Heroes @ The Hive
Ticket in advance / Pay what you like
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.
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
Stand IV (28 York Place)
4th – 28th August 2016 (16.45)
Material : Delivery : Laughs :
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
Pleasance Bunker 2
3 – 28th August
Material : Delivery : Laughs :
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