Header Image

Free Festival News & Reviews

This is where you can read recent news articles and reviews of shows in the Free Festival.


List News & Reviews: By Star Count | By Date


Richard Cobb Interview

December 6, 2024   The Wee Review

Article about Richard Cobb: Running Joke

Richard Cobb Interview

 Click Here For Article


‘The house of commons is a posh white peoples’ rap battle’

August 4, 2024    Morning Star

Review of Alvin Liu: Rice

‘The house of commons is a posh white peoples’ rap battle’

ALVIN LIU is from China, where a thriving stand-up scene has developed in the past few years in Shanghai and Beijing — though your entire venue might get shut down if someone makes a joke that could even vaguely be construed as a slight against the motherland.

No such problems in Britain — yet — and there are some very funny Chinese comics up-and-coming on the London scene, including Chin Wang and the brilliant Blank Peng. Liu definitely has the chops to join them, with his by turns universal and deeply personal observations building up to an excellent debut hour.

The set begins as all comedy shows should: with the performer’s mother singing a karaoke song in Mandarin, and it’s Liu’s relationship with his mother, across decades, continents, viewpoints, and languages, that form the backbone to his material.

He is charm personified, putting this multinational and multilingual crowd immediately at ease — even the people who weren’t expecting it to be in English. We’re hooked into his world with a barrage of well-honed gags interspersed with quieter, more reflective, but still subversive material — some of which flies over the head of the audience, who seem occasionally unsure of how they are supposed to react.

Particularly brilliant are sections on depression — knowingly presented as a decadent Western indulgence — and Chinese schooling, in which one learns that one plus one equals China has a thriving agricultural sector.

Crowd-pleasing dunks on Japan — his perspective on Oppenheimer is worth the price of admission alone — are leavened with clever, unexpected observations on cultural differences over body image, sex, and sexuality. Liu’s thoughts on oppression, and how self-identity is policed even in the very young, are important in any language.

The conclusion to this hour is strong, but could perhaps be better seeded early in the narrative. The bits on racism are beautifully observed but could do with being further unpacked; Liu’s relationship with the West, via English teachers and American hip hop, is a rich seam worthy of further exploration.

And so, too, is the material about the country Liu and his mother find themselves in.

“Sure we can’t buy freedom, but you can’t buy eggs,” points out Liu in a gleeful reversal of orientalist assumptions. Britain’s economic, cultural and political decline is skewered brilliantly here, and I’m curious to see how it goes down in, say, Dunstable, or Doncaster.

Liu punches up and exposes the ludicrous nature of our own Parliament, and of our “two party” system — jokes that seem beyond our current, home-grown comedy establishment, but in a way that is inclusive, easy to access, and very, very funny.

He’s definitely one to watch, and I don’t mean in a surveillance-state kind of way. Click Here For Review


Best Stand Up 2024 Winner - Brighton Fringe

July 6, 2024   The Seagull

Article about Marcus Dean: Has Anyone Seen My Dad?

Best Stand Up 2024 Winner - Brighton Fringe

It's been a while since a comedy show has made me laugh so hard that I got a stitch, but that's exactly what Marcus Dean's Has Anyone Seen My Dad? achieved. Click Here For Article


Gaslighting is My Love Language at Just The Tonic

June 11, 2024    North West End

Review of Gaslighting is My Love Language

Gaslighting is My Love Language at Just The Tonic

 Click Here For Review


Dorks n Orks

June 8, 2024    Starburst

Review of Dorks 'n' Orks: Live!

Dorks n Orks

Dorks and Orks is the first attempt we’ve seen at actually trying to turn fantasy TTRPGs into a game-show-style affair. The show uses a custom-made Virtual Table Top to show rather than tell the audience what’s going on in the fantasy adventure. There are also puzzles built into the adventure, some of which are hilariously obvious to the audience and less so to the comedians. Very funny and worth seeking out.

Live performance table-top gaming is a relatively new format for stage shows; of the countless improv shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, only five or six can be described as D&D adjacent. As such, the actual format is still being explored by performers. For every ‘comedians at a table’-style show, such as Tartan Table-top or Character Building Experience, we have something more experimental, such as Mistakes Were Made or The Twenty-Sided Tavern.
Dorks and Orks is the first attempt we’ve seen at actually trying to turn fantasy TTRPGs into a game-show-style affair. The result is an interesting mix between Oxventure and the classic kids’ TV show, Knightmare. The show uses a custom-made Virtual Table Top to show rather than tell the audience what’s going on in the fantasy adventure. There are also puzzles built into the adventure, some of which are hilariously obvious to the audience and less so to the comedians.
Our host is Gary Colman, who is a rakish, sardonic host. He’s assisted by a small band of skilled improv comedians, and as always, the characters are pretty silly. Colman is the seemingly reluctant Dungeon Master, hosting the show in an almost panel show style. Gary Colman’s approach is more Game Show Host than Dungeon Master, though he’s not bad at the latter, happily spinning tall tales and trying to keep his players in line. On the game’s mechanic side of things, the show mostly uses an oversized twenty-sized die as a sort of comedy firework, rolled only to serve as punctuation for a gag and not really changing the narrative. This is very much ‘on rails’, thanks to the use of graphics on the show.
This deflates some of the anarchic spark common in these shows. Dorks and Orks do a good job of blending technology with table-top gaming, though that does take away some of the creative magic that we see in shows such as Questing Time. It is still very funny and worth seeking out if you can.
 Click Here For Review


Review Dorks n Orks Live!

June 8, 2024    Edinburgh Reviews

Review of Dorks 'n' Orks: Live!

Review Dorks n Orks Live!

“Feeling dorky? I think you should consider levelling up and multi-classing to Dorks ‘n’ Orks. “Ideal for geeks, gamers…. and anyone who likes a bit of impro comedy.” “Dorks ‘n’ Orks is an excellent show to take tweens to. If you have D&D curious kids, then this is a critical hit.” Click Here For Review



Best show this Fringe Season

June 6, 2024    Fringefeed

Review of 2 White Guys Rapping: Whose Rhyme is it Anyway?

Best show this Fringe Season

"Award-winning comedian, Daniel Delby is a comic who can rap, while Macshane is a rapper who can make jokes. Together they make the perfect pair of entertainers. You will not be able to stop laughing as they cleverly create hilarious raps about random topics. This original show is made even more unique by the interactive and varied games throughout."

You never know what you are going to get with this impromptu show. The artists look like they're having fun while performing, creating a nice energy that the audience is able to bounce off"

If you enjoy comedy and rapping, this is the show for you. I believe it is o Click Here For Review


How is he still single?

June 6, 2024    FringeFeed

Review of 33 Years Single

How is he still single?

 Click Here For Review


Brighton Fringe Review

June 6, 2024   The Brighton Seagull

Article about Nathan Cassidy: International Man of Mestory

Brighton Fringe Review

Great art comes out of great pain, or so says Cassidy in International Man Of Mestory: a comedic retelling of crying in bed after losing the love of your life (and staying with your mum for a week). And this show really does prove it; it's in his eyes—I oft wonder whilst watching Cassidy just how close to the truth his comedy is. Does he wonder if anyone stays together anymore? Two-time winner of Seagull's Fringe Friday best standup, Cassidy delivers once again with the play-by-play of making small talk with his mum and his love of Phil Collins. Go and see him! It's the least you can do. Click Here For Article


Amy Hetherington: Juggle Review: Fringe World Perth 2023

May 15, 2024    Perth Happenings

Review of Amy Hetherington: Juggle (An Aussie Guide to Keeping a Toddler Alive)

Amy Hetherington: Juggle Review: Fringe World Perth 2023

What could be better than leaving the kids at home on a Thursday night and heading to see a comedy show about motherhood, chaotic toddlers, and nipple tassels? Seriously, not much.

Amy Hetherington shares her story of being a new mum and the never-ending roller-coaster ride that goes with it. After having a baby and losing her sexiness, Amy goes on a Facebook filled quest (because where else would you go for sound advice??) to find it again. And so begins the ups and downs that are inevitable when you listen to mums in an online help group. Full of hilarious and graphic anecdotes, a bit of poking fun at her husband (in a loving way of course), so much honesty, and just a smidgen of over sharing, you would be absolutely kicking yourself to miss this one!

As a mum, I have honestly never seen a more relatable show. There were so many “Omg, yes, me too!” and “oh crap, tell me you didn’t!?” moments throughout. Make sure you hold on to your pelvic floor ladies, this is definitely a laugh till you pee kind of show (easier for some of us to achieve than others!).

Amy is just so much fun. Vibrant, down to earth, and full of crazy toddler energy that she’s possibly stolen from her daughter, she’s got to be, without a doubt, the funniest person in Darwin.

The vibe she creates is so friendly and welcoming, Juggle is more like a laugh between friends than a comedy show.

So whether you’re a mum, a dad or just someone who is up for a good laugh (especially at someone else’s expense) this show is for you. With so many shows to choose from at Fringe, you have to make sure Amy Hetherington is on your list! Click Here For Review


Brighton Fringe Review

May 5, 2024   The Brighton Seagull

Article about Nathan Cassidy: The Spine That Shagged Me

Brighton Fringe Review

The Seagull’s Best Standup two years running, Nathan Cassidy’s relentless pace has not let up as he brings the first of two new shows to the Fringe this year. We’re treated to a hilarious meander through The Life Of Pi, the wonders of diazepam and stealing from the Post Office, with an underlying darkness that complicates and unsettles without ever throwing you off entirely. He even managed to make his adlibs—from dealing with a heckler to borrowing our editor’s dog-shaped handbag—loop back and feed into the classically Cassidyan big finale. You know what the deal is by now, readers: if you see there’s a Nathan Cassidy show on, go to it. Click Here For Article


TOTALLY IMPROVISED MUSICAL

April 20, 2024    Frankly My Dear UK

Review of The Totally Improvised Musical

TOTALLY IMPROVISED MUSICAL

Improv comedy group Comedy Sportz is bringing their monthly comedy show, TOTALLY IMPROVISED MUSICAL, to Waterside Arts. The show is exactly what it sounds like—an improvised musical. The audience and cast turn up, the audience suggests musical titles that they want to see, and Comedy Sportz improvises an entire musical based on the chosen title. They then come back after the interval and do it all again with a new title!

This musical starred host Sean Mason, Chris Tavner, Rachel Wareing, John Cooper, Vicki Mitchem, and Ben Hodge. The musicals in question? Colonic Irrigation Superstar and Nursing Home Nightmares.

Colonic Irrigation Superstar stars Chris Tavner as the owner of a colonic irrigation clinic that wants nothing more than to run off into the sunset with his colleague, played by Rachel Wareing. How can he achieve this? By having John Cooper’s character perform an illegal colonic irrigation on Charles, the evil dentist (played by Sean Mason), achieve his license, and take over the clinic. Meanwhile, characters played by Vicki Mitchem and Sean Mason have an astounding amount of illegally obtained three-meter-long pipes they need to get rid of and a TikTok account that could answer the clinic’s problems.

Standout performances of Colonic Irrigation Superstar come from Tavner, Mason, and Cooper. Tavner’s improv is quick, hilarious, and wonderfully eccentric. He and Mason play off each other expertly, particularly in Mason’s performance of Charles the evil dentist’s song Mind Games. With their combined physical comedy and Mason’s surreal, bizarre, and hysterical vocal performance of Mind Games, they create one of the best musical numbers of the evening.

Another excellent physical comedy performer is Cooper, who gave another standout number in the form of the love ballad, I Know My Own Mind. His characterisation and storytelling offered a sympathetic note to an otherwise fantastically ridiculous storyline.

How the cast can put together a story and songs on the spot that is equally hysterical and harmonious is outstanding and makes for an ideal Friday night watch. Combined with the quick, upbeat, and clever musical accompaniment of the musicians, who the evening wouldn’t be complete without, Totally Improvised Musical is a masterclass of improvised entertainment. And the fact that the audience, cast, and musicians have no idea where it’s going only adds to the charm.

After the interval, we’re treated to the hilarious Nursing Home Nightmares. Starring Tavner as the manager of a disillusioned and debt-ridden nursing home, Wareing as a confused and crass resident, Mason as a retired war hero, Mitchem as fearful and forceful resident Hyacintha (who also goes by Rosemary), and introducing Ben Hodge as the optimistic activities coordinator.

Wareing and Mitchem gave standout performances of Nursing Home Nightmares, creating absurd and recognisable characters. Their performance of Is This Death? is the highlight of the musical, featuring two pensioners experiencing virtual reality for the first time, including dinosaurs and a black void. Wareing and Mitchem’s use of physical comedy and command of the scenes help drive the piece forward even when it lost its way. They are an unstoppable force, and Wareing’s ingenious inclusion of absurd backing dance moves to some of the other musical numbers ensures that every moment is fulfilled to the utmost.

The best bit of Nursing Home Nightmares is all of the cast callbacks to Ben Hodge’s reference to the Falklands being on the nursing home’s history quiz and his obvious lack of knowledge about it. With repeated references to the “advanced age” of those who remember the Falklands and putting Hodge on the spot to sing about events that happened in the sixties, this is the joke that keeps on giving and really frames the performance. The cast’s ability to laugh at themselves, to use a running joke for all its worth, and to bring an improvised piece full circle is outstanding and showcases improv comedy at its finest.

Totally Improvised Musical is performed monthly, and venues can be found on Comedy Sportz’ website. It’s a fun, carefree, and memorable night out that guarantees hilarity, absurdity, fantastic vocals, and catchy songs that you won’t hear anywhere else. They also offer workshops and short courses on improv comedy and their award-winning competitive comedy show, ComedySportz, which takes place at Waterside Arts every month.

TOTALLY IMPROVISED MUSICAL was performed at Sale Waterside Arts on 19 April 2024 Click Here For Review


‘The house of commons is a posh white peoples’ rap battle’

March 4, 2024    Morning Star

Review of Alvin Liu: Rice

‘The house of commons is a posh white peoples’ rap battle’

ALVIN LIU is from China, where a thriving stand-up scene has developed in the past few years in Shanghai and Beijing — though your entire venue might get shut down if someone makes a joke that could even vaguely be construed as a slight against the motherland.

No such problems in Britain — yet — and there are some very funny Chinese comics up-and-coming on the London scene, including Chin Wang and the brilliant Blank Peng. Liu definitely has the chops to join them, with his by turns universal and deeply personal observations building up to an excellent debut hour.

The set begins as all comedy shows should: with the performer’s mother singing a karaoke song in Mandarin, and it’s Liu’s relationship with his mother, across decades, continents, viewpoints, and languages, that form the backbone to his material.

He is charm personified, putting this multinational and multilingual crowd immediately at ease — even the people who weren’t expecting it to be in English. We’re hooked into his world with a barrage of well-honed gags interspersed with quieter, more reflective, but still subversive material — some of which flies over the head of the audience, who seem occasionally unsure of how they are supposed to react.

Particularly brilliant are sections on depression — knowingly presented as a decadent Western indulgence — and Chinese schooling, in which one learns that one plus one equals China has a thriving agricultural sector.

Crowd-pleasing dunks on Japan — his perspective on Oppenheimer is worth the price of admission alone — are leavened with clever, unexpected observations on cultural differences over body image, sex, and sexuality. Liu’s thoughts on oppression, and how self-identity is policed even in the very young, are important in any language.

The conclusion to this hour is strong, but could perhaps be better seeded early in the narrative. The bits on racism are beautifully observed but could do with being further unpacked; Liu’s relationship with the West, via English teachers and American hip hop, is a rich seam worthy of further exploration.

And so, too, is the material about the country Liu and his mother find themselves in.

“Sure we can’t buy freedom, but you can’t buy eggs,” points out Liu in a gleeful reversal of orientalist assumptions. Britain’s economic, cultural and political decline is skewered brilliantly here, and I’m curious to see how it goes down in, say, Dunstable, or Doncaster.

Liu punches up and exposes the ludicrous nature of our own Parliament, and of our “two party” system — jokes that seem beyond our current, home-grown comedy establishment, but in a way that is inclusive, easy to access, and very, very funny.

He’s definitely one to watch, and I don’t mean in a surveillance-state kind of way.

Alvin Liu performs Rice at Museum of Comedy, London, on May 4, and then tours Click Here For Review


How is he still single?

February 9, 2024    FringeFeed

Review of 33 Years Single

How is he still single?

How is he still single?!?



From the beginning, Delby embraces the stage with his charm and wit, all the while, beaming a smile to make you blush. He is authentic in his approach and tells you real stories of his dating life, albeit not much of one, and how it came to be. Recounting stories, old and new, with punchlines peppered throughout, he tells these in a way that you can see reflect his hilarious personality.



Occasionally laughing at his own thoughts, he spoke out loud, he pulls memories and turns them into jokes, making himself cackle in the meantime.



I was on the edge of my seat, even spitting my drink out at one point.



Involving the crowd, but without heckling, he pulled suggestions and turned them into hilarious rap songs to compliment his show.



Delby is a must-see for your fringe experience. He will have you leaving the show with a grin, wanting to see his next show too. Click Here For Review


Brighton Fringe Review

February 6, 2024   The Brighton Seagull

Article about Nathan Cassidy: International Man of Mestory

Brighton Fringe Review

Great art comes out of great pain. And this show really does prove it. Cassidy delivers once again. Go and see him! It's the least you can do. Click Here For Article


Fringe Review: 3:30pm on the Last Day of School

February 3, 2024    GLAM Adelaide

Review of After the Bell on the Last Day of School

Fringe Review: 3:30pm on the Last Day of School

Being a teacher has a unique set of challenges, not the least of which is trying to avoid being seen by students outside of school, and pretending to not be hungover during class. Ty Gray, a teacher of the unusual combination of high school drama and legal studies, shares his highly relatable experiences as a teacher in this 45-minute stand up show.

Ty’s storytelling is well-paced and well-structured, thankfully avoiding a common stand-up pitfall. He keeps the show moving, even through moments of audience interaction, and tells stories that are all too relatable, including dealing with teenagers both in school and in the street, the various kinds of teachers found in schools, and the different challenges teachers face in the private versus the public system. The jokes were funny, and while there were plenty of moments that would never be said aloud in a school setting, Ty also never crossed the line into jokes that might get him fired from his day job.


The audience was stacked with teachers and those who work in education, which is no surprise considering the show is really aimed at teachers and those who know the ins and outs of the education system. This show may not land as well for an audience of non-educators, but if this packed performance is anything to go by, finding an audience will be no issue. I definitely recommend this for any teachers who need a laugh and to feel seen after a stressful week in the classroom. Click Here For Review


How is he still single?

February 2, 2024    Fringefeed

Review of 33 Years Single

How is he still single?

How is he still single?!?



From the beginning, Delby embraces the stage with his charm and wit, all the while, beaming a smile to make you blush. He is authentic in his approach and tells you real stories of his dating life, albeit not much of one, and how it came to be. Recounting stories, old and new, with punchlines peppered throughout, he tells these in a way that you can see reflect his hilarious personality.



Occasionally laughing at his own thoughts, he spoke out loud, he pulls memories and turns them into jokes, making himself cackle in the meantime.



I was on the edge of my seat, even spitting my drink out at one point.



Involving the crowd, but without heckling, he pulled suggestions and turned them into hilarious rap songs to compliment his show.


Delby is a must-see for your fringe experience. He will have you leaving the show with a grin, wanting to see his next show too. Click Here For Review


3:30pm on the Last Day of School

January 20, 2024    Fringefeed

Review of After the Bell on the Last Day of School

3:30pm on the Last Day of School

Lovable larrikin Ty Gray regaled us with tales from the life of a school teacher - both as seen by the kids and when letting their hair down (literally and figuratively). Many of the stories Melbourne-based Ty recounted centred on his own experiences, and the way he tells it he certainly seems to have had a fun time over the years.



Teachers are professionals and Ty gave the impression that at certain times they are almost obliged to be full-time actors especially when responding to some of the ridiculous interactions that occur in and out of the classroom. And the way Ty expounded them I was frequently crying with laughter.



As might be expected given the promotional material, there were quite a few teachers in the audience and, judging by the roars of laughter, they identified with many of the shenanigans Ty described. But don’t worry we have all spent enough time in classrooms over the years for the jokes to work just as well for non-teachers.



Who would have thought that teachers are actually human beings with flaws and quirks and weird habits all of their own? How far should teachers go to hide this fundamental truth from their students?



There are a few contradictions in Ty’s delivery and presence as he is both relaxed but also a little bit hyper, a sort of yogi party animal. And here’s a little survey/ quiz for everyone to mull over:

What is the worst class to have to teach with a hangover?
If you could ask any question, anonymously, in your sex education class, what would you ask?


Great teachers are so important for our kids and I am encouraged by seeing a character such as Ty in the profession, although I fancy that Ty is eyeing up a full time career in standup comedy. Catch him at the Comedy Garden before he gets seriously famous. Click Here For Review


October 8, 2023    North West End

Review of MATES: The Improvised 90s Sitcom

MATES is an improvised theatrical performance which takes it’s inspiration from the 90s sitcoms we all know and love. Complete with the over the top characters, stereotypes and of course a New York back drop.
Unlike the classic sitcoms this team doesn’t need a laugh track to tell its audience when it’s funny. These three talented performers had the audience laughing from the get go with their charisma and overall likability. Just like the characters from everyone’s favourite sitcoms, this cast are charming, funny and a little goofy at times, you really do feel immediately that you’re amongst a few mates.
In this improvised performance the audience choose the name of the episode by shouting out random words or locations for a double bill episode of this amusing sitcom. Once selected the all too familiar Friends episode name is created: “The One With The …”. In our performance it become “The One With The Funeral, Fancy Dress Party And Video Store”, Fashioning into a beanie bear deal gone wrong and a run in with a member of the Back Street Boys.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show as did the audience from what I could tell. The crew really understood the formatting of a 90s sitcom and made sure to drop in plenty of 90s references throughout which made for a very entertaining 55 minutes of comedy and a sitcom I could very much see myself watching on the television.
 Click Here For Review


EDINBURGH 2023: Review: YES-YA-YEBO!, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

August 17, 2023   Broadway World

Article about Yes-Ya-Yebo!

EDINBURGH 2023: Review: YES-YA-YEBO!, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

 Click Here For Article


CeilidhKids at the Fringe

August 3, 2023    All Edinburgh Theatre

Review of CeilidhKids at the Fringe

CeilidhKids at the Fringe

★★★★★ Perfection

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (Venue 170): Thurs 3 – Sun 27 Aug 2023
Review by Torya Hughes

CeilidhKids return to the Counting House with their popular family dances, aimed at providing the youngest audiences with a taster of traditional Scottish dance.

Compere Caroline Brockbank has been running CeilidhKids for around 16 years, after finding a lack of accessible ceilidhs when her own children were young. The company operates in and around Edinburgh throughout the year, even branching out into seated ceilidhs for the elderly and special events for those with dementia. This emphasis on accessibility makes for a very welcoming atmosphere, with no pressure to take part and an emphasis on fun.

The Counting House Ballroom is a good size for a busy group of dancers, with around 60 children and grown ups in attendance. The suggested age range is 3-7yrs, but there are some young teenagers who are happy to join in, and several babies who seem to enjoy just bouncing along to the music. Although there are some seasoned dancers in attendance, there are also first time participants from as far as China and Philadelphia.

Caroline leads her audience through a series of simple rhythm games to get started, clapping and stamping at first, then patting their bottoms in time to the beat – cue much hilarity from the younger ones! After a warm up, it’s time for the only ceilidh dance using the original steps, a traditional Gay Gordons. As with all of the dances, there are modifications to allow one adult to dance with two children, or to accommodate smaller children who might get tangled up with the original moves.

There are plenty of other traditional dances included, but in much simpler arrangements to allow everyone to join in. The Swedish Masquerade becomes Giants, Trees and Frogs, with some freestyle jumping at the end, while a Flying Scotsman leaves out some of the more complex moves but retains the basic shape of the dance. The whole thing ends with a variation of the Circassian Circle, thankfully without any of the progression of the original!

Caroline tailors the set perfectly to her young audience, including plenty of water breaks and taking the time to walk every dance through before starting. The music is recorded, but the lack of a live band does not detract from the atmosphere. I took my 5yr old, who said that she liked jumping and spinning the best, and wants to go back again. This is the perfect way to introduce young children to ceilidh. Click Here For Review


My Toxic Marriage

July 28, 2023   UK Times

Article about Gaslighting is My Love Language

My Toxic Marriage

 Click Here For Article


The UK Pun Off

November 5, 2022   Notts Comedy Review

Article about UK Pun Off

The UK Pun Off

Tonight I was at the Playwright for the first ever live UK Pun Off, which was debuting as part of the Nottingham Comedy Festival. Although there was some unavoidable noise bleed from the bar, John Morris had laid the room out well and it’s well suited to comedy.

It was nice to see what is effectively a showcase for one-liner comedians, as puns don’t always get the respect they deserve. The format of the night was that there were five categories to be punned: music, zoo, Europe, films and fruit and veg and each act would take it in turn to pun the topic of that round and this would be completed three times to complete the round. This was then followed by MacDonald taking puns from the audience, which was nicely interactive and helped everyone to feel invested in the show, especially an audience member on the second row, who was really into this. With four contestants and five rounds, scores were level until the final category, which meant that the winner of the medallion was undecided until right to the very end.

Iain MacDonald

I can remember seeing MacDonald at the UK Pun Championships in 2017 and I was impressed by him then and I’ve admired his work ever since, so seeing him at this event was a real pleasure. Tonight, resplendent in his UK Pun Off tshirt, he had what was probably the hardest job of the night. Not so much keeping the show on schedule and balanced between contestants, which he achieved seemingly effortlessly, but to not get carried away and dominate proceedings. MacDonald managed to be funny, authoritative and to let the others shine, which was good going. He had a great night.

Lin Smith

This was Smith’s debut on the Pun Off, but you wouldn’t have known it. She’s a musical comedian, who appeared tonight sans instruments, but as her word play was good, the lack of musical kit didn’t hold her back. There were some good jokes on display and the toppers – underused by the other acts – added a lot to what she was doing. It might have helped her a touch if she had spoken a little bit more slowly, as I don’t think everyone heard every word she said, but she still did well.

Richard Pulsford

On his fourth show of the day, you’d have expected Pulsford to look more tired than he did. Either way, it didn’t interfere with the sheer quality of his output. In terms of construction, writing and delivery, he really does remind me of Tony Cowards and that I do like. I’d argue that he had the best quality jokes of the contestants. In terms of construction, he was well ahead of the rest. Meerkats was arguably the best joke of the whole show.

Stevie Vegas

With his R2D2 suit and props, Vegas stood out. Whilst he had some decent jokes, such as hippo, he didn’t really get chance to make the most of the props and it might have benefited him to have injected a bit more of his personality into proceedings.

Friz Frizzle

Friz was the well deserved winner of the show. They were a real presence in the room and whilst this might be partly due to them being sat in the corner (with keyboard) and being left with the contestant’s mic at the end of each round, they were happy to heckle, ad lib and generally throw themself more into the night than the rest, who kept the funny to their own parts. This ensured that they were great fun and had more chance to be funny throughout. Perhaps half of their answers were in the form of songs, which gave them the chance to work in 2-3 punchlines on each. I was impressed by their nous in getting an audience volunteer to assist in one joke. This really kept what they were doing fresh and different to the others. Frizzle was the most entertaining of the panel through the entire course of the night. Click Here For Article


In comedy newbies vs comedy veterans, youngsters win

October 4, 2022    The Age

Review of Nick Schuller: Still Dry White

In comedy newbies vs comedy veterans, youngsters win

There’s no hyperbole in stating this is the strongest Comedy Zone ensemble of rising stars yet – no mean feat considering the line-up hand-picked by the festival has previously showcased Hannah Gadsby, Celia Pacquola and Ronny Chieng.

Nick Schuller’s snail-paced drawl was perfectly timed as he deconstructed Cardi B’s WAP and the backstory of Eminem’s most famous lyric, alongside a conversation with Beethoven about his compositions now being used to soothe crowds at McDonald’s. Click Here For Review


In comedy newbies vs comedy veterans, youngsters win

October 4, 2022    The Age

Review of Nick Schuller: Still Dry White

In comedy newbies vs comedy veterans, youngsters win

Nick Schuller’s snail-paced drawl was perfectly timed. Click Here For Review


FRINGEWORLD 2021 | Comedy Striptease | 4 Stars

June 19, 2021    The fourth wall

Review of Comedy Striptease

FRINGEWORLD 2021 | Comedy Striptease | 4 Stars

Just when you thought comedy couldn’t get better – or maybe that should read – just when you thought stripping couldn’t get funnier. Combining the two things that most of us all love about FRINGEWORLD, Comedy Striptease gives us the sexy sizzle and bared belly laughs we all enjoy.

The premise is simple, make the crowd laugh or get your gear off. Leaving us hoping that the sexier comedians aren’t actually the funnier comedians.

In a short amount of time we are given a lot of laughs and a lot of leg. If you want a show where you can see some very inventive dance moves and very unique gyration, this could be right up your alley. Having a lap dance by a comedian sporting a turtleneck and a beard could be just the thing you never realised you wanted.

The Laugh Mob bring us a line up of some of the best comedy acts in the festival, giving us a very tasty taste of the fringe festivities.

The perfect way to get your partner to the strippers without getting yourself into too much trouble. It’s racy, it’s provocative and a great night out. The show takes us through all of the highs and lows of ‘take some of it off’ to the ‘put some of it back on’, and has us all laughing at some of the greatest moves in town.

Magic Mike was never as funny as this and the showgirls of the Moulin Rouge have never been able to diversify their act quite like the girls and guys that can make you laugh and make you blush.

Does it get any better than laughs and nudity … I certainly don’t think so! And neither do the lucky few on the couches in the front row! Click Here For Review