EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: Fest


Fest

Paul Mitchell August 24th, 2018 by

Paul Mitchell gives his readers the unusual feeling that he is trying very hard to explain what’s going on onstage, yet leaves you with very little idea what went on onstage. There’s a lot of florid prose that just bursts into nothingness like sprays of cherry blossom if you get too close to it. Sometimes […]


George Sully August 18th, 2018 by

I’m confused. George Sully is a ‘director’ of Fest, whatever that means, and has also written extensively for the Skinny. He has written overarching trend pieces and the occasional movie review, but never before has he dirtied the rarefied flesh of his lilywhites with Fringe comedy. Until this year. For some reason George Sully felt […]


Brett Mills August 13th, 2018 by

Brett Mills is a virtual pick ‘n’ Mix of allusions and metaphors which, like the ones we used to get at Woolworth’s, could be delightful. But inevitably, like Woolworths, it ends up rather bankrupt. Russell Hicks “flips between insult and concern”…which “never hits the heights”, “because he doesn’t give punters enough rope to hang themselves”, […]


Will Young August 19th, 2016 by

The problem with Will Young – and it’s not a terminal problem – is his apparent need to assault everything he looks at. He’ll attempt to establish an ideological standpoint, frame a performer’s whole existence or tie the whole show up into an epithet. Until he’s got his performer helpless and hogtied, Young does not […]


Victoria Nangle August 22nd, 2015 by

When you read Victoria Nangle’s reviews you find yourself muttering ‘Get on with it’ a lot. There’s a great deal of throat-clearing and pussyfooting, all of it taking up ink and paper that could have been used for poetry, or a treatise on human rights or something. Take her first paragraph on Candy Gigi: Looking […]


Tom Hackett August 20th, 2015 by

With so many Fest reviewers wanting to hunt down Fringe comedians, slaughter them in cold blood and wear their shrunken heads and genitals as voodoo fetishes, it’s perhaps refreshing to find one who just wants to inspect their private parts in a scientific way, pat their heads and release them back into the wild. By […]


Matthew Sharpe August 17th, 2015 by

We all like a superfluity of grandiose verbiage. There’s no need to say “superfluity of grandiose verbiage” when I could just say “too many big words”, but I did it and I’ll do it again. So when I read that Lou Sanders’ Excuse Me, You’re Sitting On My Penis Again is “substantively light on penises, […]


John Stansfield August 9th, 2015 by

You know how preachers – of any religion – will tell you that God knows you far better than you can know yourself? Well God knows nothing next to John Stansfield. John Stansfield looks down from on high upon the piddling little comedian and knows exactly what they think they are, what they think they’re […]


Ed Ballard August 24th, 2014 by

I imagine there are scenes of panic and frustration at the Fest office. If they have an office. I imagine editor Evan Beswick stomping down a damp, fluorescent-stripped corridor, its carpet tiles curled up at the corners like tobacco leaves, knocking over sick, brown pot plants with his elbows shouting “Ballard! Five stars?! What is […]


Joe Spurgeon August 17th, 2014 by

There’s not much wrong with Joe Spurgeon. So I’ll start with as much wrong as I can find. I disagree with his too-frequent two-star allocations. But then, I would. And I wish he would stop mithering on about shows that don’t have a message or a denouement. It’s almost funny when he complains that Chris […]


Arianna Reiche August 10th, 2014 by

Last year, Arianna Reiche did a typically Fest thing: slating Al Lubel when almost everyone else thought he was quite magnificent. The critic two-starred her fellow American for being too confessional about his drawn-out toilet training. Yes, an American told another American that he was sharing too much. Weird shit happens at the Fringe. She […]


Evan Beswick August 6th, 2014 by

This year, Beswick had me at Hello when his review of Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel opened with: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a successful show in possession of good reviews, must be in want of a bit of an upgrade.” And I quite like how he tries to keep the tone […]


Lewis Porteous August 4th, 2014 by

My colleague Mr Rumania has always been rather dismissive of Fest reviewers, saying that they have a policy of under-rating good shows and judging everything from behind a barricade of preconceptions. Even the balanced Mr Kipper calls them “haughty”. I wondered whether it was just that Fest tries to be more honest, and sets realistic […]


Si Hawkins July 17th, 2014 by

Hawkins is a great fan of the words ‘hackneyed’, ‘indulgent’, ‘boring’ and the phrases ‘goes on too long’ and ‘this is hardly new’. Do people not realise that he has somewhere important to be, like another show he can’t be arsed to sit through? His prose is noisy with the sound of eyeballs being rolled […]


Sean Bell July 17th, 2014 by

Just how hard is it to please Sean Bell? Well, take his review for Jonny and the Baptists: “None [of the songs] fall flat, but the band’s strengths are also their weaknesses, since they demonstrate just how indebted they are to acts like Flight of the Concords and Tenacious D, two painfully obvious influences.” In […]


Malcolm Jack July 17th, 2014 by

Malcolm Jack isn’t impressed by much, and he wants us to know it. His adjectives all flow from the seen-it-all, done-it-all, yadda-yadda school of journalism.  Of Gemma Whelan’s Chastity Butterworth & The Spanish Hamster he writes that something like this turns up at the Fringe “pretty much every year in one form or another”. Gareth […]


Andrew Latimer July 17th, 2014 by

It is a characteristic of Fest that a show such as George Ryegold can be described as ‘explosive’ – as “deep, deep parody, tearing apart the faux-charity and propriety of the West, along with himself in the process, to challenge and change us” – and then be given three stars. If Ryegold can effect such […]


Jay Richardson July 17th, 2014 by

Jay Richardson writes for everyone who matters at the Fringe, and others that don’t particularly. The two things that define him are his constant recourse to reason and his deft turn of phrase. He employs a great economy with words, so that three paragraphs give as accurate a picture of a performance as four or […]