The Stand (Edinburgh)
Arriving to the smell of haggis & neaps, it was standing room only last night for a Burns supper themed night of comedy at the Edinburgh stand. Saying that, Scotia’s bard hardly got a mention, but each of the comics on offer mentioned him at least once. They were shepherded onto stage by rowdy MC, Susan Morrison, mastermind behind the last Fringe’s ‘Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas,’ who warmed the audience up with a crackling intensity. I really enjoyed her banter with an American couple – a playwright & an astrophysicist – which allowed her to tell the story of John Paul Jones’ humorous attempts to bomb Leith during the War of American independence. Comedy & history, & well told too.
The first comedian was 24-year-old Gareth Waugh, an astute, sexy & mature performer who is not as socially awkward as he portrays. His witty self confessionals took us from buying those hooded kids who stand outside off licenses booze to show he was cool, to buying his girlfriend lingerie with a morbid sense that everyone thinks he was buying them for himself. The lad has a youthful exuberance which he cuttingly projects through his material.
Next up was Keir McAllister, a very funny & very confident ‘Sue Perkins’ lookalike, whose idea of a Burns night was to celebrate the victims of chip pan fires. He also delved into pros-independence politics with a passion & brilliant patter that Robbie Burns would have been proud of, then Dundee’s shittest zoo in the world, before finishing his set with a story about coming & farting at the same time – what joy!
Headlining tonight was the Stand’s long-running antidote to a heavy weekend, the uplifting improvisational genius of Stu & Garry. Tonight, these two masters of snappy-minded comedy theatricals played the alphabet game – in which they dialogued through a scene, beginning each line with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The story was a ventriloquist at a children’s party, whose dummy was a crude, foul-mouthed northerner, begging for ‘gottle of methadrone’ & telling the kids it would be easy to bundle them into his van. The second story was a monk & a soul-sucking succubus, which was played out three times; once as normal, once as musical porn & once as panto. All this was really quite hilarious, especially when shouts of ‘shes behind you’ erupted in the panto-version – a moment of true festivity on one of Scotland’s most festive days.
Reviewer : Damo Bullen