Gilded Balloon Comedy

The Studio @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

7thMarch

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The Gilded Balloon is 30 this year and it’s great to see it expand its offerings outside of the festival.  Edinburgh’s burgeoning comedy seen has seen a host of new comedy night’sspringing up to complement The Stands stalwart presence.  Most of these nights are pub-based, grass roots affairs, but this, at the Festival Theatres new space, The Studio is of a different ilk, welcoming professional circuit comics, rather than comedic bairns and journeymen.Tonight’s bash is ably compered by likable Lancashire lass and faux-ditsy Katie Mulgrew who prises for openings in the audience and unearths  courting couples and tired lifers which provides great continuity throughout the show.  It’s hard to tell if she contributed to Catherine and Rufus’ breakup or sealed their nuptials.

Opening act is affable Irishman and silver fox Michael Redmond.  You might recognise those eyebrows as Father Teds dour Father Stone.   Redmond’s stand up is top drawer and he doesn’t rely on his comedy CV to get the laughs, his Irish lilt and relaxed demeanour draws you in then he’ll hit you with the gag.  He’s not afraid of heckles and woe betide you if you do as he’s wittier than you.  You shall be crushed!  Effortless set and the crowd lap up his deadpan style (apart from the Nippy Fip the heckler).

Glaswegian Scott Gibson follows with a typically bare knuckles set just before the watershed.  He had me ending myself at his observations on the serious matters of:out of fashion sexual acts and what happened to which dog shite?  Oh and switches inside your bum that make you do strange things.  He doesn’t take any prisoners and some of the brutally delivered material made the women sitting next to me shift uncomfortably in her seat but, like the vast majority of the packed house.  I loved him.

Our Mancunian headliner, Justin Moorhouse is familiar to many of us from his role as Young Kenny in Peter Kays Phoenix Nights.In the intervening 15 years he has made a name for himself on the stand-up circuitas well as appearing on Live at the Apollo and even Coronation Street!  He even won Celebrity Mastermind (Specialist subject Les Dennis).  Justin’sself-deprecating material is drawn from hisassumed role as a pessimistic bored husband and father who wishes things were different.  Themes which many people can identify with and his solid material hits the spot although he seemed to wander his way through the last few minutes of his slot, perhaps trying out new material.  We’ll let him off with that as he had us laughing the rest of the time.

A night of quality comedy such as this is rarer than white dog shite.

Reviewer :  David McCaramba

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