Bart Freebairn: Maximum Delicious

By Ron Bingham

This show will make you hungry. Bart talks about his love of food, giving us examples of some of his favourites (not literally, sadly). He also tries to explain why employing a personal trainer is the perfect justification for being able to eat an entire cheesecake.

His stand-up comedy, while mostly food based, (and who can’t relate to food based comedy?) does also delve into first impressions of the UK from an Australian visitor and a number of other subjects. It is an hour of confident, funny and sharply observed humour, which should appeal to most comedy lovers.

Bart has been performing a bit under the radar in Australia for a few years now and it’s a shame, because he’s a charismatic performer who can bring audience members to tears of laughter. It’s fantastic to see him pulling full houses here (so buy a ticket if you want to be sure of a seat)  and the audience was certainly having an excellent time at the show I saw. Then finally, everyone was further rewarded with a Jaffa Cake at the end of the show. YUM.

Maximum Delicious is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves until August 25

Jayde Adams: The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face

By Ron Bingham

This year Jayde Adams has moved out of her comfort zone, removed her diva costumes, put down her singing voice and donned a turtleneck jumper, to deliver a lecture on the history of feminism and a little of her family history, as seen through the Jenner/Kardashian family. I was a little surprised as I only knew her through her songs, but this was an excellent show.

Jayde came out with her Serious Black Jumper (you can buy a SBJ after the show, so you too can be taken seriously), to explain her theory of how people listen to those wearing turtlenecks. She is also carrying a cane, as she said she stuffed her knee up on the second day of the run. Using the big screen on the stage, she explains how last year’s hugely successful Edinburgh show led to no further bookings as well as a change in her agent and the direction of her comedy. We are given a short history of the Jenner/Kardashian family, which was very handy for some of us (me), and how Kylie completely changed her facial structure using just some of her own-brand cosmetics (which led to her becoming a billionaire). Cue a number of scathing comments, a short history of feminism and a call to arms of the young. We also had a story of an embarrassing trip to a very posh restaurant in Paris and a slightly depressing family Christmas party.

Despite the lack of singing which I had expected, I really enjoyed this show. Lots of laughs, some interesting points and some very funny stories. Now I just have to remove all that information about the Jenner/Kardashian family from my brain and I’ll be happy. I highly recommend this great new direction from an established comic.

The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face is on at Pleasance Courtyard until August 25

Phil Ellis: Au Revoir

By Ron Bingham

After six years of performing at the Fringe, and with nothing to show for it apart from four broken relationships, two lost houses and five unaired pilot episodes for the BBC, Phil Ellis has decided this will be his farewell performance.

As he is a very deceptive performer, it is difficult to be sure whether any of this is true or not. Are those drunks in the audience real? Was that clown supposed to die like that? Is Phil really running that much overtime? (I can say yes to this at least as, even with all the hurry-ups from his soundman, we still finished ten minutes late). Was young Phil really that sexy looking and saucy? Why was that swingball set (totem tennis) on a stage much to small for it to be used without losing a few audience members? Was the can thrown by those drunks meant to swish so close to my head that it parted my hair and left a trail of Guinness foam in my hair? Only multiple visits would be able to determine the answers to these questions and, sadly, I think the rest of the run is sold out.

The show was packed and the audience was loving every minute of this show, even the melancholy and tragic bits. Phil is a comedian who, with an able band of willing to be very embarrassed friends, will leave an audience very happy but slightly mystified as to what was real and what was a fortuitous accident. Mug someone for a ticket to Au Revoir if you have to. One of my must-see shows this Fringe and I hope to see his “we reformed the band” visit next year.

Au Revoir is on at Heroes @ The Hive until August 25

Cally Beaton: Invisible

By Ron Bingham

Cally Beaton recently turned to stand-up comedy, after a traumatic break-up and a life changing experience in Iceland two years ago which she describes in Invisible. The title of the show stems from something said by French author Yann Moix a couple of years ago – women over fifty are invisible. Cally is out to disprove that claim in this wonderfully funny hour.

The show features stories of her two teenage children, her many and often spectacular break-ups with a number of gentlemen (during the show Cally mentions that she also dates women but we got no relationship horror stories about them. Hmmm), and her life as an invisible person.

Cally is an engaging storyteller with excellent jokes and routines, and her interactions with the audience were friendly and non-threatening. There are quite a few swear words but, as one of the most embarrassing stories involved her teenage kids, her vibrator and social media, any youngsters in the audience will probably be more relaxed about this than their parents. The ending is lovely, involving some pictures and music which relates to her main story (spoiler: she survived) and the full house were very vocal in their approbation at the end. This is an impressive performance – it’s hard to believe she only chucked in her old job for comedy two years ago. Thoroughly recommended, if only for the break-up song that someone left on her voicemail.

Invisible is on at Assembly George Square Studios until August 26

Nav Chima : Reality Sucks!

By Ron Bingham

Reality Sucks! is a morning show (11.25am) which runs for a little over half an hour. The venue is pleasantly cool but I’m afraid the comedy from Nav Chima just didn’t work for me.

She talks in a sing-song voice with a slight lilt at the end of each sentence (something us Aussie are often accused of) and speaks in little more than a whisper, never emphasising or pausing for punchlines – lacking the basics of comedic timing and stagecraft. Her stage presence was so slight she could have been replaced by an mannequin with a tape deck. Nav presents a series of absurdist stories which often seem to go nowhere and not bothering to change any of her references from Los Angeles for her UK audience certainly doesn’t help.

I can’t recommend it on the show I saw, but if you’re interested in seeing whether I am wrong (or just need to shelter from the rain before lunch) why not give this free show a try. It’s at Augustines, which is right next to some lovely eateries so you can be dry and fed.

Reality Sucks! is on at Paradise in Augustines until August 24

2 Clowns 1 Cup

By Ron Bingham

2 Clowns 1 Cup starts off quietly, as one of the clowns is being security guard, keeping the audience away from a large red button with Do Not Press. No surprises what happens when the other clown arrives.

From this beginning the two young energetic women (dressed a little clownishly) proceed into an hour of dances and comedy routines about puberty, sex, body positivity and sharing, with audio clips of people talking about their first sexual experiences and masturbation to which our clowns give slightly risque interpretations. The show is not for young kids, but there is nothing overtly offensive.

2 Clowns 1 Cup was an entertaining hour of education and high energy dances and slapstick routines, with some silly jokes and sneaky water pistols. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the hijinks, as the applause at the end demonstrated and I would definitely recommend the show for questioning young adults or anyone who enjoys a good co-ordinated dance routine with a comedy overlay. Sadly the dreadful name of the show might put some off but it’s actually surprisingly good. Recommended.

2 Clowns 1 Cup is on at Greenside @ Infirmary Street until August 17