You would expect a newspaper as up with the liberal arts as The Guardian to have a lot to say about the Fringe, and it does. In fact it has a lot to say about comedy generally, with capable writers like Stephanie Merritt and Jo Caird. Jay Richardson is never less than impeccaby well-informed, and James Kettle, having once trod the boards himself, brings a great deal of empathy to his what’s-on roundups.
Brian Logan, on the other hand, shoots from a rather different hip, and he was the newspaper’s reviewer for most Fringe shows last year. While I don’t entirely share my colleague Packet Panda’s view on Logan (I think he’s an excellent writer even where I don’t agree with his views), I do wonder whether The Guardian couldn’t CELEBRATE the Fringe a little more rather than just report on its participants and trends. The paper box-ticks all the angles, sure, but there’s rarely anything visceral.We need a national daily to give a true taste of the joy, sweat and chaos in Edinburgh, if only in response to a great deal of priggish shite that has been written about the Fringe in other ‘qualities’ (Carol Sarler in The Times springs to mind). On the whole, The Guardian is a great champion of comedy. Brian Logan, on the other hand, is a thing apart.
Becky Walker’s Panda