Sally-Anne Hayward: Don't Judge Me
This slot (midday) is is one of the toughest at the Fringe and the audience for this show are outnumbered by venue staff, but Sally-Ann Hayward rocks on like she's sold out the O2. Her pace, energy and arresting presence make up for the empty seats, yet she also exploits the intimacy of the gig, gently working the audience into her gags.
There's no big theme to Hayward's show apart from the minutiae of her life. Really the show is just a chance for her to showcase her considerable joke-writing abilities, and neither the jokes nor the show have an ounce of fat on them. Several popular comedy topics are touched on without sounding stale and when she talks about living alone with her cat, she gracefully sidesteps self-pitying cliché. The people in her life, such as her boyfriend and parents, are satisfyingly fleshed out and there's a disturbingly vivid impression of her cat humping a pillow.
It's easy to imagine Hayward at the 02 or guesting on QI. She is a crowd-pleaser and a straightforward observational comic, but so are most of Britain's favourite comedians today. Hayward is easily the equal of any of them.
Sally-Anne Hayward: Don't Judge Me, The Stand IV, 12:05pm, 4-28 August (not 15th) £8(£7)http://www.sallyannehayward.co.uk