Juliette Burton – Decision Time

By Ron Bingham
Decision Time

In Juliette’s previous shows (2013’s When I Grow Up and 2014’s Look At Me) we have learnt about her history of mental illness and how it impacted on her body image, confidence and eating habits. This year Juliette has to make a life-changing decision and she explores how difficult a decision it can be to someone who also suffers from anxiety, depression and OCD. No need to stress though, luckily Juliette is great at turning her complicated life into warm and captivating comedy.

The show starts with a short video of comedians and punters talking about difficult decisions and how they make choices. Juliette then explains her dilemma and the decision she needs to make by the end of the festival. We are treated to a family history (one word: farming), a few examples of the traumas she went through while growing up, a number of stories about her relationship with her partner (referred to as Handsome Bearded Man or HBM), and a comical look at the pros and cons of the choice she needs to make.

There are some very funny stories as well as a few heartbreaking ones, but, as ever, Juliette manages to keep the highs and lows of her life and relationship in perspective, and the final response from the audience was never really in doubt (rapt applause and a rousing positive cheer to how we would choose if we were in her position). This is a funny, thought provoking, insightful and searingly honest show which should be in a much larger room, as it will sell out. You will also receive a cool badge at the end of the show.

Decision Time is on at Gilded Balloon Teviot until August 28

Jen Collier – Jen Her

By Ron Bingham JENNYCOLLIER Jen Hur

Jen Collier is from Wales but is now living in London. She may be petite, over thirty and single, and have worked in a number of really crap jobs (such as a call centre and as a sales assistant in the poshest bathroom showroom in London), and have a slightly unhealthy obsession with bodily noises, but politeness dictates that I should refrain from confirming these scurrilous facts. Jen may also have a liking for multiple free breakfasts while on comedy tours, problems with acting school and saying the letter “s.” You’ll just have to see the show and hear her own hilarious account of these things.

While it can occasionally be awkward to be met and farewelled by a comedian as you leave a small gig, its always lovely to be greeted and warmly welcomed as you enter. Jen created a great atmosphere for her comedy from the outset and this congenial mood is maintained throughout. There was an apologetic confession that she hadn’t actually seen the film her show title is based on (Ben Hur) until very recently, but there was a lovely big comedy prop to induce laughs and make up for this tardiness.

If you have a fondness for bad puns Jen’s your comedian, a brilliant wordsmith, she also has great fun mucking about with a little Latin and Welsh. The audience enjoyed the show and joined in (sometimes a little too enthusiastically) when asked. A good fun hour of stand-up and story-telling from a talented performer.

Jen Collier performs Jen Her at Underbelly Med Quad


Croft & Pearce Are Not Themselves

By Ron Bingham Croft and Pierce

Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce, the stars of BBC Radio 4’s The Croft & Pearce Show and Spirit of the Fringe award-winners, present an impressive hour of seemingly unconnected sketches that are gradually drawn together into a single kooky world of weird characters.

Their main recurring characters, Jean and June, are upper middle class conservative villagers suffering from the ruination of their world (mostly due to the existence of Aldi and modern technology). Around them we have an apparently loving couple running a village deli, a pair of Australian tourists (sadly I must admit their stereotype of the boorish Aussie tourist is quite accurate but I will not accept their dodgy accents!), a sex therapist and her class (in which the duo learnt the dangers of trying to embarrass a middle-aged Scottish gentleman in the audience who was much more excited than he should have been), a very disciplined Brownie troupe, a legal office with the daughter of the boss being a little too musical for the team and the breakdown of a relationship.

The duo use no props or costumes (apart from the occasional hat and some cue cards in the finale), and everything is well paced and co-ordinated. With barely a pause between sketches, there were plenty of jokes and comical activity for the full house to enjoy. An hour of fast paced and well thought out comedy from a couple of rising stars in the comedy world. Will sell out (if it hasn’t already).

Croft & Pearce Are Not Themselves is on at Underbelly, George Square until August 28

The Red Richardson Experience

By Ron Bingham
Red Richardson

Red Richardson came to stand up from the world of internet videos a few years ago and this marks his second year at the Fringe. Unfortunately my hopes of seeing a fresh new stand up talent were dashed as this lazy show progressed.

The show started with a ten minute warm-up by fellow comedian Ed North, in which he basically chatted to the audience looking for something to work with. Then Red came on and delivered a 35-40 minute set filled with rambling stories which petered out without a punchlines, random racist and sexist comments, and self-deprecating comments about being from Devon, living in South London and being a twenty-something middle class layabout. It was the sort of routine you would expect to hear late at night in a London pub from someone pushed up on stage by his drunken mates.

If Red expects to make any money from this Festival, rather than just using the show as an excuse to party at the Fringe, he really needs to put down the bottle of beer during his (2.15pm) show and put a little effort into entertaining the audience (who didn’t get above a muted giggle at any point of the show). Disappointing.

The Red Richardson Experience is on at Gilded Balloon at the Counting House until August 29

NewsRevue 2016

By Ron Bingham

It’s been another quiet year on the newsfront, hasn’t it? Ahem… Newsreview 2016

NewsRevue is one of those regular dependable shows that gets full houses every year (Its been a fixture since 1979!) This year it started with a patriotic showstopper about the upcoming US election and ended with a all-star Brexit extravaganza (“I’m So Brexited”). In between there were songs and sketches about the Labour Party (infighting), Conservative Party (infighting), Liberal Democrats (apparently they still exist) and the SNP (all hail Nicola Sturgeon). There were extra segments on the England Football Team’s performance in the Euro’s (justifiable usage of the C word), same sex marriage, more on the US election and Brexit, a rather dodgy sketch about the Labour Party’s love of their Jewish constituents, a soliloquy from the Queen and a lot of little jokelets. It was probably only politeness (and the fact that he is performing at the Fringe) that made them leave 92 year old Nicholas Parsons off the list of possible additions to this roll-call.

Performers this year are Neil Cameron, Steven Dalziel, Rachael Hilton, Jacob Jackson and Faye Reeves,  who were all very talented at song and dance as well as getting laughs. Songs included a farewell from David Cameron, a recruitment song for ISIS (to the tune of YMCA)and a lovely mid-show song about all the celebrities we have lost (so far) this year. There was also a song about the Olympic Games which I expect will need to be updated as the Fringe progresses and the Games start and finish.

There were a couple of sound problems and pauses between sketches ably filled by the on stage pianist, musical director Patrick Rufey, but for an opening night, NewsRevue was otherwise impressively tight. The performers did an excellent job with their musical numbers, dances, accents and routines and the (almost) full house had a ball, showing their appreciation loudly throughout. It would be interesting to compare the show at the start and the show at the end of the festival, as I think that events (political and Olympic) may change very rapidly in the next few weeks.


NewRevue 2016 is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 29

Yaseen Kader – Smile

By Ron Bingham
Yaseen Kader

Yaseen is a personable young comedian who tells us his tale of teenage depression and therapy. He admits to suffering from no major traumas in his life, but did have some confused thoughts about an actor (Cole Sprouse) on a Disney TV show that seems to have had an unusually profound affect on him during his formative years .

Yaseen spent most of his first year at uni in bed, unable to face the world or exams, which eventually led to therapy. He recommended we all try Cognitive Behaviour Therapy but avoid Freudian psychoanalysis, so hey, with this show, you get some useful advice along with the comedy. After eventually completing his degree, he took us on a journey to New York and some of his adventures there (via Tinder), visiting all the major tourist sites and taking in movies with amusingly annoying American ladies.

The stories were well written, well told and entertaining. The small audience was well rewarded with a funny, confident, well structured and brisk show about the lighter side of depression and anxiety. The room was tiny so it may be worth buying a ticket in advance, rather than chancing the possibility of a seat, as word will soon spread about the high quality of this neat lunchtime show.

Smile is on at Gilded Balloon at the Counting House until August 28