabriel always presents a light-heartedness to his anecdotes. When Sam takes to the stage, there is a different energy – his is more laid back and presents a different perspective to the themes from the first half, looking at another side of racism and judging people by their appearances.

These are two comics that compliment each other’s  very well and offer a good message to the audience – always find the funny side of life and just try to enjoy yourself, which is very easy to do in this show with Gabriel and Sam.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue – Cult Comics

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 1415

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 26th August (except 13th)

Abbie Murphy – Eat Sleep Shit Shag: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

When Abbie Murphy  greets the audience in perhaps the most joyously flamboyant head-wear you could see at the Fringe, one might be forgiven for expecting a high-octane show. In perfect juxtapostion to the energy of her feathered adornment, Abbie’s performance has a great low-key rumbling to it, a conversational style that creates an intimate atmosphere between her and the audience.

Abbie brings an hour of comedy about getting older, the intrusiveness of technology in modern life and about her time working as a performer on a cruise ship. All the time, there is an undercurrent to these stories – a powerful tone of feminism upon which the narrative hangs. Abbie wonderfully flips the conventions that desperately need flipping with hard-line and jet black humour, not afraid to cut through the stereotypes with sharp teeth.

All the while, this is a show about always being who you are and chasing your dreams. Abbie has a tremendous talant for finding the sideways perspective, bringing a different view to some very important themes.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Abbie Murphy – Eat Sleep Shit Shag

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 1345

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 23th August

David Lee Morgan – The River Was a God: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

David Lee Morgan presents an hour of spoken word, a fantastic blend of poetry and soundscapes with a deeply atmospheric feel for the Americana – from the very beginning David’s performance has the ambience of an open-top car-ride against a burnt orange sunset.

This is an hour of poetry about bringing power to the powerless. These are poems about evolution and revolution, beautifully constructed for a balance of depth of imagery and pace of narrative, each one matched with music that adds new layers and sweeps the audience away with David as he explores these themes.

David is a very engaging performer, taking the time to put his messages across both with the poetry itself and in the spaces between. He has a great charm that makes this hard-hitting and risk-taking poetry a safe space in which reflection can take place.

David also performed excerpts from his other show, The Other Side of The Flood, the last performance of which is on 22nd August, at Banshee Labyrinth at 1620. For a great blend of of spoken word, soundscaping and musical theatre, both shows cannot be missed.

Written by Christopher Moriarty

David Lee Morgan – The River Was a God

Banshee Labyrinth, 1620

Part of PBH Free Fringe

4th – 26th August (except Wednesdays)

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

Isobel Rogers, Jen Wakefield & Kirsty Mann – WIP It: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

WIP It sees a rolling roster of Rogers, Wakefield and Mann presenting a half-and-half show of innovative, daring and touching comedy.  On the night in particular that I had the pleasure of this hour of comedy, it was Isobel and Jen taking to the stage, bringing a fantastic blend of character and musical comedy to the stage.

All three are members of the Soho Theatre Young Company and it is easy to see this in their sharp and professional delivery. Rogers presented excerpts from her show ‘Elsa’ (at the Pleasance Dome from 16th – 19th August). Not to give too much away about it, this was an absolutely engrossing and engaging narrative, story-telling of a very high order accompanied by extremely accomplished guitar-playing and singing. The detail and the characterisation in the story of Elsa were top-drawer and, were Bunbury still in Edinburgh, I would not be hesitating to see the full show to see how the whole tale unfolds.

For the second half, Jen Wakefield took to the stage for a music-laced half hour of a completely different variety. Jen talks with passion about a whole range of subjects, speaking from the heart about stereotypes and identities, flipping the conventions with a sharp wit and exceptional jokes. She also brings her years as a primary school teacher to the stage, as well as the cultural relevance of Drake and a fantastic grime tutorial.

For an excellent hour of comedy, this really cannot be missed. It should also be noted that my cousin was there too, and he loved it as well.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Isobel Rogers, Jen Wakefield and Kirsty Mann – WIP It

Southsider, 1900

Part of the PBH Free Fringe

4th – 25th August (Rogers 4th – 11th, Wakefield 4th – 25th, Mann 12th – 25th)

Louise Bastock and Liz Guterbock – Sparkle Deli: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

Welcome to the Sparkle Deli, where there are plenty of laughs on offer – a wholesale of silly and sinister laughs with a whole heap of sparkle thrown in.

Bastock and Guterbock are yours hosts at the deli, two comedians whose style and comedic themes compliment each other perfectly. This is a show in which Louise and Liz show how we view ourselves and each other through different lenses, trying to rectify the darkness that can be found which recovering from trauma and adversity – Bastock’s weight loss journey and Guterbock’s heartbreak. They have a great ability to bring the light side of these situations – which can often be bleak – and touching on the taboos of these topics while always leaving the audience assured that triumph is just around the corner.

While exploring these themes, Louise and Liz talk about subjects as varied as dating, self-image, tap-dancing, American chocolate and what it is like being an American in the UK. Their jokes have the ability to be cheeky and naughty but never over the line.

Get yourself over to the Sparkle Deli and check out what Bastock and Guterbock are serving up.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Louise Bastock and Liz Guterbock – Sparkle Deli

Southsider, 1745. Part of PBH Free Fringe

4th – 25th August (except 14th & 20th)

Conor Drum – …If: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

This year in at the Fringe, there have been a lot of innovative devices used upon which to hang the narrative of a show. Conor Drum’s is perhaps up there with the most innovative, presenting an hour of comedy around the demo-tape his fifteen-year-old self made with his band …If, which was found and reanalysed by his older self.

Conor brings a good amount of energy to the start of this show, urging the audience to come along with him on the journey of self-discovery and rediscovery. He has a sharp and surreal wit, able to cast sideways glances at all spectrums of social and popular consciousness – his analysis of the animals in Dublin Zoo was a particular highlight. He has a great ability to tell a story, with strong anecdotal comedy throughout.

This is a show about discovering your inner rocker and your inner self by a performer who is not afraid to show his most embarrassing moments – there are some cringe-worthy photos of his younger self he has offered up for laughs – which adds a nice layer of vulnerability to the show.

Underneath the comedy there is a strong message about always being true to yourself. If you do that, you can’t go wrong and that is exactly what Conor has done with this show.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Conor Drum – …If

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 1845

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 26th August

Rory O’Keeffe – The 37th Question: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

Rory O’Keeffe presents the story of Stuart and Zoe, two strangers who complete the psychological experiment the 36 Questions on their first date. This is a well-written story by a comedian and story-teller that has a great ability to draw the audience into the word he has created.

This is a story where the audience chooses the direction, the streets the narrative takes towards the end. Rory is a published writer – having written for the Love Island and X Factor choose-your-own adventure apps. He has brought the structure to a show that has a depth to its subject matter – a story about falling in love, how secrets can spread through a relationship, about keeping relationships together. Rory has a keen eye for detail while painting vivid imagery that helps bring the story alive. The characters are fully-formed and believable, helping in their formation by the use of recordings of their first date, laying a dual past-and-present narrative, which turns according to the decisions the audience make.

The story poses the idea of the 37th Question, moving along at a pace that is never broken as it swaps from then to now. What will the 37th Question be? The audience is never anythigngless than gripped as Rory weaves his words.

Rory is certainly an engaging performer that can craft a thought-provoking story and engage his audience in a funny and charming way.

Written by Christopher Moriarty

Rory O’Keeffe – The 37th Question

Banshee Labyrinth, 1320.

Part of The PBH Free Fringe

4th – 26th August

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