Alex Farrow: Philosophy A-Level


Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire
Aug 20-25 (12:15)

Material: four-stars.png  Delivery: four-stars.png
Laughs: three-stars.png Room:five-stars 

Alex ‘Underscore’ Farrow was a philosophy teacher, is now a stand-up comedian. But like many extremely intelligent people caught in the education system, he hasn’t quite managed to break free of school & schooling – its the chief source of his material. ‘Philosophy A-Level‘ replicates something of the classroom experience, one of those informal ones with your cool teacher, where laughter is the lavish key to learning, using humor to enhance the otherwise strict methodologies of education. His show is only sometimes about Philosophy – which seems quite the magic word, as he’s frequently been getting full houses. It is rather like the phrase in Byron’s Don Juan, in which ‘A lady of a`certain age’, can be transmorphed into ‘People of a certain brains…’



There is an element in the public sphere which takes a more cerebral attitude to life, but also enjoy their comedy. I found myself sitting among a swelling portion of them, all of whom were in relative raptures to hear such a sagacious comedian. As a neutral reviewer, I have to say Farrow’s show will not be appreciated by everyone, its not universal at all, rather like a bouquet music festival in the Home Counties. I mean, hearing the phrase ‘metaphysical transubstantiation’ & extracts from the supersexy Bible poem, ‘The Song of Songs’ is not your average Fringegoer’s fare. Fortunately, Alex openly splays his subject matter across the title, forming a natural deterrant for those wishing they had read more in life while everyone else in the room is in hysterics.

If you are not laughing, you will be learning, let’s go! Alex Farrow

In the Cabaret Voltaire, in the Long Room room from 12.15 PM, those hysterics verge upon borderline adoration. To spend fifty minutes with the playful Farrow & his numerous gifts is to experience an unpretentious leader, a charismatic comedian that will stick like gold in the brain for a long time to come, on more than one level. The disclaimer being you really do need to know what he’s going on about first. If you don’t, you’ll be watching the clock for the bell to ring for recess.

Damian Beeson Bullen


Myra Dubois: Dead Funny


Underbelly, Bristo Square
Aug 6-11, 13-25 (15:55)

Divine got to The Underbelly just in time, having picked up my tickets for this fabulous Femme Fatale – I was breaking out into quite a sweat as I didn’t want to miss this one. The alternative title of Ms Dubois performance, Morbid Drag Queen had been rattling around my head all morning. As subject matters go, presenting her own funeral as a show is quite something. The essence of Myra’s Dead Funny is based on her attending previous funerals, which had left this Yorkshire Drag Auntie feeling there was something lacking in the send-offs she had experienced. I must say this did not rank highly on the Divine appeal factor, and I was half-expecting this to be an ill-attended performance. I was to be mistaken, as the queue to the Buttercup stretched far and long. Myra Dubois is something of a celebrity in her native Yorkshire and her reputation had ensured a packed house.

A parody of the Death card from the ancient Tarot, Ms Dubois came across as everyone’s favourite suicidal Auntie. Caring soothsayer and hexing dark witch all rolled into one. With bundles of audience participation – a genuine therapy session for all concerned – she invited us to witness her demise at the end of the performance. Genuinely funny, with a twist in the tale that I refuse to reveal as a spoiler. Myra possesses, dark humor most definitely, but her audience were in hysterics and her takes on modern classic songs such as Why? by Annie Lennox, offered a full chorus sing-a-long. This was a brilliant performance, if not a little disturbing, & not one for the recently bereaved.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert


James Barr: Thirst Trap


Underbelly, White Belly
  August 5-11, 13-25 (17:20)

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

Within the first 5 minutes of James Barr’s show I find myself wondering how he’s managed to stay single for this long. Despite wearing a man-sized avocado outfit, he nimbly Two-Steps with audience members in breezy, off-the-cuff chit chat as he introduces the show. He has been single for too long, and has decided to come to the Edinburgh Fringe to Tinder style ‘Right Swipe’ members of the audience he thinks are cute and invite them for an on stage speed date. The accompanying lightly tragic explanation for doing so in an avocado outfit is both funny and personally engaging, and this buys him all the goodwill he requires to launch into the first of the interactive date sessions.

The first audience member plucked from obscurity to take a shot at the top prize of becoming Barr’s Beau, is Jake. To the obvious delight of both James, and the audience, it transpires that Jake is a horse trainer. It’s at this point that James’ talents really shine. Rather than launching into a stream of cheap, obvious, gags he allows the audience to laugh itself out, then coyly inquires from under dipped beam, batting, eyelashes “So what does that involve?”
“Well, you just ride them till they’re tired out.” Comes the reply, and the audience go wild again. This effortless charm kept me deeply engaged throughout the whole performance.

The scripted material was somewhat more hit and miss. During the middle section James finally explains to us that a ‘Thirst Trap’ is “A sexy guy who looks for attention by posting semi naked pictures of themselves doing banal things”, and this provides some classic ‘caption competition’ style jokes. I’ll leave to your own imagination what it was that the guy who’d drawn the Eiffel Tower on his abs claimed he was trying to raise awareness of. A skit about finding the voice on a Mindfulness App uncontrollably arousing is less well received, like a slightly shoddily put together Cassetteboy remix of ‘Tony Robbins’ reading soft porn. It does have a cute, if tacky, visceral finish though.

Even though some of the scripted sections felt like fillers, there are a number of fine one-liners throughout, and it’s the time spent with James in the company of his dates, and his excellent audience work, which makes this show a perfect late afternoon palate cleanser of charm and whimsy.

Ewan Law


Sasha Ellen: No Man’s Land

Just The Tonic @ The Caves
Aug 2-12 (14:10)

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

As her twenties have trundled by, Sasha Ellen, a self-confess’d product of teen pregnancy & the English Literature pyramid scheme – has found out that she has undoubted ability to make people laugh, a rare gift which she is sharing with us at the Fringe. Her show is in two halves, the first a more conventional stand-up routine which introduces us to her personality, her history, her horny cousin, etc., & there is meat & magic in her act. She is like a cool glass of prosseco under a blonde summer’s day, whose air bubbles of comedy float to the surface & pop with a crisp, refreshing quality. There really was never a dull in second in this section, which possesses the wonderful line ‘you don’t know your family til you’ve seen every one of your uncles in knee-high leather boots.’

As is widely acknowledged, comedy is tragedy plus time. Last year enough time has finally passed for me to tell the stupidly long story at a party and realise that it was a weird, unique and hilarious thing to have happened.
Read the full interview

Part two is a different affair completely, in which Sasha tells us the story of the time she & her boyfriend brought the small Channel Island of Herm to a halt. It is a fun story, yes, its just that Sasha hasn’t quite got the storytellers ‘performers’ art off to a tee yet, with all its secret nuances of decoration & embellishments. There are some great moments in the tale, still, I loved the fact she’d actually researched Hermean happenings & discovered that in World War 2 a German soldier had caused unrest among the nuns, & afternoon tea had been cancelled. As a complete show, however, Sasha Ellen is a treat. Its nice for her to invite us all within her flourishing sense of humour & its the perfect put-your-feet-up, laugh & listen show after lunch



Susie Steed: Money Walks – The Unofficial Story of Capitalism


Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus
Aug 25-27 (15:00)

‘What a wonderful way to spend my last afternoon at the Fringe,‘ thought I as Ms. Susie Steed was leading myself & a few other fans of either her, or her subject, through the streets of Edinburgh, in the rare unwindy sunshine that occasionally strikes the city. Her subject is finance, & the history of money, for Susie is an economist & the imperial & financial city that is the Scottish capital seems the perfect place to conduct her ‘Money Walks’ comedy lectures.


IMG_20170824_151554981.jpgAs we are led place to pretty place, we become steeped in the iconography of money, especially that of Britannia, who has been transmorphed over the ages from coin to coin & onto the notes of our island, whose helmet Susie dons as she leads us about the place, her umbrella being waved about as if she were some holiday rep in Benidorm. Most of what she says is interesting, rather than funny, but she is a the master of digress & can burst the semi-seriousness in a Thalian flash. Alas, she is a little too soft-spoken to compete with the street-sounds of the Scottish capital, but apparently Susie will be returning next year with the same or a similar project, & will have her tweaks ready to turn.


IMG_20170824_160709061.jpgDespite the audible quietness, Susie’s message, intelligence, storytelling & humour simply boom out into the aether; spending an hour in her company is a charming alternative to doing just about anything else during the Fringe. ‘We’re not here to talk about the dog,’ she tells us as we enter Greyfriars Kirk, – one of the quieter spots on the tour – ‘we’re here to talk about insurance,’ & by the end of the walk, I noticed just about everyone involved was waiting politely to speak to Susie, so cleverly – & wittily – had she piqued us all.

Reviewer : Damo


Being HUEman Being


Just The Tonic @ Caves
25th August

Material: four-stars.png  Delivery: four-stars.png  Laughs: four-stars.png


Leaving the wonderful land of Oz for the competitive streets of Edinburgh’s Fringe, Luke Nowell brought his hilarious show, Being Hueman Being, for all our pleasure. With so much comedy at the Fringe this year, laughs have to be earned, and this show certainly does just that. Bouncing onto the stage like a 70s Space Hopper, dressed in an all-in-one grey & tight latex suit (with red shorts), the audience erupted. Being HUEman is a clever & funny take on what it means to be Human, and the many avenues we travel along to find perfection. Taking things back to the basics and using slap-stick comedy, Luke injects body and facial miming to elaborate his many characters, & with simple stage accessories he creates a world full of fun and humorous sketches. Through movement and gesture the show slides along with ease, delivering side splitting-moments of genius. Pulling the crowd into his imaginary world of art and using them like bate in a trap, he pounces like a Elephant in musk, knocking down everything in his way to get to the sacred place of love.


Turning one member of the audience into a living sperm, they then proceed to chase an egg in a race to be the fertilizer king, a very human thing! Pouring from his suitcase were sketches about dating, boob size, men’s muscles, a woman’s need to look good and not forgetting the perfection of art. As Luke conducts us like an orchestra maestro, his character comedy acting is a breath of fresh air. Touching on our everyday hang-ups he gives you food for thought & a a feelgood experience which throws up hysterical moments using only bananas, balls, dolls and moustaches. Think of old school comedy capers, add in great acting with a twist of human nature, and you have Being HUEman’s cocktail of chuckles, gimmicks, tear-jerkers and howling laughter. Luke has devised a great comedy sketch show that is rare these days, and allows us to sit back have fun and to take stock of our lives. Who we are and what we become are strong messages throughout this excellent and brilliant show in every way.

Reviewed by Raymondo


Tales from a Tampon


Laughing Horse @ 48 Below
Aug 25-27 (20:45)

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


At first glance, a comedian trussed up as a tampon seems like a gimmick, perhaps it is, but its one that really makes perfect sense. The woman behind the mask, Sarah Morgan-Paul, is actually here on a mission to teach us about the history of that ‘little cotton-bud,’ tho in the process manages to pull off some good ol’ fashioned northern humour as she does so. Sarah heralds from Leeds, where a blossoming comedy scene inspired her to quit her corporate job & follow her natural instincts – she is a performer & has the ability to see the comedy in life & also to translate it into laughs for a watching audience.


The theme of her first Fringe show, then, is the tampon & the inner workings of the lady garden, although she does manage to slip in some conventional comedy here & there. In Sarah’s world, men have jingly-jangly bits, Skippy The Kangaroo is still fuckin’ hilarious & the magical properties of the female period are described as a ‘Menstrual Paul Daniels.‘ Yes, its all good, Sarah Morgan-Paul is smart & despite being dressed like a tampon, has got style, trust me! As she bounces & banters beautifully through her material we’re all on her side & loving the ride. Tales From A Tampon is a history lesson that is properly funny & you can’t just help falling for the cute little face that bobbles out from her sensational Tampon costume.

Reviewed by Damo







@ the Hive (Niddry Street)
Aug 19/23/24/26 : The Hive (14.15)

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

Photography by Allison Michael Orenstein Art Direction by Signe Mae Olson
Photography by Allison Michael Orenstein Art Direction by Signe Mae Olson

Having trawled through the Fringe Festival Programme, this was one show that certainly jumped out at me, the mad but elegant Adrienne Truscotts: One Trick Pony Show (or Andy Kaufmann is a Feminist Preformance Artist and I”am a Comedian). From Linwood in Pennsylvania USA, Adrienne has brought her show to Edinburgh, but packing a light suitcase full of clothes seemed to be at the bottom of her list. Appearing for the first five minutes face down and butt naked on stage we are treated to an introduction from Snow Patrol. Yeee Haaa !!!! Bemused and bewildered it soon becomes apparent why Andy Kaufmann is her comedy hero. Rising slowly like a seed reaching for the sun, Adrienne soon blossoms into the wild flower of a comedian/storyteller that she is. With feminist tendancies and strong political views this show of pussy politics was sure to shock or thrill you. With so many serious topics rolled up and wrapped into a condom for our pleasure you would expect the worst, but Adrienne has done her research and delivers it in a way you can only applaud. Direct and in-your-face proves the best way to go with this show. In a recent interview with The Mumble, Adrienne told us about why she was bring One Trick back to the Fringe;

Well, I brought it here before. I really loved the show but it got really bad reviews – from everyone! And so I thought a lot about it and made it better and that feels like what a fringe should be about – the possibility of failure and improvement. It’s a better show now, so I guess I have to thank those harsh critics for that proper bashing I got last time!

Photography by Allison Michael Orenstein Art Direction by Signe Mae Olson
Photography by Allison Michael Orenstein Art Direction by Signe Mae Olson

The laughs were loud and continuous and with no let-up the show powers on. Breaking down so many barriers that keep us locked up in our mindful prisons, its a breath of fresh air to see a genuine piece of truthful and nutty comedy. Here is a woman that has a lot to say and by god does she say it; men, politics, women, wrestling, relationships, sex and more sex… indeed, sexual organs descrided like you have never heard them described before are all thrown into this mash up of fun and laughter. This is a hard-hitting show dressed up like a Sugar Coated Iceberg and is well crafted and delivered. Thought-provoking at times, & packed with interesting subject matter, Adsrienne teases and ticklesus from start to finish. Like a sexual assault on your senses, One Trick Pony strikes you like a blow from a baseball bat and knocks you out the park. Very effective and strong it unleashes many a hidden thought with only laughter following behind. Why so serious? Go see Adrienne and have a formal education in world domination. Explosive and exciting, this is a must see this summer…

Reviewed by Raymondo


An Interview with Luke Nowell

index.jpgHello Luke, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Sydney Australia but currently living in London after having just finished studying at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in France for two years.

When did you first realise you were an entertainer?
It all started in the family home. Doing shows in front of the family, dress ups, magic shows, mini golf courses, film making and a lot of other things that involved a lot of cleaning up.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
I love playing on stage and I love watching other people playing on stage. I remember when I was young, and to this day, watching other people perform live and love experiencing the way it makes you feel and think. I love creating an experience with those people, in that moment, in a way that won’t be repeated.

What does Luke Nowell like to do when he’s not being funny?
I love alone time. I like documentaries. I also like skateboarding and watching live skate competitions – it’s not funny, it’s lethargic.

What is the creative process behind writing your sketches?
I think a lot, I play a lot, I make new associations and then I try playing with it in front of an audience. I tend to find the game for my ideas when I do it in front of an audience. It’s all about playing with and juggling the audience.

You are a Gaulier-trained clown and physical comedian, how did you find conducting such a prestigious education?
It was incredible. I came to the school with a very set idea of how I performed. This school and Philippe opened me up, taught me freedom and beauty. I didn’t realise how much more you could discover by being pushed so hard by a man who challenged, pushed and berated you until you did something on stage that was full of so much spirit, whilst bearing your soul, that it makes the audience laugh AT you. This school is great for taking yourself less seriously and learning to play, and play with you’re audience and with your scene partners. Philippe taught me to listen to my audience and now Philippe is always sitting at the back row of a show for me now.

Alongside White Sardine Productions, you have been churning out solo-shows relentlessly. How are you so prolific?
I’m not entirely sure myself. But what I would say is that it comes from a passion and a drive – it’s an extension of who I am. If you really want something in life, you’ll make it happen.


You are in the middle of bringing ‘Being Hueman’ to the Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Being Hueman Being is show full of ridiculousness and a world of fantasy. I take us in an adventure in a show about what is funny and colourful about being hueman being. It’s quite an absurd show, visceral and I love doing it. If you like your comedy different this is your kind of show.

How has it been going so far?
This fringe has been amazing. My run had been very good, as well as days where I’ve learnt a lot and had to refine what I’m doing. I’m very grateful for my experience this year.

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
It’s a beast and it’s aged me a few extra years

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Luke Nowell?
2017 involves finally resting a bit, doing a few more shows, there’s also potential doors currently opening up for me in Asia and then I head back to Australian circuit at the end of the year.

If you’re quick you can catch Luke’s last couple of shows @ The Fringe
Just the Tonic at The Caves : Aug 25-26 (13.15)​