Jamali Maddix: Chickens Come Home to Roost

The Attic, Pleasance Courtyard
7-29 August 
20:15 (1hr)
£10
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Material :three-stars Delivery :four-stars  Laughs : three-stars
Jamali Maddix strutted out from behind a black curtain to the sound of the Wu Tang Clan. I don’t think the sixty-something Scottish couple in the front, Rod and his wife, knew what they were in for. In fact, they certainly had no idea what was about to befall them over the next hour. I like to think of myself of a a reasonably hip mum with teenagers who allow me to at least try to keep up with them, so I wasn’t phased by his constant use of the F-word and winding up the crowd about racial, sexual and political matters. Poor Rod, though, the Tory voting Scotsman who became more and more red faced as he gritted his teeth in polite rage, really got it in the neck as the constant barrage of jokes came at his expense. I was glad I was tucked away in the second row and not picked on for anything at all. I must have looked sympathetic. ‘I’m an arsehole’, the twenty-five year old Londoner kept saying, ‘I’m an arsehole’, just to make sure everyone cut him some slack before he went for them. And we generally did. Apart from Rod. 
 
Jamali, immediately likeable and entertaining, launched into the laughable absurdity of us Britons holding on dearly to emblems of a rich and powerful empire; most of which we have now of course lost. He likened having the Queen as figurehead to a business man who’s become homeless, but ‘still wears the suit’. None of the topics were much of a surprise for a young mixed-race London man, but apart from losing Rod’s gameness and sympathy half-way through, he played well with the audience members who remained game. I would think it difficult playing to an almost all-white audience when your subject matter can offend and stir up some awkwardness in his punters. He was apologetic in his manner, even statements of non-apology, if that makes any sense at all. But that wasn’t going to stop him saying what he had come to say. His timing was super tight and his delivery punchy, and you could easily imagine him as the annoying friend who pesters you as you about to sleep with a ‘story that you absolutely must hear, right now’ and looks way too eager to think of turning down. Timely jokes peppered his chat; about UKIP, Brexit and suicide bombers. The voice of the urban young; suggesting that letting people over 50 vote because ‘they’re going to die before they see the thing they wanted’, a bit like a suicide bomber. 
 
He did make some serious, thought-provoking points along the way. Noting that in our first-world lifestyles, we unwittingly support slavery. Just imagine he says, the plantation owner saying ‘of course I’m morally opposed to slavery, but I really like having my lemonade served.’ He really pushed us into a corner with that one. He whipped through the barrenlands of internet porn, the absurdity of our society where breasts are used to promote products instead of feeding babies, and the equating of capitalism with prostitution. 
 
He lost the crowd momentarily as he launched into a sentimental vignette about his mother, which didn’t seem to have anything to do with comedy at all, but a brief baring of his vulnerable side. He pulled us back with some self-deprecating jokes about taking drugs with his pals and then getting on the straight and narrow. He ended almost wistfully, remembering the time when a brick hit his head in a ridiculous life event, but ultimately brought him back to wise decisions. “As you get to decide what you’re gonna do next”. I expect Rod wished he could have taken that on board about five minutes into the show and quietly left. 
 
Maddix definitely provoked some good old honest belly laughs, but is geared to a young audience who can easily handle our modern swaggering vulgarity and in-your-face attitude. As he gets used to handling the varied personalities in an audience, I’m fairly sure he will use his intense bundle of bearded energy into amusing larger and larger crowds, and punching them in the face with a fresh and urgent perspective. One to watch. 
 
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Reviewer: Lisa Williams

Paul Currie: FFFFFFFMILK!

Heroes @ The Hive

Aug 6-28

Ticket in advance / Pay what you like

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Laughs: four-stars   Materialfour-stars   Deliveryfive-stars

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In 1974, sometime after a celebrity party near Luton, Tommy Cooper & Bjorn Borg’s love child was born. His name is Paul Currie, a ridiculously funny man who has this sterling ability to control the actions of every person in his large crowd. As I watched him get them all standing, dancing & singing ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ in total unison, I’m like this guy’s more charismatic than Napoleon. In fact, if Currie would have ordered the Old Gaurd to advance on the British at Waterloo, they would never have turned back & fled – he’s that bloody commanding. Its one of the best things I’ve ever seen at the Fringe – I say thing because I’m not quite sure what his show actually is. I guess its slapstickian vaudeville driven in its highest gear by an incredibly amendable comedian.

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Currie entering the room

He makes his entrance in a spectacular fashion, gliding about the room to some euphoric music… I swear down, the trip to see Currie is worth it for this alone. Absolutely brilliant. From here, we are given an open invitation to peruse the madcap mentalities of this laugh-a-second madman, from his Jesus-sings-Madonna routine to a wonderful sequence when he sings a song called ‘Telephone-lips.’ Also, when you have seen Currie doing Christoper Walken doing Star Wars, you really know you have lived. The camaraderie that Currie blew throughout the audience is something I have never actually seen outside of, say, a Butlins holiday camp – but witnessing it happen among the quasi-cynical crowds of the Edinburgh fringe was a new experience. I do urge you, your pals, & their pals n’all, who you have never met, to see Currie while he’s in town. He’s that good.

Reviewer : Damian Beeson Bullen

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John Pendal : International Man of Leather

Stand IV (28 York Place)

4th – 28th August 2016 (16.45)

£7 (£6)

Material :four-stars Delivery :three-stars  Laughs : three-stars

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The Stand once again looks set to dominate Edinburgh’s Comedy Fringe as it regally resides over York Place with its impressive choice of six venues sporadically splattered along both sides of the street. Each venue considerately caters well to the thirsty audience by positioning itself close to a convenient watering hole or such like, providing refreshments, albeit in the form of the plastic pint, to the eager festival thrill seeker …such as myself.

Although this evening’s act was kicking off rather early to engage in such a tipple, it felt disconcertingly rude not to partake. And so, armed with a cold, squishy-plastic Magners, I nudged my way along the creepy Spielberg corridor to a cosy, if somewhat compact- studio (den) situated opposite the street from the original Stand venue, where I would witness the unravelling of Mr John Pendal, ‘International Man of Leather’.

Having little prior knowledge of Mr Pendal, I had only the rather intriguing and somewhat raucous title to base my preconceptions upon, and correctly predicted that the evening would have at least some level of ‘risque’ dialogue. Not to be disappointed, immediately upon entering the venue, I was presented with a pencil and paper, and politely asked to write down ‘something that turned me on’. Which I was assured would remain anonymous… Of course it would, I thought to myself, as I begun exploring my options and contemplating which inner secret to sully the innocent white square in my hand.

For a reasonably salacious headline, I expected perhaps a more intimidating engagement (and prepared for such by sitting myself as far back as possible, until I was all but perched upon the air conditioning unit). However, the man himself was anything but frightening, and in fact he presented himself as really rather endearing. Although “dressed as a lesbian” (sic) standing tall in a chequered shirt tucked tight into his jeans, and sporting a thin pencil black tie,  the only hint that there may perhaps be a more experimental side to this sweet natured rogue was the leather cuffs and a fleeting glimpse of some thick gold chains around his neck.

He embarked on a tale of his conflict with his strict Baptist upbringing and how he came to be crowned International Man of Leather amidst some strong competition, delivering fluid, punchy and often genuine hilariously comic observations. He relates the surprising and vastly contrasting international attitudes to sex from Asia to Europe which he encountered during his colourful travels. He challenges the essence of religion with stark logic, intriguing facts, fast-paced wit and comic tales, all the while, pacifying any potential offence in the audience with large fluffy kitten placards.

The audience genuinely warmed to this endearing man, whose sexual exploits and adventures as he travelled all over the world in his acclaimed title seemed remarkably contrasting to his gentle, rather conservative presentation. And it was apparent his genuine desire to break down preconceived notions against self-expression and sexual exploration. His set was cleverly presented with a splashing of retro vibes and geeky science, engaging the audience with clever ideas, such as engineering three-dimensional sexual orientation graphs while throwing in some nostalgic comedic references to Tupperware and Thunderbirds.

Given this was the first night of the performance, it was excusable that his first few jokes were lacking somewhat in delivery, but he quickly recovered and gained confidence, settling comfortably into his set and winning the crowd round effortlessly. Perhaps he could have been a bit more risqué, I believe he had a few more ‘water sports on acid’ stories up his sleeve, but overall, he delivered relaxed and intelligent stand-up comedy, often fascinating and insightful – and I have left with a new-found desire to visit Japan, for an entirely different set of reasons.

Reviewer: Teri Welsh

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Will Duggan : A Man Gathering Fish

Pleasance Bunker 2

3 – 28th August

18.45

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Material :three-stars Delivery :three-stars  Laughs : three-stars

Entering a vault-like bunker in the belly of the Pleasance, a small dark room awaited u, as did the star of the show.  This Manchester-born comedian, ‘who may have well been a Doctor,’ appears with his hilarious debut show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Will Duggan is a straight-forward-talking Northerner-Englander, who has brought a witty and sharp-tongued show to the maelstrom that is the Fringe. As he throws out his first line of the night, we come to wonder if he is going to be a comedian of hate, as Doctors didn’t seem to please him too much.  A few minutes later you come to realize that this show is more about the trials and tribulations of his life, of where he could have went, and where he ended up.  ‘A comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe aint so bad,’ he kindly reminds us.

Mr Will Duggan has this cool demeanor about him, but a look that could turn you to stone if your opinions don’t appear to be in order.  He looks at the realities of life and brings it us in a twisted way…  this is real life at its roughest, but reconditioned for our pleasure. Fast-paced and certainly not lighthearted,  there was so much information being propelled at us it was hard to dilute at times.   As the show moved forward  I found myself being heckled by ‘Will,’ and was flung headlong into his world of mischief.  My name, my likes, my dislikes and some quick banter allowed myself and the audience to interact with his gritty jokes. Dark tales and bad jobs contributed to his undisputed rise into comedy, and on finding the right mechanism he had the audience reacting with bounds of laughter.

After being a Teacher, a Chemist, a Doctor  and then a comedian, ‘Will’ feels he has finally made the right choice, which I & the chuckling crowd agreed with as he spilled out his witty one-liners. Funny, out spoken, direct, gripping, but with no brakes at times, this was a roller-coaster that could have gone on for hours. Take a chance and go see Will Duggan, you just might enjoy it !!!

Reviewer : Spud

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The Lunchtime Special

The Tron
Aug 4-28 (12.30)
£6

TLS-Front-A5Three years ago, as a wee side-line during the Fringe, I did a bit of flyering outside the Tron for a comedian who voted Tory. Tenner an hour & that, it weren’t bad. Anyhow, my first review of the year 2016 Fringe saw me back in the hallowed halls of the Tron basement once more, for The Lunchtime Special of London based humour-heavy gang-bang, CK productions. With a bar in the place, there was a ‘comedy club’ feel to the whole thing – nice & relaxed it was, for sure.  For our delectation they had served up a 90-minute multi-course luncheon, all of whom were in the 20s with a virile attitude to life & its imaging… & also very shiny hair. MC for the occasion was tweed-clad, smooth-talking Eshaan Akbar – Piccadilly comedian of the year, 2016 – who looked like a geography teacher & in fact commanded the affair as if we were all sat in his Higher Comedy class (A-Level).
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Eshaan is a likeably amusing guy, whose confidence at the mic belies his years despite his opening barrage including an induction into the murky waters of moob-sweat. First up was Ken Cheng, a poker-playing Cambridge drop-out who could tickle the hilariousness latent within animal proverbs. Next up was Sarah Keyworth, who started slowly, but whose otherworldy expression sucked the whole world into her universe with a nippy, frolicking tractor beam of funniness. A potential star in the making.
Next up was George Rigden, who took comedy song-writing to the surrealer side of zany, whose witty attempts at self-depreciation were counterpoised perfectly by his sublime & supreme cockiness. His fun fifteen minutes were followed by Dave Green, a super droll storyteller, the kinda guy like your mate Dave that gets the drinks in down the pub. Effeminately awkward, with cutting one-liners, I loved his patter about being unfaithful to his mum’s sandwich as a kid & eating his mate’s mum’s butty!  Then came the last comedian of the session, 2015 Chortle Student Award winner, Andy Field. Now, I’ll be honest, as he tossed out his comedic curve-balls into the crowd, I didn’t really know what he was going on about for the majority of the time, but they loved it.
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All-in-all, a great value occasion, this, & the smart man’s way to begin a day at the Fringe. The guys are genuinely funny, & the 10-15 minute slices of their material rather like a proper tasty prosciutto on a Tuscan veranda in early May. Perhaps the individual comics don’t all merit 4 stars, but the combined effect & the acquisition of the best of their stuff all adds to a greater & a happier whole.
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Reviewer : Damian Beeson Bullen
four-stars