Bryan Ghosh crowned Edinburgh Revue Champion 2017

The annual Edinburgh Revue competition pitched 13 comedy hopefuls against each other at Teviot House

Feature by Ben Venables | 05 Apr 2017

Bryan Ghosh put some leg work in before winning the 7th Edinburgh Revue Championship. To claim the contest's penultimate spot at Teviot House, he had to dash across the city from his prior engagement performing at The Stand's Red Raw.

A software engineer by day, Ghosh made use of his job's nerdist credentials with an ease and confidence to his delivery. He had a string of strong jokes and could take a punch line in a fresh and unexpected direction. Even a routine discussing a tired sexual position became stylish through Ghosh's perspective. He now takes home the prize slab of rock.

Ian Lynam claimed joint-second place. He began his five minutes defending Ireland from an earlier insult. There was enough intensity in his riposte to unnerve as well as amuse. Indeed, in contrast to his dapper appearance, he demonstrated a quiet darkness throughout. Alcoholism and Mein Kampf are the kind of cheery items found on a Lynam set-list. Like the winner, he also displayed an impressive penchant for clever punch line twists.

Sharing second place was Celia Wilding. She elicits a confidence in the room as she walks on stage, such is her natural comedic presence. As judge Jojo Sutherland perceptively remarked, Wilding had a hint of the kind of persona Lucy Beaumont deploys so effectively, making the idiosyncrasies of her hometown in Cumbria as memorable as Beaumont's Hull. The arbitrary rules governing eating – or not – on a night out bloomed with little details.

Powering into third place was Ross Baillie, in character as Boris Buffstick. With a Russian accent, box on his head and the occasional open sight of his dressing gown, it wasn't always obvious where Baillie was going. Is the shoe in his pocket there for a Krushchev-at-the-UN routine? The answer to that question was, sadly, no. But, it was with the sheer force of such inventiveness that he owned the room. He managed to bring lots of variation to a slight timeframe. The wild-eyed look he wore might be terrifying in most contexts, but a good sign when on a comedian.

For all those who didn't place in the top spots, it could have been a different story on another night. The strength of comedic quality across the evening once again did the Revue proud.

A special mention must go to Isobel Moulder, who had a tricky task as the first performer. She has a fine note of cynicism in her voice with which to hang a joke on, and she demonstrated range – her If I Had a Dick dance put some early energy into the room.

Musical comedy was well represented by Chris Iskander. Once he moved away from an estranged ex to an inspired skewering of John West – the tinned Tuna brand – his lyrics matched his musical ability. A doubly talented man.

Aaron Fairbanks also displayed huge potential and was another with a gift for the unexpected line. He had the maturity and confidence to work at his own pace, taking deliberately mundane subjects towards the off-kilter.

Then there was Planet Caramel's David Blair flying solo. Playing Richard Branson as a deranged Jules Verne fantasy, he spent the entire five minutes in the highest gear. It was the sort of bombastic and weird performance perhaps better housed in a more anarchic setting, but one with which he showed bold ambition.

Callum Murray had the makings of a smart routine in his set, a tale of a Meadows mugging became layered with class warfare. One of the most memorable lines of the night came from Nghia Mai. He channelled Vietnamese forgiveness into a trite saying to deliver a top pun. Sarah Norman and Louis Hall brought intriguing personas to the stage. Hall began with a high-status smoking jacket kind of vibe, and Norman had a rather charming and nuanced take on hip-hop. Both had the potential to take their onstage personalities into the direction of some classy character comedy, should they wish. A strong set-piece was developing around Charlotte Hayden's story of moving a shit. She introduced the best prop of the evening, using a tiny pair of plastic Trumpian hands to offer perspective while she tidied away the rogue turd.

A special thank you from all must go to compère Pete Potter, who held the evening together and made a tough job look easy. And, also to 2016's champion Will Naameh, who made a triumphant and welcome return as the night's headliner.

With thanks to Charlie Elmer for the invitation to judge alongside Richard Hanrahan (the competition's inaugural champion) and comedian Jojo Sutherland.

The 2017 Edinburgh Revue Championship took place at Teviot House on 3 April.