Fringe Comedy Reviews: Growing pains

Comedians Aisling Bea, Ivo Graham and Ed Gamble discuss growing up and adapting to adulthood at the Edinburgh Fringe

Feature by Jenni Ajderian | 18 Aug 2015

Undoubtedly one of the best stand-ups to emerge in recent years is Aisling Bea. Like many others in her line of work, she started out in drama and with dreams of Hollywood. Her stories in Plan Bea [★★★★☆], of growing up in rural Ireland, are instantly recognisable for anyone who has a little sister, has spent their formative years watching American TV, or has had childhood dreams crushed by adult realities: realities like spending two years at drama school only to be used as a prop in a music video, or the realisation that maybe being brought up with Catholic guilt may reduce your confidence in both social and professional situations. Bea has a very warm and casual style of stand-up, bringing us comfortably into her confidence early on, and holding us close with childish glee. It would be a crying shame to lose Bea to the clutches of Hollywood.

Leading us by the hand through childhood and into the post-grad years, Ivo Graham brings his wonderfully over-enunciated chatter about growing up privileged and technophobic to the fore in his sarcastic and self-effacing show No Filter [★★★★☆]. Graham performs a neat comedic trick of acknowledging his advantages in life and ridiculing them without taking them for granted, alongside seemingly effortless audience patter, ready to diffuse any tension and keep us all laughing along even when something goes slightly awry. He discusses sex and relationships mixed up with insecurities and fears, in no way diluting the comedy, and deftly discusses the damage done to a generation raised on the instantly-available wares of the internet. An extroverted hour from a slightly introverted comic, No Filter leaves us with a polite thank-you note, as well as a few ideas about how to rage against the machine in a very mild-mannered way. 

Ed Gamble, intent on keeping order in a world gone mad, is a prime example of the high quality of free comedy on offer throughout the month. With an hour of very well-organised yarn-spinning, Gamble's Lawman [★★★★☆] rages against the rage against the machine, and waxes lyrical about worry, uncertainty, and attempting to navigate the adult world while in such a state. He paints a vivid picture of his home life and nicely details the odd space between childhood and potential adulthood, with a couple of asides to the audience which demonstrate a quick wit as well as a very well-toned show. Gamble tells us far more about his present than his past, and in doing so holds his life up to the light for ridicule, examination and organisation, before spinning off into the surreal and a very admin-heavy, idealised world of order.

Aisling Bea: Plan Bea, Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug (not 19th), 9:30pm, £9-12

Ivo Graham: No Filter, Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug, 6pm, £7.50-11

Ed Gamble: Lawman, The Canon's Gait, until 30 Aug, 1:15pm, free