Approximately 1,000 Comedians are busy performing during the Edinburgh Fringe. Allied to the fact there are over 3,000 shows to select from in the bumper 407 pages ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Unboring’ 2014 guide, it’s quite a task to decide who to go and see and who to avoid There are many, many more that we would have loved to have seen and reviewed, but time pressures meant difficult decisions had to be made.
Well, we at Tiemo Talk of the Town made our choices, saw some terrific shows as well as sat through a number of duds along the way too (all part of the Fringe experience). Out of all the shows we’ve seen this year, we present you with our selection of 10 of the best comedians and shows that we have seen. We also feature a small selection of top tourist sites and restaurants since man cannot live by comedy alone!
We feel we have put together an exceptional listing of talent that will delight and fulfill you in equal measure.
They are listed in purely alphabetical order for ease of reference and most feature a Tiemo Talk of the Town review and star rating.
- Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane
Comedy was in Dane Baptiste’s genes as he came into the world as one half of a double act. I loved his jokes regarding growing up with his sister, his mother and father. Indeed, he grew up in a two parent family household. There’s a novelty! He spun this to great comedic and ironic effect by pointing out the disadvantages of coming from a two parent family.
Where do I fit in?
I love Dane’s dry, deadpan style. What makes his show especially interesting is that inspite of his dour demeanour he presents a consistently funny, upbeat show. He’s not there to simply knock the government or complain about mundane, everyday life events, he just wishes to explore where he fits in society.
He’s a sharp, amiable comedian and that came across in the warm, respectful way in which he engaged with his audience.
**** Review -Citizen Dane
- Jim Davidson: No Further Action
He’s cheeky, crude and oh so very rude. You know what to expect when you see Jim Davidson and he certainly hasn’t disappointed in his first appearance at the Fringe. He’s been wowing audiences night after night. Jim Davidson is the people’s champion of comedy. He is well and truly back.
We learnt a lot regarding his upbringing. He is half-Scottish-half Irish. His Dad being something of a drunkard, no stereotyping there then, provided a huge wealth of material that have had audiences in stitches.
No Further Action
The theme of the night related to his fight to clear his name when he got caught up in the ‘Operation Yewtree’ Police investigation into historic sexual abuse. He used to joke about who’d be next, so it must have been quite a shock when he found himself caught up in this.
Jim is so clearly a skilled comedian at the top of his game. This was a cool, funny, very well structured show.
The show is called ‘No Further Action’, but for me, on the strength of this superb show, people need to take action. If you missed the show, the action comedy fans can take is to book tickets to see Jim on his forthcoming UK tour or go and see him at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, 1-31 August 2014.
- Kevin J: The Urban Truth
Making his Edinburgh Fringe debut Kevin J set about winning over a new audience with relish. In a short 25 minute set he delivered a sparkling performance that not only gave people an insight into his background, education and upbringing, but also tickled the funny bones.
As with Jim Davidson’s ‘No Further Action’ show, Dad’s come in for a bit of stick as he too pokes fun at his old man with tales of his hilarious escapades and dodgy business plans.
Kevin J is a much sought after performer for shows in Ghana and Nigeria.
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is that ‘The Urban Truth’ is a very funny show that is well worth seeing. I see a very bright future for this young man. At just 26 years old, with 6 years experience already under his belt, Kevin J is doing very well indeed and will go far. Touring Africa, playing all over England and now Edinburgh. A Kevin J show is good fun and makes you laugh. What more could you want?
**** Review – Kevin J: The Urban Truth
- Linlithgow Palace
I know it’s not a show. Or an act, but there’s more to see and do in Edinburgh in August than just comedy shows and theatre. Linlithgow Palace is well worth a look and is but a mere 15 minute train ride from Edinburgh Waverley station. This was the birthplace (8 December 1542) of Mary Queen of Scots, the first ever British monarch and home to numerous kings and queens over the centuries. It was infamously burnt down in a major fire in 1424 and the roof fell in literally.
The Linlithgow loch and peel (royal gardens) surrounding it are breathtakingly beautiful. Boating and playing in the peel available to visitors.
Adjacent to the palace is the Parish Church of St Michael’s. Built in 1242 and where Mary Queen of Scots was baptised, this church, steeped in history, is highly impressive. If you’re in the area or nearby Edinburgh/Glasgow it’ll be a pleasant break from the hurly burly of those big cities.
***** Review – Linlithgow Palace
- Paul Chowdhry: PC’s World
Race, class and sexism were all humorously covered during his show. Paul Chowdhry is an extremely funny, quick witted and engaging comedian who commanded his audience’s rapt attention throughout his entertaining show. There were enjoyable asides re his experiences filming TV shows such as ‘Live at The Apollo’ interspersed with some very funny jokes on racial politics, relationships, religion and sex. Nothing was too sacred to be tackled by Paul Chowdhry.
Allied to jokes, he came out with some very strong views on the subject of gay marriage … which strangely seemed to be contrary to those of 99% of the audience. A quite heated debate could have ensued, but realising he was outnumbered and that this was a comedy gig, he stuck to the jokes rather than religion. His show has finished at the Fringe, but he is on tour this year. Paul Chowdhry was on fire. Great show.
***** Review – Paul Chowdhry: PC’s World
- Pete Johansson: Several jokes
I rate Canadian Pete Johansson highly. I saw him last year supporting Reginald D Hunter and he was superb.
In a very thoughtful, funny set, he had the audience in fits of laughter. He gained some chuckles with his pronunciation of certain words and his keen observational eye gained from touring all over England.
His mind and set seems to be racing ahead at 100mph. Like Reginald D Hunter, Pete comes across as an affable, very deep thinker, yet still hilariously funny.
***** Review – Pete Johansson
7. Race by David Mamet
The controversial issues of race, class and gender collide in this tense, gripping thriller ‘Race’ by David Mamet. This a brilliant legal drama, superbly acted. You feel the tension rise as the intellectual sparring goes on between the male legal team (one black, one white male) and the female (African American) intern as they debate whether or not to take on the case of a wealthy white man accused of raping an African-American woman.
The many twists and turns allied of the complex issues under the spotlight make for a fascinating drama. The serious talk is from time to time interspersed with joyous levity to lighten the mood. I thoroughly enjoyed this play and it had me gripped from start to finish.
***** Review –Race
8. Rory O’Hanlon: Have jokes will travel
This show was billed as pure stand up comedy. A gag every 30 seconds. The audience got that alright, with jokes literally tripping of the tongue of Irish Comedian Rory O’Hanlon.
Considering this was a free show it represented excellent value for money. Rory’s show was far better than many of the pay to see shows on at the fringe.
Rory is a very funny man who had his Cabaret Voltaire audience falling about with laughter throughout his one hour performance. The jokes were great and flowed rapidly like water flowing down Edinburgh’s river Leith. I’m sure it won’t be long before we see him on TV.
***** Review – Rory O’Hanlon: Have jokes will travel
9. Shappi Khorsandi: Because I’m Shappi…
This is a classy, well put together show, with jokes a plenty covering a whole range of themes, including school day friendships versus adult friendships, standing up (or not) for what’s right – be that defending her father or standing up to hoody’s in suburban London streets.
The well worn theme of women in comedy was also brought up. It didn’t need to be as with this superb show she certainly didn’t have to spell it out that women are funny. Yet she chose to in a sarcastically humorous way.
Shappi Khorsandi is a terrific, amiable and funny comedian. I love the theatrical, almost thespian aspect to part of her shows, as she showcases her range of different accents and expressions throughout her set.
***** Review – Shappi Khorsandi: Because I’m Shappi …
10. Tiff Stevenson – Optimist
You would do well to be optimistic about seeing this show. Tiff Stevenson delivered a superb all signing, dancing and joking performance, that was consistently funny from start to end, with plenty of twists and turns, highs and lows. Including some very deep moments when she talked about her battle with depression and attempted suicides as a teenager.
This is a fantastic show, not just because there’s plenty of laughter throughout, but there’s seriousness too, mixed in with a demonstration of her versatility as a performer who admires the likes of Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. Who knows, maybe we’ll see her on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ next?
***** Review – Tiff Stevenson – Optimist
Other comedy shows we highly recommend:
Many of these have new reviews featured on this Edinburgh Fringe 2014 link or elsewhere on our blog from previous performances.
- Hardeep Singh Kohli: Hardeep is your love
- I am not Malala: Sadia Azmats
- Linda Hargreaves: Rice n peas n caviar (Character comedy)
- Mark Nelson: Please think responsibly
- Ola The comedian and his future wife
- Patrick Monahan:Adventures in Monahanland
- Sarah Callaghan: Don’t Tell Anyone About Sarah Callaghan
- Steven K Amos: Work in Progress
- Tim Vine: Timtinimee Tintinimee Tim Tim To You
- Tom Stade: Decisions Decisions
Link to restaurant reviews
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
If you have seen any of these shows, tourist sites or restaurants we’d love to read your opinion. Alternatively, if you totally disagree with our listing feel free to post your comments directly onto our blog.
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