Someone had to be the last to be reviewed this Fringe, & I am happy to say that the age-old adage ‘save the best til last,’ still has kudos in the world, for the hour’s worth of irreverent sketcherie provided by these four bright ex-Oxfordians proved a perfect way to finish off mine, & the Mumble’s Fringe. They’re hot off the press these guys, gatecrashing the Camden & Brighton Fringes with their well funny show, K.I.S.S (Keep It Silly, Stupid), & in their own words, ‘fresh from storming London Sketchfest 2015,’ they launched an assault on the Edinburgh masses. By the time of this final show, word must have got out that they were well funny, like, as the room was almost full.
Laughing Stock are yin-yanged to perfection, two lads & two lasses who share a deft chemistry when relaying their comedy gems. A series of sketches are played out before us, which sometimes subtly interconnect, showing that these guys come from ‘the clever place’ down Oxford. They roll with the punch as well, for only a month before their debut performance at Edinburgh, one of the lads – Lewis Doherty – ruptured his achilles tendon while rehearsing. Soldiering on, the lad now does most of his show on a wheelchair, with the occasional standy-uppy bit, a heroic effort that managed to take nothing away from the comedy flow; & even added at times, especially when he played the Darren, an ale-swigging, cheeky-as-fu@k, northern monkey.
Lewis is joined on stage by Rhys Bevan, Phoebe Higson & Arabella Gibbons, the latter of whom is a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. The fact that Phoebe isn’t quite as talented in this particular field (though her comic talent is supremely brilliant) provides a wonderful juxtaposition in one sketch, when Arabella hustles in on Phoebe at a busking session. Funny stuff indeed, but for me the highlights of the show were a brilliant Downton Abbey-esque scene, when Arabella brings her latest boyfriend back to meet the folks, & the sing-a-long-an-ending where the foursome meld into the rap-happy ‘Snack-Pack,’ to jolt us all into a jolly good time. An effortless FIVE STARS.
Its been a great August for the Mumble this year – but it just wouldn’t be the same without vitriolic nobheads FRINGEPIG having their annual pop at comedy reviewers. They’ve already singled out one of Divine’s reviews for a ‘that-review-was-pants‘ accolade (the Ham Fist Award), & now the latest member of their team, Barrie Morgan, is about to write an article damning us & everything we stand for – I tried to tell him the Mumble’s like an epic poem, attempting to record the cultural zeitgeist of our times, but he’s like ‘THATS JUST NOT HOW IT WORKS!’He also told us why the folk at Fringepig are so damn angry…
I think this is because they are ex-comedians who had amateurs review them. I’d also like to include most of that paragraph in which you slag off FringePig in the article. Again, I’ll send you the finished piece to check before i submit it to Kipper.
In my eyes there is no such thing as an ‘amateur’ reviewer. Laughter is the most natural thing in the world, & if you’re eloquent enough to describe the acquisition or non-acquisition of said happy state, you are perfectly entitled to be called a comedy reviewer. Some, albeit, are less eloquent than others, & we here at the Mumble have a certain quality control as to who goes out in the field – but one thing we don’t do is tell them what they can or cannot laugh at. It is upon this point that the Fringepig posse have such trouble dealing with reality… they’re like, ‘we’re comedians, we know whats funny, so if you don’t get us then you aren’t entitled to write about us!’
Its quite sad really… but kinda quaint… so as soon Mr Morgan’s article is up we shall add it in full to this post. He has been interviewing me this morning & I’ve fed him a load of crap, so it should be funny to see how it turns oot.
THE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION
Here’s how it panned oot after heading Barrie off at the pass…
You spelt knobheads wrong.
Also, as a freelance journalist I may take this story elsewhere.
Hurry up buggarlugs & write it – im going out in a bit – id like to get it up on mumble comedy before the afternoon
A Brief Note on the Spelling of Nobhead – A few folk attacking the Mumble recently have said to me that knobhead is the correct spelling of nobhead, however, that implies I am comparing them to a door knob, when I am in fact comparing them to a penis
Divine’s Retort :
The Fringe Pig Are Irrelevant!
The Mumble Grows
While The Fringe Pig Stagnates
Waiting for The Flames To Be Hot enough
For The Spit. And A Hog Roast.
I Think Its Vitriol For Supper.
Another Mumbler’s Opinion
These guys are obviously fucktards of the first order… Criticism of critics is usually reserved for the artists who actually produce something. Which is thankfully what all Mumble writers do in other fields. What have these folk produced? Noms De Guerre not-withstanding. I repeat: Fucktards.
The Wee Man – aka Neil Bratchpiece – is an institution on many levels… an internet sensation for his brilliant videos, a three-times a day buckfast buyer down his local offy in glasgow, & perennial source of laughter at the Edinburgh fringe. A middle-class Motherwell Weegie, he dons the Thalian mask of ned-dom with brilliant ease, so much so that folk from Paisley think he’s one of them in the same way that Detroit’s black hip-hop-cracy doted on Eminem. I am definitely a fan of his work, & was well chuffed when his new show began with the following new video.
Watching this year’s show was a bit like watching ‘This is Your Life’ – an eight year retrospective through the life & times of the Wee Man. A slender fellow, who describes himself as ‘built like a silver rizla,‘ his use of recorded film is pure genius, especially when we see him fending off his own creation in the most ‘kafkaesque’ fashion, battle-rapping him back into the recesses of his over-fertile mind. Splashing bits of his old shows into the mix, throughout the Syndrome we also saw Neil’s earliest attempts at fame, when he appeared on episode 21 of series 3’s seminal Scottish kiddy quizshow, Red, Amber, Green.
At the end of the show I’m like to myself, is this the end of the Wee Man – is this retrospective a sign Mr Bratchpiece is about to hang his chavvy outfit in the wardrobe. Or is it a grand shedding of the skin out of which a shinier, fresher, even more satirically cutting Wee Man will emerge? Only time will tell, but one things for sure, he’s still as funny as fu@k! FOUR STARS
“Any man who doesn’t give girls orgasms 100% of the time needs to watch a professional fuck his girlfriend”. It’s said more as a statement rather than as a punchline, but I laughed anyway because I wanted to be seen by the audience as someone who agrees- someone who does give girls orgasms 100% of the time. Chris Betts’ stand-up comedy seems to be, although not intentionally, an investigation of what it means to be a man. The very muscular welsh rugby man next to me agreed the fuck out of Chris Betts, but there was something about his comedy that never really struck a chord with me. “If I ran a bar, I’d make fighting legal”. That’s probably why.
His material is amusing but never truly engages. The show is mostly a string of memories and opinions of his time as a bartender up in Canada. Stories of hen parties and stag dos united audience in horror, and sometimes even in laughter. Yet the inbetween phases are slightly lacking. “Sometimes at the bar I did impressions just to make the time pass”. Chris Betts then does some impressions, and the time does indeed pass. However, I would have liked some more structure and build up to his performance.
Hiding behind his beard, Chris Betts actually comes off as slightly shy despite his aggressively masculine politics. Although he might thrive amongst the like-minded, he never brought any real energy to the foreign land of Edinberg. It’s a shame, for some of his jokes weren’t half bad. There was never any material which broke the mould, or anything that was built up to a truly satisfying climax. But Betts’ intentional insouciance left a very mild-mannered impression on an audience.
It feels like an hour of small talk- sometimes amusing, with a diverting anecdote every so often, or a fun fact. Yet controversial opinions are thrown in to fight for attention rather than anything interesting. Chris Bettes does have potential, and maybe I just caught him in a quiet mood. I did like this hour of stand up, but it never accomplished as much as I felt others do. TWO STARS
Sitting down with my lunchtime munch earlier this afternoon I prepared to be entertained by Swedish comedian, Tobias Persson. I soon realised, however, that he just wasn’t that funny. A titter here, a loud-laugh there, aye, but not enough for the fellow to say he was a comedian. I even found myself inventing a new word during the show, thinking what could be a word for lesser comedy – and decided upon amusery. His attempts at social satire were were weak, & the brightest spots of our hour were the jokes concerning his native country – Sweden & their relationship to other European nations. This was genuinely funny stuff!
After a stiff start, Tobias did loosen up in the second half, bringing to our attention the media’s obsession with ‘anti-islamic lego,’ among other things. The problem with Tobias, for me, is that on several occasions after a gag – there would be a second or so of silence which he filled with his beaming smile – a trip reflex that induced laughter in some of us. Surely a comedian should not have to rely on such tricks of suggestion to get his audience laughing. TWO STARS
Now this really was the luck of the draw. Today’s Mumble Mission took me to the Space @ Surgeon’s Hall to see the “Old Fella.” It was nae until I got to the venue and asked to see a flyer for the show that I realized I would be reviewing a comedian. But not just any comedian. This “Old Fella,” a retired farmer from deep in the Australian Bush, is something of a celebrity in his native islands, accumulating over 500 sell out shows & accolades from Australia’s Got Talent. This year, the Old Fella is gracing our Scottish lands to wax lyrical, flinging funny funny tales of life back in the new country. His wife, Myrtle The Turtle (one will have to go to the show to find out why he calls her that), features heavily in the performance. He also takes us back to the dusty and smoky watering holes where he developed his craft, fluffed up with lovely, heart-warming tales about his grandchildren.
The Old Fella explained how performing at the Edinburgh Fringe was a long-held dream come true. Sir… It was an honour to be apart of your audience tonight. For people who have never travelled the long haul flight from Scotland to Australia before, its incomprehensible to understand just how far away both counties are from each other. I’ve done it myself, only the other way around. So Respect to the Old Fella… he has come a long way to tickle our funny bones and warm our hearts, & for me will always be welcome if he returns. FOUR STARS
I awoke with the lark, sun streaming in through my bedroom window, bounced out of bed, turned my laptop on and made a coffee and prepared to write for The Mumble. After I had finished my scribe, I received my request to go and see Lieven Scheire at The Gilded Balloon. Divine and comedians generally do not get along, especially celebrity comedians. They really do take themselves too seriously. Comedians really have to be funny or I simply will nae write a review. Its one thing enduring a shit performance but its another having to write about it as well. Life’s too short. So on this beautiful Sunday I made haste to witness a clown with a difference. Lieven Scheire is the physics teacher that I never had. Divine bunked off the last two years of school and never got any qualifications bar a couple of GCSE’s and an English O Level. The school that I never went to in Bradford was rough as fuck and to actually go to school was to endure the bullying of the psychos that were my class-mates. David Bowie, Japan, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk John Foxx and The Human League were my teachers and the art of shoplifting music became a full-time occupation. I was a young DJ, from a working class background at a time of the three day week, my parents were nae well off, so I had to get my music somehow. My shoplifting career was cut short when I finally got arrested. I ended up in court, with a fine that I had to pay at 50p a week from my pocket money. First offence and all that. In the internet age people do that all the time. Without getting arrested or getting a fine.
What has all this got to do with Lieven Scheire? I hear you ask.The one thing that has spurred Divine’s writing skills is the Internet. Lieven taught me how the internet was the direct result of physicists wanting to share each others theories. In the same way that I am doing now. Brilliant stuff. Well, Lieven Scheire is a naturally funny man with big blue eyes, equally as much eye-candy as brain candy, for nerds of a certain disposition. This was the only comedy show I have been to, where the audience were on the whole Physics graduates or teachers of the science. As you can imagine, this duck was out of the water. Or was he? I was eaves-dropping on a couple that were sat in front of me, I had been talking to them in the queue before hand… it was a very clever and friendly audience. The gentleman of the couple was talking about the Space Time Continuum. I said, ‘wow, one really needs to go deep to achieve that,‘ Divine did through meditation five years ago. I call it The Space, Soul Time Continuum. Its a deeper insight into Clairvoyance and how to successfully heal the effects of the past. His reply was, ‘no, not at all.’ I read it in a physics book. “OOOooo” said Divine. And the light switch turned on. Lieven Scheire helped me to bridge the world of quantum physics and spirituality in an instant. This was proving to be a very affirming lesson for Divine.
Now this is where the latent Nerd in me became as excited as all the other Nerds in the room. The whole performance was a very entertaining and informing Physics lecture. Explaining why, at the speed of light , lengths are shorter and time slower. As you can imagine this really tickled my funny bone. The silly sausage should have known that it will never ever be possible to travel at the speed of light. So all this is theory. Divine’s not a fan of theory. I have to live it to understand it.
So the equation bit of the show left me blank for a bit. My brain works different to most folks’. Because it was damaged when I was a kid. However, this hour of Comedy, it solidified my understanding of the difference between consciousness and physics. Physics is the mathematical equation, a theory to explain spiritual healing fact. Within Reiki it is possible and effective to send distant healing to a specific time, either past, present or at a future time that we are yet to arrive at. It works, I have been practising and teaching for 20 years.
Lieven Scheire’s performance taught me a very important lesson today. Spiritual Healing and Reiki are the tools of experience that Physics explains as theory. Wowzer indeed. Divine was on the edge of his seat, waiting for Lieven to say nothing travels faster than speed of light. Why? Because there is something that travels faster than the speed of light. And that is love and healing. The 5th dimension that will never be worked out with mathematical equation. It is something that needs to be experienced. For it is the Muse, or the higher power. Or God! Well They Do Call Me Divine For a Reason. FIVE STARS
The Pleasance Courtyard (The Attic) August 22-31 21:30
I’m so happy Tats Nkonzo made the long journey to Scotland from South Africa. His show was the comedic version of ‘writing back’; the tradition of early post-colonial writers writing predominantly to challenge the reduction of the colonised to a primitive, narrow stereotype. I’m happy because he wasn’t afraid to challenge his audience and push some boundaries; all the time carrying along the crowd with his capacity to make them laugh, listen and engage with his material. He warmed up the audience immediately by starting with a funny song, and with great delight you realise that he is multi-talented; not only singing, dancing and acting, but playing guitar beautifully to make his comedic but also very serious points. You had a good idea of what was to come by the wicked glint in his eye; that this man was not going to be afraid of pushing the envelope in an attempt to educate his audience.
One of the highlights is his skit on ‘if diseases had an award show’. He does a fantastic impression of Michael McIntyre as a disease, that roused more laughs the longer it went on. He hilariously illustrated the point that the manner in which diseases such as Ebola is covered always has a particular political agenda. He was fantastic at engaging the audience from the start, and equally able to tease a lady from Zimbabwe about her commitment to animal rights after the Cecil the lion fiasco, which morphed into a song sung by the whole room. He managed to get away with teasing a white South African woman in the front row with his anti-apartheid protest dances, which he decided to repeat a couple of times right in front of her, laughing about triggering some ‘bad memories’. He made some excellent points about not relying on either governments or celebrities for solutions for anything, but that we needed to embrace each other one on one. He, at times, became quiet and reflective enough at times that the hush in the room was palpable. He managed to smash to pieces the absurd pedestals on which we tend to place celebrities in a way that had me wiping my cheeks and shaking with laughter.
This show was thrilling, funny and touching all in one. With his glittering eyes and massive energy, he threw himself into it from start to finish. He’s been having to put on extra shows to meet demand, and it’s clear why. Many of the shows I’ve seen recently by people of colour have been invoking the spirit of friendship and togetherness amongst all people in a bid to mend fences and open hearts to one another. As he hugged each audience member on their exit, it seemed especially poignant coming from someone who grew up under apartheid to affectionately hammer home the point that “we’re just like you”. Try and catch the show while you still can; I guarantee that by considering another’s perhaps quite different perspective, you will be reminded about what’s important in life. Mr. Nkonzo, thanks for coming! FIVE STARS
Lovely is exactly the word to describe Laura Lexx. She bursts onto the stage like a wee firework and tells stories of her ordinary life and how disadvantaged she is as a comic to not have a trauma to rely on for stand up material.
You don’t sit feeling Laura is a jumped up little twat, which is easily how she could have come across with a show like this, instead quite the contrary; you somehow empathise with her only slightly less than perfect life, in the way of being a slightly less clumsy, real life version of Bridget Jones — except for having slightly worse underwear issues.
Documentaries seem to be the gospel of Laura’s faith, as she talks of the moral lessons learned through David Attenborough and Louis Theroux, as well as the feminist role models which have influenced her such as the Spice Girls, who invariably contradicted her initial role models, the Disney princesses. Watching Laura shake her tail feather on stage is truly tantalising and could convince any straight woman to give up men in favour of birds. Something Laura actually tries to accomplish, in a not so deranged way. Laura has quite a talent and the kind of voice that makes you want to kidnap her, if only to bring her out when you are feeling a little sad. FOUR STARS