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 […]

Katharine Gemmell August 18th, 2018 by

Katharine Gemmell isn’t a bad reviewer per se, but her impulse to be all over the shows she sees tends to result in her passing judgment on people rather than performance. This is something we’ve come to expect of younger reviewers (Fest is full of this sort of thing) and although we don’t know Gemmell’s […]

Jonathan Holmes August 15th, 2016 by

What is going on at Fest Towers this year? Last year their average score – AVERAGE – was 2.3 stars. This year it’s like opening a box of glitter. Maybe they realised nobody likes them. Maybe it was starting to hit their bottom line (would you buy an ad in a magazine that had called […]

Dominic Cavendish August 26th, 2015 by

Dominic Cavendish is perhaps best known, among comedians anyway, as the man who walked out of a Stewart Lee gig. Appalled by Lee’s apparent contempt for his audience, Cavendish asked why “the capacity crowd didn’t mutiny at this sardonic onslaught”. The reason, in the heads of most comedygoers, was that they understood the context of […]

Craig Thomson August 24th, 2015 by

At first, Craig Thomson’s prose style can jar a bit. But then you start reading his work in a clipped, treacly, 1950s cricket-commentator voice and then it all feels right. Especially when he says things like: “There shouldn’t be a problem with drunken rowdiness before elevenses, I’d hope.” Not that Thomson is impenetrable: far from it. […]

Emma Newlands August 14th, 2015 by

This tired old Fringepigger started out not liking Emma Newlands. But that’s largely because the term ‘self-deprecating’ winds me up for reasons I have explained to death. So: “Reviewers always describe me as self-deprecating, says Angela Barnes, just as this reviewer had written those very words down.” (WHY? WHY HAD YOU WRITTEN AN OVERUSED BIT […]

Gemma Scott August 27th, 2014 by

We’ve been wondering here at Fringepig why, when Three Weeks is such an insubstantial piece of festival trash, so many of reviewers have scraped through this year’s Fringepig audit relatively unscathed. On the whole, it seems to come down to the length of rope. Three Weeks writers, while certainly no better qualified than their peers, […]

Chris Rumbles August 26th, 2014 by

Chris Rumbles is aptly named: his critiques roll noisily through each show he sees, alerting us to the many bumps and ruts. Inevitably, though, Rumble’s own wheels eventually fall off and we are left wondering which was really at fault: the show, or the reviewer driving his coach and horses through it. That allegory was […]

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 […]

Andrew Allen August 20th, 2014 by

“…And this is an improv nerd speaking.” Says Allen at the end of his review for What Does The Title Matter Anyway?. It’s unnecessary, because we had all figured this out much earlier in the lengthy review that preceded it. Allen is, I might as well admit, a reviewer after my own heart. Not only […]

Fiona Shepherd August 15th, 2014 by

Fiona Shepherd is rock and pop reviewer for The Scotsman, but they let her write about comedy too because everyone is multitasking at Scotsman Towers these days. Jay Richardson makes sandwiches in the canteen. Joyce Macmillan maintains the drawbridge and the boiling oil. And anyway, comedy was once going to be the new rock n’ […]

Chris Aitken August 11th, 2014 by

“There felt like a good chance that I was about to miss Glenn Wool when I turned up at the Underbelly box office as I repeated the words, ‘Glenn Wool’ to be answered with ‘umming’ and ‘arring’ leaving me thinking I’d been wearing my dyslexic specs again and got the wrong venue (I am dyslexic). […]

Isla van Tricht July 17th, 2014 by

Okay, I think I can guess what happened here. Isla reviews theatre. She doesn’t know much about, or care for, most comedy, but she likes Bo Burnham. REALLY likes Bo Burnham. So she says “Hey, can I cover Bo Burnham this year? Come on, I’ve been to ALL THESE really boring plays for you and […]

Joanna Alpern July 17th, 2014 by

Joanna Alpern writes long, carefully-considered reviews, and always gives the performer – famous or obscure – sufficient due. You might say that she is from the Julian Hall school of comedy reviewing, which is no bad thing. If anything, Alpern goes into too much detail. But it’s forgivable in her case as she tries not […]

James Macnamara July 17th, 2014 by

Of Milo McCabe’s 2014 offering, Mannamara writes that the comic “is wired to create and unite idiosyncrasies in order to form characters of real comic integrity.” He then goes on about the audience “repartee” (how nice to hear the word ‘repartee’ in this day and age! I thought it had been retired along with ‘’courting’ […]

Miles Fielder July 17th, 2014 by

There’s very little to criticise in Miles Fielder’s writing style. It is adult, sober and fluid. The sentences are tight, the adjectives well chosen. He writes with rhythm. In fact you actually feel a sense of loss for not seeing some of the shows he recommends, because it sounds like advice from someone  you’d be […]

Mairi McNicol July 17th, 2014 by

Mairi McNicol is careful to wrap her reviewer’s cosh in velvet. “If this sounds like your sort of thing,” she says of something she didn’t like very much, “then prepare to be mesmerised!” another act, who is “overly-anecdotal” and “somewhat alienating” nonetheless “could easily be considered the thinking-person’s Sarah Millican.” Mairi seems to be on […]

Lucy Hoggan July 17th, 2014 by

Last year, when Broadway Baby allowed writers to construct their own headlines, Lucy Hoggan ran loose with this freedom. “Time to Sit Down” she told a theatrical production called Stand Up, Woman. SLAM! It was worse when she liked something. For a Show called Feta With the Queen, she writes “An awfully Good Show, I […]

Julian Hall July 17th, 2014 by

Julian Hall is kept busy by The Independent – which these days is about as popular as the Russians, who own it. He is probably better housed at The Stage, though, where he has a good length of chain and is allowed to discuss the Fringe once a week as he sees fit. He begins with […]

Kayleigh Head July 17th, 2014 by

It’s hard to dislike Kayleigh Head’s reviews. They’re full of life and energy, and, you know… yoof. She seems to enjoy reviewing, and this shines through in her prose. She may occasionally get over-enthused and say something confusing. Catherine Semark, apparently, talks about “our international obsession with drawing the cock and balls symbol”. I think […]

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