Greg Proops

By Ron Bingham

He’s back and, unlike normal people, not mellowed with age. At this, his 20th (or 25th) year at the Fringe, he is playing in one of the big tents in the Assembly Gardens, quite appropriately called the Elegance, a room with wood panelling, mirrors and stained glass windows to let in the evening sun and bathe us all in a beatific glow, which is quickly dispelled when Greg comes on stage.

He starts with the Olympics and how the opening ceremony could have been improved, and then goes on to entertainingly insult almost every group/race/class/creed/religion he can in the hour. He also had to contend with noise from a nearby Irish band which became a drumming group, so Proops the comedy veteran adeptly worked them into the routine as he was going. He swears and berates the audience if they don’t get his jokes or laugh loud or quickly enough for his liking. It isn’t a show for the faint hearted or those who prefer their comedy slow and obvious. The routine about Ex-Mrs Macca which moved into an abuse session about the Scots, the Irish, the English, modern music, sport, Nascars and finally US politics, where he left us rather abruptly.

It involves very strong language, a bit of knowledge of American culture and politics would be handy (I didn’t understand why he eulogised US bacon, which is apparently ambrisoa). Greg pointed out his shows are getting earlier every year he comes to Scottishland from Californiania (as he calls them) and he predicts he’ll be doing a lunchtime show on the Royal Mile next year (with a weasel up his bum). Not likely.

Fans will love it all of course. See him if you love comedy that comes fast and multi-layered. I think they should rename the room the Curmudgeon for his shows, though.

Greg Proops is playing at The Assembly George Square in The Elegance.

http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/greg-proops

Eddie Pepitone’s Bloodbath

By Lisa Clark

There’s been a bit of buzz about town about Eddie Pepitone being a “Comedian’s Comedian” and there were certainly a few up the back the night I saw him. Eddie’s not sure how to take this as comedians can be a weird lot, often taking joy in another comedian’s self destruction. I think the reason that he stands out is that his act actually has a style and structure that goes back to the comedy of the great lounge style American comedians such as Bob Hope, Don
Rickles, but pairs this with the modern style self mocking and deprecation of Larry David, then throws in some surreal stories about made up characters and versions of himself that are silly and scary and arse-achingly funny.

There is an overall sense of Jeckle and Hyde about Eddie’s performance of taking us to dark places and shouting obscene, angry thoughts but then he always turns it around to show us the daggy, silly man behind the cloak, giggling at his own nerve. It’s a deconstructional side that hints at some of Daniel Kitson’s work and is just as endearing although there are times when I feel a bit disappointed that Eddie keeps pulling back as if afraid the audience won’t go all the way with him into the darkness.

The reason Eddie’s style is connecting with a modern audience is that it all comes from a real place. He’s not a political comedian, though he’s angry at society and he’s not an observational comedian, though there are a lot of things that happen that he can’t stand, the stories are all about himself, his feelings and experiences. His comedy comes from random ideas from his daily life and he works on them, often in front of an audience to build them out into a solid routine. Older style comedians often had gag writers create the jokes for them, Eddie’s act clearly comes from his heart and soul and luckily they’re both highly amusing.

Eddie Pepitone’s Boodbath is playing at Just the Tonic at The Caves

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver by Toby Hadoke

By Colin Flaherty

‘My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver’ is Toby Hadoke’s loose sequel to his previous show ‘Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf’. A warm, heartfelt exploration of father-son relationships (that covers not only the titular stepson but other offspring, his wives and an absent father) he wraps it in the framework of Doctor Who to make this story highly personal and attract an audience who perhaps wouldn’t normally go to see a show about abandonment issues

This is yet another show about Doctor Who fandom that also appeals to a wide audience by justifying the devotion and explaining the impact on the fan’s relationship with others. In doing so, Toby presents plentiful Who facts and opinions to delight/ignite the fans (his demonstrations of uber-devotion puts many others to shame) while progressing the story without getting sidetracked too much from the main story. He even throws in plenty of political and pop-culture references to prove that he isn’t a complete basement dweller.

On stage Toby comes across as eccentric enough to be individualistic but not so weird as to be a pitiful loner. He is wonderfully animated as he presents his views of the Who Universe, bouncing around the stage like an excited puppy, that it’s impossible not to get caught up in his enthusiasm. Even when not geeking out he tells his tale with genuine passion that sells the material perfectly. He makes use of enough gentle self-deprecation to portray himself as flawed without being a sad sack.

The staging of this show includes some visual elements via a video screen that go beyond merely illustrating points to the uninitiated by creating an amusing autobiographical photo album. The addition of some amusing captions provided some wonderful jokes on the peripheral that linked in to the main thread. Also on the AV front is a special audio treat by a revered figure in the Who Universe that will delight.

This is a brilliant hour in the company of a great storyteller that will delight all. It is sure to encourage you to go home and give your dad a big hug.

Toby Hadoke is on at the Gilded Balloon Teviot.
http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/my-stepson-stole-my-sonic-screwdriver

Ethan Addie: Rookie Mistakes

Ethan Addie is a young gay comedian that grew up in homophobic regional Australia – you’re laughing already right? He certainly is.

Ethan identifies with Beyoncé – but not the gay community. A self confessed ‘gay anti-hero’, he has made a lot of ‘Rookie Mistakes’ (Hey! That’s the name of his show!) After just twelve months of doing stand-up comedy Ethan is going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Here are five agayzing reasons you should see his show ‘Rookie Mistakes’:

1. He is the epitome of an ‘underdog’. He has only been doing stand-up comedy for twelve months and is doing what even veteran comedians fear – their first show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

2. Ethan is actually pretty funny. After just 6 months on the Melbourne comedy circuit he appeared in the Grand Final of the 2012 St Kilda Laughs Festival new comic competition and the Preliminary Final of the prestigious 2012 Australian Raw Comedy national talent search. He has since performed at the 2012 Melbourne Midsumma Festival, and the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

3. There is a hysterical surprise in the show. He won’t say much about what it is – it could involve Beyoncé herself (it doesn’t) and it could involve whipped cream (it doesn’t either).

4. Ethan’s story is unique. There isn’t a single reference to the good old fashioned gay-comedian-fallback-jokes (think MY MUM LOVES WINE AND IS AN ALCOHOLIC – LOL). From dating a Jehovah’s Witness to living with a Rent Boy to studying chemistry, Ethan enjoys sharing his ‘Rookie Mistakes’ with an unsuspecting audience. Even gay men are enlightened (usually terrified) by the stories that Ethan eases his audiences into *cough* so to speak.

5. The reason Ethan is doing the show. Ethan ran into an ex-boyfriend who was doing much better than him. Refusing to admit defeat, Ethan told a white lie. Everyone has done it. His lie was that he would be doing a solo stand-up show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Imagine his surprise when his ex replied that would be there, and would love to see the show. Was he serious? Ethan thought so.

Ethan is apart of PBH’s Free Fringe and the show runs from the 15th – 25th of August at The Street (Venue 239) at 6.30pm.

Ethan Addie: Rookie Mistakes listing in the fringe guide is here: http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/rookie-mistakes

 

Sarah Jones does not play well with others – Review from 24/9/2011

Originally reviewed by Colin Flaherty during Melbourne Fringe 2011 for Chortle AU.

While other ventriloquists use their puppets/dummies to express taboo thoughts and show off parlour tricks, Sarah Jones uses her Fringe debut to explore the theme of being an awkward social outcast in a sweet show that demonstrates her vocal dexterity.

We are introduced to Kitten, a cat who has grown to become a bitter feline, her Uncle Bruce who tries to improve the act as only a well meaning relative can, in addition to some clever puppets improvised from household items. All the characters are brought to life beautifully and their unflinching denial of puppetdom allows plenty of your standard smart alec remarks where the audience can laugh knowingly at the artificiality of the dialogue.

A number of the standard tricks are employed to display her talents. Singing a fast paced duet impresses all. The execution of rapid banter and comical misunderstandings are spot on as these are the basis of making this kind of act work. The human dummy routine is made her own by basing it on her awkwardness with the opposite sex; a welcome change from the “let’s humiliate the volunteer” shtick you get from others.

Each segment is preceded by a short vignette in which Jones portrays a pair of bitchy girls from her peer group critiquing the show. Although she seems to be playing it for laughs with the exaggerated voices and mannerisms, as well as some implied ignorance, these scenes are tragic rather than humorous.

Jones lays on the self deprecation thickly with a trowel. Every other line criticises her eccentricities and talents creating a show containing plenty of pathos. Although the lines are filled with cheeky humour and funny self referential quips, it has a strong bitter-sweet subtext. She always maintains her lower status even when the puppet shield allows her the opportunity to be forceful. Thankfully her sweet demeanour keeps us on side and cheering for her underdog. Breaking up the performance with silly throwaway jokes and some mild flirtation with punters also helps by adding some lightness.

This is an enjoyable and gentle show that doesn’t set out to offend, making it suitable for all ages. No one is in any danger being confronted by a renegade puppet in this performance.

For details of the Edinburgh run of this show visit http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/sarah-jones-does-not-play-well-with-others

5 Good Reasons to see Sarah Jones Does Not Play Well With Others – at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Sarah Jones is a Ventriloquist / Comedian from Melbourne currently living in London. She recently took a trip to Fort Mitchell, Kentucky for the World Ventriloquist Convention Vent Haven and is preparing for her first go at the Edinburgh Fringe. She’s found some time to give us all 5 Good Reasons to see her show…

1. The show has puppets. The quirky, whimsical kind, not the kind that come alive in the night and eat your soul. It’s a great show to see if you love puppets, like puppets, are indifferent to puppets or have a debilitating fear of puppets that you wish to overcome.

2. There’s a pretty funny Star Wars bit in. If you like Star Wars you will really enjoy it. If you don’t like Star Wars, well, it only goes for a few minutes so you can just close your eyes for a bit and think of things you do like. Like sex and cake and pugs wearing bow ties.

3. You can use it as an excuse to ask your crush on a date. If they say no you just say “yeah, I was totally joking! As if I would ask you out to a ventriloquist show. I don’t even like you anyway.”

4. If your crush says yes and you go to my show you will definitely get a second date. We can even secretly arrange for me to turn up at the next date and pretend that we’re friends. Your crush will be impressed that you know someone famous (we’ll lie and tell them that I’m super famous in Australia.) I’ll come up to you and say “Hi!” and you can say “Not, now I’m kinda busy.” Your crush will swoon because you are so badass and important.

5. It’s a ventriloquist show! Everyone likes ventriloquism right? Right? No, wait, don’t leave! Love me! Love me like I love you!

My show is this one:  http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/sarah-jones-does-not-play-well-with-others

Sarah Jones Does not Play Well with Others is on at C Venues – C Aquila from the 19th to the 27th of August at 2.30pm