Paul Currie: The Sticky Bivouac

Paul Currie: The Sticky Bivouac
Edinburgh Fringe

There have been many schools in the art of surrealist comedy. From the anarchic, raw beginnings of Spike Milligan, to the self aware, Oxbridge intellectualism of Monty Python; right through to the daft apothery of Reeves and Mortimer up to the modern day uber-cool rock and roll slant of the Mighty Boosh. However it is to the irreverent clownery of an American, Andy Kaufman, that I believe Paul Currie owes his greatest debt. From his bizarre and often disturbing puppet interactions right down to his obscure musical interludes and protracted silences this stinks of the man on the moon all over. But that’s no bad thing. While Andy may have got there first, Mr Currie continues his legacy with great aplomb, and it is a legacy worth continuing. From his opening hand routine to the closing cornflakes bit the show is performed with such charisma and energy the audience is left almost as sweaty and exhausted as Mr Currie himself.

    Just before the show my neighbour asked me if we were foolish to sit in the front row. I assured him we were safe as this was surrealist comedy. After being fondled, molested and at one point force-fed (but never insulted!) I realised I couldn’t have been further from the truth. One for the brave then. And no-one is spared. That hand reaches a long way. Unfortunately this was one of the last shows on the fringe so I fear this review will have little impact. But should you choose to read it I suspect you will see Paul Currie again next year in what – if there’s any justice in the world and he continues with this level of invention – should be a bigger venue. One to watch and one which I feel personally elevated for watching myself. The best kind of surrealism makes sense, so I implore you to see Paul Currie next year, ‘cus you know it makes sense. Ostrich. FOUR STARS
four stars
Reviewer – Steve Vickers
Youtube clip at




                        31st July – 25th August (not 14th),


Concession-£14.50, Full Price-£16.00 



                 NewsRevue returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for it’s 34th year!

This was a superb show with outstanding performances from the four strong cast along with the pianist delivering you with over thirty or more quick fire pieces of topical humour and loads of one liners based on just about anything that’s been in the news over the last 12 months. Politicians from around the globe, Andy Murray, Jimmy Saville, the NHS – these plus many more were in the firing line in this witty series of short sketches, most of them set to song and dance routines.

The show opens up with a spoof on the latest royal birth then going on to sing songs about the triple recession. Your then met with a glum looking Andy Murray telling the audience how he’d eventually smile if he won Wimbledon, then a song about bashing a burglar to the sound of “chitty chitty bang bang”. You have sketches of Charles and Nigella in a spoof version of Mr and Mrs, interactions between horses and cows in the abattoir and on the shelves in the supermarket, Benefit cuts and the latest NHS crisis are always in the firing line. Call centres that you can never seem to get through to as well as a whole series of great and good things on the planet apologising for Nick Clegg’s behaviour.

The lights go to black after each sketch and quickly within a few seconds the lights come back up with the actors changed into different costumes for the next rib tickling sketch. They use a black base for their costumes and use basic props as well as daft wigs, hats, scarves to differentiate between the characters that they are playing.


All in all the show is very professionally done and tightly scripted. The music along with their quick witted lyrics and humour is a must see. As they have a different team behind each year’s show let’s look forward to see them come back for next years Fringe. The truly do keep their audiences well entertained. This was a great show and in my mind a must see.FOUR STARS

four stars


 Reviewer – Robert Kerr



Mixed Doubles

The Caves

22-25 August



Mixed Doubles

Neither the name of this sketch show comedy act, or the PR Flyer does enough to give the right expectation as to what to expect when you see this four strong comedy routine. I was expecting either something romance or tennis related and was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually a very well put together, rehearsed and most importantly entertaining show.

As much as I express frustration with the barrage of comedy overload of television nowadays these guys are definitely “TV-Ready”. Flawless delivery, familiar topics and witty exchange between the characters, who you can tell would be great people to go for a pint with, meant this was definitely one of my favourite comedy shows of the fringe.  It’s not over –complicated or overly intellectual by any means, but just very very funny! The actors/comedians aren’t afraid to make fools of themselves in order to make you laugh, and prove the old saying that the secret of good comedy is timing, which they’ve already mastered despite this being their debut at the Fringe.

If you don’t make it this year, definitely check them out next year when they should come back with a better name and a better flyer! Refreshingly good comedy. FOUR STARS


four stars

Reviewer – Antionette Thirgood


Tig Notaro
Gilded Balloon Teviot
August 16th to 25th
£13 to £15
Tig Notaro
    Tig Notaro does not need a five star review. Despite the fact that I’d never heard of her the write up claims she is hot shit in America, the cue for her show went halfway round the block and, if you choose to believe her, she did a week long run in Vegas. I wouldn’t. She does indeed look a lot like a man but the show doesn’t dwell on this. In fact the show drifts between all kinds of whimsical and astute social observations largely inspired by her frankly superb audience interaction. Honestly I have never seen any stand up comedian interact with the audience with such a deft lightness of touch and quick wit before. Sharp as a razor, no sharper, sharp as a laser, but as kind as your old Aunty Jean
    She does bring out a couple of alternative comedy staples. Such as the old admitting your lying just to get a gag in routine, familiar to any of those Stuart Lee fans among you, plus the old not knowing how to end a show, which Tony Law pulls off to epic effect. Her take is gentler, wittier but just as hilarious. And if these staples are starting to seem like cliches I get the feeling Miss Notaro was highly instrumental in them reaching that status. Just be thankful she doesn’t begin the routine with a rant about all the people she looks like. Apart from a man of course.
    All in all though a superb, super sharp master class from the greatest comedian you’ve never heard of. Or perhaps you have. In which case you should need no more encouragement. FOUR STARS

four stars

Reviewer – Steve Vickers


The Wrong Side of the Door
Underbelly, Cowgate
August 3rd to 23rd,
August 25th
£6 to £10
wrong side of the door
    Is the fringe any place for morals? Or more specifically, is the fringe any place for religion? Personally I would argue no, but many may put forward the point that the Fringe is a free artistic forum for voices of all varieties and opinions. And religion just so happens to be one of those varieties. No less valid than any of the others. Now I’m not saying the Wrong Side of the Door was a religious show. A glance over the Grandees website revealed their only apparent religious leanings being a touch of Yoga in the morning. But I had serious reservations. I was positive that throughout this show there were sinister religious imperatives at work. It wasn’t overtly obvious, but then it never is with the more wily cults but I definitely got the feeling they were trying to preach some kind of love is good fear is bad pseudo spiritual propaganda to us. And anyone who’s seen Donny Darko knows this kind of message invariably hides darker intentions
    I could also swear they were using some kind of subtle hypnosis on the rest of the audience that I was somehow immune too. Due to the fact that the rest of the audience were in hysterics where as I just simply didn’t get it. They were cackling like maniacs every time an actor said the S word like it was the first time they’d heard it. OK, so the lassie was a good dancer but she was also clearly under the influence of some kind of twisted hypnosis. All sparkly eyed and flowing limbs like Hawkeye under the influence of Loki in the Avengers Assemble. Was it my job to save her? Certainly not! That’s how they get you.
    OK, so maybe they were just a troop of light surrealists who occasionally indulge in a bit of yogurt weaving, and maybe I’ve taken too much acid and am prone to occasional bouts of irrational paranoia. Because at the end of the day, lets face it, you’re going to have to make your own minds up. But then again, is that just what they want you to think…? TWO STARS
Review by Steven Vickers


Ben Van der Velde’s Chain Letter
Underbelly, Bristo Square
August 13th to 26th
£10 to £11
    Having a theme to your show is always a good idea. It gives you a set of parameters within which to string together ideas and provides the show with a sense of cohesion. And when, like Mr Van der Velde, the chosen theme relies on you personally embarking on some kind of quest or mission, the potential for comedy material is amplified. Lest we forget the many hilarious adventures of Dave Gorman. Mr Van de Veldes idea is simpler, but no less ambitious, than many of Mr Gorman’s. He basically intended on starting up a chain letter where by each letter would be personally hand delivered by himself. A worthy comment you may say of how the art of the written word is dying in favour of the far more convenient and cheaper emails. And you’d probably be right.
    However, a valid comment and an interesting quest do not make a comedy show alone. At the end of the day you can have all the hair-brained schemes in the world making all manner of timely social observations but if you ain’t funny, you ain’t funny. And I’m sorry Mr Van der Velde, but at the end of the day I just didn’t find you that funny. Interesting maybe. Like an entertaining speaker at a dinner party his delivery was lively and confident. However, he reminded me of so many other nice young upper middle class white guys who are flooding the scene at the moment. I mean he can’t help where he’s from but he could at least make an effort to come at it from a different angle. Then again I suppose he did with his wacky master-plan. But at the end of the day wacky master plans don’t make funny, funny makes funny. And yes, you may have had an off day and this may have been Black Wednesday as you stated (or invented) but personally my post card reads – must try harder. THREE STARS
three stars
Review by Steven Vickers


The Noise Next Door

Pleasance Dome (Potterow)


21-26 August

£13 (11 concession)


These five lads definitely have some skills. They use a mixture of character based comedy and prompts from the audience to create some improvised comedy routines, both embarrassing some and entertaining other members of the audience in equal measure. Thinking fast they show off their ability to create comedy out of everything from glass ornament Italian cuisine to sock fetishes and Hindenburg. You can tell these guys are destined for great things, as despite their youth they are already talented performers and comfortable on stage, managing to survive even the most random curveballs thrown at them, (Alfie Moon’s armpit hair)?,  reminding me of what I imagine it must have been like to catch Monty Python or Vic and Bob in their early years of comedy experimentation.

It wasn’t perfect, with a bit too much breaking into high-school musical style song for me, and a few times I felt they could have pushed themselves more, as they sometimes came back with obvious retorts, or ended the sketch before it truly descended into madness. That is truly scraping the critical barrel however as out of the many comedy shows on offer this is definitely a great way to spend an hour. Once the boys had warmed up they had moments of true genius. Haphazard and slapdash improvisational comedy at its best. FOUR STARS

four stars

Reviewer – Antionette Thirgood


Simon Munnery
The Stand Comedy Club
 August 13th to 26th
£8 to £10
    Simon Munnery was once labelled the God particle of alternative comedy. And seeing his show it’s easy to see why. His non aggressive, whimsical word play, punnery and absurdism is a delight to behold. From his Sniflet and Woffles dog sketches to his crap human beat boxing, he retains a dizzyingly high level of invention throughout. Not to mention the fact that the whole show is done via a camera close up of his face projected onto the back wall. This may seem like a troubling idea but when you take into account the subtle comedic expressions on Mr Munnery’s face it works beautifully, and is also essential for the various crude cartoon sketches.
    He had a show on the TV apparently which I am now gutted I missed, although I do own the ingenious Grey Dull Clouds, his hilarious collaboration with the Orb as Alan Parker: Urban Warrior. And I am positive if you dig around enough you will find all sorts of landmarks in alternative comedy Mr Munnery was involved in. I also met him briefly after the show and he seemed like a thoroughly decent chap. All in all I can’t recommend this show highly enough. I did have vague reservations about the slightly off kilter musical interlude halfway through, but it all kind of works out in the end. Basically if you haven’t heard of Simon Munnery, like I hadn’t, and you’re a fan of Alternative comedy then the chances are you have heard of Simon Munnery. You just don’t know it yet. So go see his show and find out. FIVE STARS

Gold star

Reviewer – Steve Vickers

Dan Nightingale: Love In The Time Of Cholesterol

Dan Nightingale

Pleasance Dome

Jul 31-Aug 11, 13-25,





Dan is a Lancastrian comic from Preston with a very warm personality and to coin a phrase you can’t help liking him. For this Saturday evening gig the small venue at the Pleasance Dome was sold out with 75 people in the audience. The variety of punters provided Dan the opportunity to go with some good opening impromptu stuff. In the front row was a 14 year old boy with his parents (“my youngest audience member ever”) and at the back a very well behaved hen party! Early in the show Dan was showing some pretty unusual bumper stickers and one of them was I ‘heart’ Badgers. ‘I prefer otters’ Dan commented – “what about beavers?”  came a cry from the audience. Heckling comedy gold (or not depending on your point of view) but for sure a chance to improvise and engage with the audience. A chance that Dan did not make the most of. Then shortly afterwards a different heckler made a disparaging comment about Dan’s baldness. Dan did not want to go down that route either. The heckling was not aggressive or unpleasant. The crowd were in the mood to start their Saturday night out with a bit of a giggle and I thought that Dan could have made more out of the positive atmosphere.

The scripted material was very good and funny. I liked his description of the perils and pitfalls of advertising your wares on internet dating sites. I also liked the recollections of his former love affair with an actress and how going out with a drama queen can cause some interesting episodes. The section on his relationship with his young nephew did not completely work for me – heart-warming but not the sort of thing to provoke belly laughs. At the end of the show Dan complemented the audience for being nice and noted that some things seemed to go well and some things did not work so well. A pretty good self assessment I thought. A nice guy with a pleasant manner and a few funny stories. THREE STARS


Reviewer Chris Donkin

DIANE SPENCER – Hurricane Diane

Diane Spencer
Gilded Balloon Teviot
14th to 25th August
£8 to £9.50
    Before the show has even started we see Diane building her set and interacting with the audience. It’s a warm beginning and perhaps the promise of great things to come. Unfortunately this isn’t quite the case. Not that she’s bad, she performs with confidence, energy and warmth and her material is well written. I suppose the main problem was that it just wasn’t my sense of humour. Gags about relationships, bodily functions and being a ginger while witty are well trodden and, if I may be so bold, slightly tired territory. The imaginative set gave me the impression this might be a bit more absurdest and surreal, but in reality it was fairly every day. The audience loved it though so what the hell do I know?
What I did admire, however, was the balls out, unflinching honesty of her show. All delivered with the kind of light hearted warmth that could lead you to believe she was just telling you an amusing knitting anecdote. I feel it is with this juxtaposition that she could, and probably will, go far. But I wanted more. She just seemed far too in control of her faculties for someone who was telling us constantly what a klutz she was. If Johnny Vegas has taught us one thing it’s that there’s nothing funnier than watching someone go into complete mental collapse during the course of their show. So I couldn’t help but think, wouldn’t it be great if be the end of the show her lovingly constructed set was in ruins with her legs akimbo and panting in the ruins, maybe with a little drool coming out of the corner of her mouth? Or maybe I’m just a bad man. THREE STARS

Review by Steven Vickers