Gordon Southern – The Kerfuffle

By Ron Bingham 

Gordon Southern is from Scotland, married to an Australian and living in Brixton. Apparently kerfuffle is a Scottish word, which is a fun fact. The audience were mostly from Scotland today, the ‘two for one’ Monday on a bank holiday brings them out, (according to Gordon – I’m not the one doing the racial stereotyping). The room is full and rather steamy.

The show has Gordon talking about his parents, living in Brixton during the riots, last year’s Jubilee and being married to a girl from South Australia (by the way, the number of UK comedians to go to Australia for a wife…. is there some sort of website where this gets organised?). It was a very subdued audience for the show this evening and Gordon wasn’t getting the laughs he expected at some points during the show, which I think was putting him off (he did mention the lack of response a couple of times).

There is a lot of good material in the show and it should become more polished as the festival goes on. The only props Gordon uses are some small animals and a sound machine. There are a couple of rap songs to finish the show and a tiny smidgeon of Greek mythology. Gordon’s interaction with the audience is polished and his fake biographies of a couple of audience members is well worked into the routines that follow. The stories about his dad and wife are well told and funny, but some of the linking material is a bit more edgy and experimental.

You can see it now while it’s cheap and he is still experimenting with his new material or wait a week or so until it’s (hopefully) seamless. The Kerfuffle would also have benefited from a more boisterous audience, but it was only 5.45pm and they’d only just started drinking.

Gordon Southern – The Kerfuffle is on at The Gilded Balloon Teviot at 5.45pm

The Aussie Invasion of the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe – Now With Extra Danger!

By Colin Flaherty

It’s almost August and that means Edinburgh Fringe time. Quite a few Australian performers are heading north for a Scottish summer.

Our London based Squirrel Ron will be covering Fringe for us; covering both Australian acts and other performers who may venture to our shores in the future.

A browse of the program reveals some interesting shows from the Aussies. Many comedians are bringing their current shows seen in the Australian festivals including David Quirk with the show that won him the “Piece of Wood Award”. Joint Newcomer winners in 2012, Ronnie Cheing and Matt Okine, are taking their current shows.

Tommy Little, Mel Buttle & Josh Thomas have recently cancelled their Edinburgh runs due to television commitments. Josh is going Hollywood instead, his TV series Please Like Me is being picked up by a new US cable channel Pivot TV which is aimed at young people and will air from August 1st.

Myf Warhurst hosts a chat show Showcatcher that features all manner of festival guests spruiking their festival shows.

Expat Bec Hill is going to be a busy beaver this Festival. She is performing in her own stand up show (Bec by Popular Demand), a two-hander show with Patrick Monahan (Bec Hill and Patrick Monahan’s Hour of Fun!), a children’s sketch show (Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry) and is hosting Pun Run, the UK’s only pun-based comedy club.

Yianni has an intriguing concept this year: a series of free shows at The Dram House leading up to a huge ticketed show at Venue150 @ EICC. Will he fill Edinburgh’s largest room?

The 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 02 – 26 August. Shows for 2013 are now on sale!


Here’s the list of shows. If we’ve previously reviewed a show we’ve added the link.

If we’ve missed anyone, please drop us a line.


Adam Hills: Happyism @ Assembly Hall

Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night @ Assembly Checkpoint

Alex Williamson @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Bec Hill: Bec by Popular Demand @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Bec Hill and Patrick Monahan’s Hour of Fun! @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Pun Run (hosted by Bec Hill) @ The Canons’ Gait

Claudia O’Doherty: Pioneer @ Pleasance Courtyard

Damian Clark in G’Damo! @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Daniel Townes – I Think So I’m Ready @ Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Dave Callan: The Psychology of Laughter @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

David Quirk – Shaking Hands With Danger @ Pleasance Courtyard
Here’s our review from MICF 2013 :

Dayne Rathbone – It’s Me Dayne @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Die Roten Punkte – Kunst Rock (Art Rock) @ AssemblyGeorge Square

Dr Professor Neal Portenza’s Interactive Goat Hour: There are no goats and the show is only 54 minutes long, excluding the bonus minute @ The Dram House Upstairs

Eric Hutton’s Favourite Songs @ Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Evolution of iMaAN @ Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Felicity Ward: Irregardless @ Underbelly, Bristo Square

Hannah Gadsby: Nakedy Nudes (Departs from Assembly Rooms, Bristo Place)

Hannah Gadsby: Happiness is a Bedside Table @ Assembly Roxy
Here’s our review from MICF 2013 :

Instant Order: Trial By Audience (featuring Karin Danger, Scott Gooding, Katie Lockett & Sean Fabri) @ The Dram House Upstairs

Jen Carnovale: Not a Person Person @ Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Jimeoin: Yes,Yes, Whatever…?! @ Venue150 @ EICC

John Robertson – The Dark Room @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Jon Bennett: My Dad’s Deaths @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Karin Danger: Hot Box @ Just the Tonic at The Caves ​

KelFi & FiKel @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Lisa-Skye – Ladyboner @ C venues – C nova
Here’s our review from MICF 2012 :

Matt Okine: Being Black & Chicken & S#%t @ Underbelly, Bristo Square

Not Suitable for Drinking (Sydney sketch trio) @ Ciao Roma

Ronny Chieng: The Ron Way @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Rob Lloyd: Who, Me @ Just The Tonic at Bristo Square

Showcatcher (hosted by Myf Warhurst) @ Assembly George Square

Storytellers’ Club @ Pleasance Courtyard

Unmanageable (Featuring expat Kim Hope) @ Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Yianni in Think Big @ The Dram House & Venue150 @ EICC

Dr Brown wins Fosters Comedy Award

After winning the Barry at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Dr Brown (Phil Burgers) has once again taken top prize. He has taken out the award for his show “Befrdfgth”, outshining James Acaster,
Josie Long, Tony Law & Claudia O’Doherty.

The Best Newcomer went to Daniel Simonsen,
the Spirit of the Fringe was given to the Boy With Tape On His Face (Sam Wills)

Mace and Burton: Rom Com Con

By Ron Bingham

The premise of this show is that Lizzie and Juliette were together about eighteen months ago, with one having been dumped and the other long term single, watching a marathon session of romantic comedies. One of them then persuaded the other to do a road test of the ‘getting together’ (hitching up, falling in love, whatever) scenario’s of the best films in the genre to prove whether the movies were based in reality in any way. I will confess right now that I have only seen one of the hundred movies on the list (Love Actually, in the cinema with a female friend many years ago) so I had to take their word for the plots and lines used.

They had a couple of rules for this experiment, with the most important one being that they would be honest. They went through a few films and eliminated some on the basis of danger, location, employment etc, showed a couple of the attempts and how disastrous they were (or not), had a few that were still waiting on results (one of the potential romances was going to be in the audience the next day for their penultimate performance) and there was a long sequence involving them using actors to see if they could fall in love with a ‘worst enemy’ type.

I would use examples of specific films and the situations if I had any recollection of which films were involved with what but I don’t want to appear a total fool. Just accept that Liz and Juliette were experts on the subject of the romantic comedy genre and, if there was a Mastermind for this, they would be Grand Champions. I won’t give details of the finale but the conclusions they make from their experiment in love, that being confident, honest and open seems to be a good thing, shouldn’t really surprise anyone. The journey to finding that conclusion out was the important thing, and some of the taped segments will have you shedding a tear over the emotions expressed.

Rom Com Con is on at The Cannons’ Gait

Suggs: My Life Story in Words and Music

By Lisa Clark

There’s nothing new in ex pop star icons performing nostalgic, autobiographical cabaret, but it does feel weird that a pop star from my generation is doing it. It was hard not to feel a bit old sitting in the middle-aged crowd and a bit apprehensive about what to expect. The show is in the comedy section of the Fringe guide, which seems promising, though in a music venue. (Unlike David Hasselhoff who is listed in the music section yet at a comedy venue.)

I needn’t have been so anxious as Suggs, frontman of early 80s ska band Madness, is a charismatic showman with impressive storytelling skills. Not so surprising when you think about the word picture stories he created singing songs like Baggy Trousers, Our House and House of Fun (hmm why ever was this not chosen as a song sung on the roof of Buckingham Palace???). Suggs used songs from Madness and others that influenced him to help illustrate his tale, which were used sparingly and effectively. It is also delightful to hear that Suggs still has a tuneful singing voice.

Suggs takes us on a colourful journey evoking detailed images of places he grew up, in Soho and Camden in London describing shops and streetscapes and the people he sees and meets there including gangs, friends and neighbourhood characters. For some in the audience it was a reminder of their own youth in these places for the rest of us it was a fascinating tour of a world we know only from music clips and movies. Framed by a sort of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ search for information about his Jazz singing father who abandoned the family when Suggs was three. We also learn how he was abandoned by his mum to live in country Wales with his cousins for a few years, then came back to London and joined a band that would later become Madness. His time with Madness is covered in detailed, but pop fame seems such a brief, bright spark in a long and colourful life.

Madness has reformed and it’s a pity the show doesn’t cover their recent triumphant performances at the Olympics and on the roof of Buckingham Palace for Her Maj, but this is a tightly scripted performance and maybe they’ll be kept for a sequel. It’s also impressive that Suggs seems to maintain a fairly stable home life with his wife of thirty years and two daughters who are starting to perform music. I do feel however that there is something missing, considering his own father’s problems, when he ignores his own darker side with alcohol etc, after incidents that have made the papers. Still maybe they were aberrations and this is a comedy, despite some dark issues, it’s kept pretty light and is very funny throughout. In fact the mood and style of the show perfectly mirrors the mood and style of songs sung by Madness and his true life stories certainly bring the lyrics to life. This is a must see for fans of Madness, but you could safely take someone who has never heard of band and they would still have a brilliant time in the company of the charming and eloquent survivor that is Suggs.

Suggs is on at Queens Hall

Simon Munnery – Fylm Makker

By Colin Flaherty

Simon Munnery is always pushing the boundaries of stand up and this performance is no exception. Broadcast via video link from the middle of the room, he performs sketches, monologues, puppetry and songs to camera using all sorts of video trickery to create a unique and hilarious show.

Keeping the audience’s attention fixed on a screen rather than the performer is a slightly odd, disembodied experience but it works brilliantly; the strange relationship between audience and performer sitting well with Simon’s often surreal material. A re enactment of his wife’s swim around the island, a musical tribute to the creator of the Zeppelin and a Mexican stand off are amongst the silly scenarios played out for us.

Mixing between 1mulitiple cameras he could create all sorts of visual transitions and interesting effects that provided something a million times more interesting than a bloke standing on stage. Simon kept some stand up tropes in his monologues (perhaps a microphone is a safety blanket) as well as adding the odd visual item for emphasis that echoed his “League Against Tedium” days. He enacted scenes using creatively crude paper puppets as characters. It was a little clunky at times but that added to the charm.

This is not a one man venture as musical accompaniment is provided by Mick Moriarty on guitar. As well as the wonderful musical backing to Simon’s singing/rapping he provided a soundscape and score to the sketches that fitted perfectly. He was able to convey moods to fit with the action in a seamless manner.

As a break for himself, Simon screened a short film he had made called “Rubbish Night”. Although he prefaced it with a warning that it may not be particularly amusing, the crowd found plenty of things in it to chuckle at.

My highlight of the Fringe thus far, Simon once again embraces the spirit of the Fringe and gives us something far removed from your basic stand up show. Bravo Mr Munnery, Bravo!

Simon Munnery – Fylm Makker is on at The Stand