Fringe Festival Comedy Prelude


Carlton Studios, Edinburgh

3rd June


Carlton Studios was host to a comedy ‘Prelude’ on Wednesday evening, showcasing a medley of fine talents each airing their new material to an enthusiastic audience before letting loose at this year’s fringe festival. The first colourful act to be pulled from this evening’s bag of delights was ballsy and razor sharp Govan comedian Jay Lafferty. Jay is a promising talent and a breath of fresh air, bagging laughs like fine fruits ripe for the picking, all squishy and colourful. With an air of confidence, she smoothly relaxes her audience with some excellent, upbeat improv, firmly stamping her professionalism and wit smack on the front cover of her act. Festival cringes and saucy holiday novels splash through her set as she engages and interacts with her audience who quickly fall in unison to adore her. A true breath of fresh air.

The second comedian to take to the stage was Perrier award winner Wil Hodgson who quenches a satirical thirst with his observational gripes. Pubs, pies, pickles and paranoia are all given his critical dissection as he meanders through his hilarious ramblings. It may take some focused determination to keep up as he rick-shays unapologetically from hernias to real ale and smashes awkwardly into some imaginary voices. His bizarre edges and punky views giving a fascinating glimpse into a genuinely bizarre and interesting dude whom you could easily see yourself sharing a few pork scratchings and a pint down the pub, as he crunches effortlessly through a crisp bag of ideas.

The penultimate act of the night is the ever-charismatic Bonnie Fairbrass, a 2006 ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ semi-finalist (banned for being needlessly crude and offensive) takes to the stage with boundless energy, fabulous bursts of charm and a massively infectious smile. Her confidence and perfect timing is impeccable as she delivers fast-paced, punchy lines and hilarious anecdotes. Dysfunctional families, relationships and baggage pepper throughout her set whilst charisma and wit roll from her tongue onto a spicy narrative platter. This is comedy at its best, served up with lashings of social insight, a smidgeon of philosophy and a wee dollop of politics thrown on top.

The final act, Jay Islaam, arrives in his turban with a burst of political satire and a rather unconvincing accent! Close to the bone and not for the faint hearted he fires off a tirade of cleverly controversial one-liners aimed at provoking the audience to think about racism in a new light. Humorous, intelligent one liners bring some poignant considerations to end his clever act.

Tonight’s four acts were hosted by a confident and entertaining compere Paul McDougall, who faultlessly worked the audience into a jubilant bubble of laughter and perfectly stitched these four unwritten acts together. Overall, a feast of eclectic humour and cracking narrative smashed this evening’s showcase of talent and these comedians will do Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival proud. Watch out for a second Prelude showcase in July, and all four of these acts performing over the festival in August.

Reviewer : Teri Welsh

Gilded Balloon Comedy Nights

The Studio @ Festival Theatre

6 June 2015

Andrea Hubert
Andrea Hubert

Great news! Not only can we enjoy some of the best comedy from the Gilded Balloon during the The Edinburgh Fringe in August, now they are treating us to monthly comedy nights at The Festival Theatre’s, The Studio! Each month The Studio play host to four comedians for us Edinburghers to sample some well established and up and comers breaking into giggle scene.This Saturday night we saw Scott Agnew, Jimmy McGhie, Andrea Hubert and John Gavin take to the stage. Unlike some Gilded Balloon comedy nights I have been to, tonight’s gig was unfortunately only half-full so we had our pick of places to sit. We bravely selected one of the table-and-chair seats at the front to fully appreciate the evening’s entertainment. 6’5” Glaswegian Scott Agnew is a Comedian and Journalist with TV presenting credits and radio appearances to his name. As one of Scotland’s top comperes, he hosts tonight’s show. The former Scottish Comedian of the Year regularly comperes in established and esteemed venues such as Jongleurs, Highlight and The Stand.

Agnew creates a warm welcome for London-based Andrea Hubert. Comedian, TV writer and Arts Journalist. After only 20 gigs Hubert was awarded second place in a national competition. Talk about fast work! Since then she has made it to the final of several New Act contests, such as Boom-Tish New Act 2011 (winner), Finalist of Leicester Square New Comedian 2011 and with her writing partner, Bafta Rocliffe New Writing Award 2013 (winner). You will also see her work appear in publications and across media networks, including The Guardian, The Telegraph and Channel 4. It’s clear to see why she has done so well in such a short space of time. Her honest and hilariously self deprecating tales touch on subjects everyone can relate to, and the audience appreciation is evident in the warm applause at the end of her set.

Scott Agnew returns with a brief story of his experiences in Glasgow karaoke haunt – The Horse Shoe Bar. He creates a vivid picture of some of the establishment’s more colourful characters, before welcoming the next guest. In a change to the advertised billing, 35 year old John Gavin from Hamilton takes to the stage.  Winner of Ha Ha Comedy’s Scottish Comedian of the Year in 2009.  The father of three girls with angry/confused eyebrows and tattoo clad arms chats about the differences between Edinburgh and Glasgow, warns never to go to St Andrews Aquarium and takes us through a few of the things in life that annoy him – all to great comic effect. He has an easy going delivery style that works well with the mainly Scottish punters. He could be your mate down the pub. You know? The funny one with the eyebrows…

After the interval Agnew returns with tales of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He makes light of the fact that the city became a friendly, sunny place for the duration of the games, but that it reverted to ‘normal’ as soon as the games were over! And so onto the headline act for this evening. Jimmy McGhie created instant hilarity by striding into the audience and tangling his microphone lead up with people as he walked among the tables and chairs.  Spotting me as I was taking notes, he proceeded to snatch them from the table before reading them aloud to the now hysterical audience! Note to self – sit at the back next time! Londoner McGhie claims to be posh but not proper posh, and offers a simple yet amusing way to differentiate between the two. It’s all in how a person says yes apparently. His experiences at the gym produce tears of laughter. Despite a youthful appearance, thirty something McGhie is a self confessed technophobe and much of his material attacks the absurdities of modern life. Mobile Phones, Computers and  Sarky Sales Assistants all come under fire. The physical comedy he displays when recreating the aforementioned assistant’s floppy designer haircut is brilliant. This guy is sharp witted and self-assured, and a perfect ending to a great evening’s comedy.


Reviewer : Sarah Lewis