21 August 2008
As for the newcomer award, they have gone one further and reduced it to only three nominees. Sarah Millican has been a strong candidate for sometime (but her remaining run has been sold out for quite a while with no additional shows in sight so I can't add my personal approval) and although Mike Wozniak is an unknown quantity (until Sunday again), it seems inevitable that Sarah will get it. I think they decide to avoid controversy on the night and simply not nominate the excellent Josh Howie for his bold set which confused and upset many. It's therefore easier to placate the mainstream and go with the more acceptable choice. That's fine if she's genuinely the best but why deprive Josh (and one other based on history) with the honour of having his debut show recognised forever.
18 August 2008
10 August 2008
9 August 2008
Okay, first off, my expectations were dampened in advance by a conversation I had with Kate Copstick where she was highly critical of Reg, despite being a self-confessed massive fan of his, and felt he was coasting (especially as he is only playing a limited run). The second thing that really knocked my expectations was Reg's new hairstyle. Gone are the cool dreadlocks and instead he has bobble in his hair and (according to his opening gag) looks like a twelve year old girl. The third nagging thing became quickly apparent as he walked a limited amount around the stage and only played to the central section, ignoring the wings (although to be fair I was in the centre having already heard this rumour). Not the best start but on with the laughs! Erm, not quite. He tried to shock a few people who hadn't seen him before with strong surprise ends to his gags but there is nothing funny about swearing at the end of a half decent set-up when you have the talent like Reg has. His call backs were weak, mainly because they revolve around something he thought was edgy and going to shock but no-one really cared or was surprised. The big finale was the only call back to get a decent laugh and certainly wasn't big enough to end the show on a high. He did however make an interesting point about Americans longing for a superhero to come and save them but Jon Stewart, amongst others, made that point a few months back. Was he coasting and has he lost the hunger as he approaches 40? Yes, sadly he has - just like he has lost the edgy titles to his shows too. I suggest he renames this show "No Comedy From Old Men". The curse of the Grand continues, much like the curse of the Music Hall - you know who I am talking about Rich Hall, Adam Hills (despite his fun ending) and especially the WMD size bomb that was the heavily drugged Dara O'Briain. Disappointingly 7 out of 10 - everyone knows you can do better when you have the hunger.
8 August 2008
[Just to fill you in a few years ago we waited for over an hour for Lucy Porter to finally start due to over-runs and we wished we hadn't. No jokes in her set, just a friendly woman smiling at you and saying how everything was nice and cute - 4 out of 10. Frightening off women for a year it was two years later when we watched Sarah Kendall return to Edinburgh with her stand-up show and the only two funny jokes came in the first and last five minutes respectively, the rest being run-of-the-mill stand-up (a generous 7 out of 10 for actually having two funny jokes in). The following year we give Best Newcomer Josie Long the benefit of the doubt, but all we got was an hour of the daughter every mother wants. Whilst she may be best friends with Lawrence Leung, his comic abilities are clearly not rubbing off on her - 6 out of 10]
So, not exactly his standards for Fiona to match. The first thing that her poster does not convey is that Fiona's performance is that of her (pretending to be?) drunk. She giggles and enjoys herself as if she is sloshed 24/7. Once I came to terms with that and got to grasps with her background, things started to flow. Her stories are engaging with a mix of chuckles and occasional belly laughs (and even an unforgettable gag about IVF children). She talks about life in the middle of the Australian Desert (Alice Springs), the Queen, her children and her relatives. She is entertaining and this year's show is a journey into herself and what led to a nervous breakdown. Some segments are therefore bereft of laughs but you still want to hear her stories and get closure on the incidents. I think she probably will be more out of the older female demographic, much like Josie Long. That said she is the best female stand-up I've seen (make sure the read the qualification above!) but she doesn't have enough in her show to grab an 8 (maybe a slightly faster pace would help), so it's an enjoyable 7 out of 10.
7 August 2008
4 August 2008
10 out of 10 - another work of art, back-to-back brilliance and if he doesn't get a nomination and win the top award, the IF.com Eddie ... we riot!
They are good, but not brilliant and as such get 7 out of 10 (but if you've never seen any sketch group before, they are probably the best around this year).
3 August 2008
9 out of 10 but clearly has the potential to deliver a 10.
10 out of 10 - arrive very early and sit right in the middle of the front row for the best experience!
Update: I was chatting with Kate Copstick later in the evening regarding a few shows and whilst she hadn't seen this she was fully aware of everyone talking about it. Prior to that I also had five minutes with Sammy who showed us the great efforts they had to go to to get a huge truck packed up to bring it over here.
2 August 2008
8 out of 10 and warmly recommended - 9 out of 10 if you have any connection to Liverpool!
7 out of 10 and 'arigato gozaimasu' for all the memories.