Fringe Comedy Reviews: One-Day Stand
Edinburgh's Stand Comedy Club hosts Simon Munnery, Alun Cochrane, Paul Sinha and Jamie Kilstein at this year's Fringe
With a collection of acts that stem from all manner of disciplines and styles, The Stand Comedy Club often attracts comedians who subvert our expectations and preconceptions of what comedy should be. While some comedians walk on to stage to the sound of music that gets the adrenaline pumping, in And Nothing But [★★★★☆], Simon Munnery hobbles on stage, yanked along by a rope wrapped around his foot and accompanied by the sound of horses trotting. In a typically subversive manner, Munnery undermines his entrance with an underwhelming and anti-rock star gambit. This is by no means the only entrance he has planned as he whizzes through a plethora of openers, some that he explores and some that he discards offhand. It is observational comedy projected through the prism of absurdity and Munnery amuses himself with the ridiculousness of his ill-conceived ideas. Overall, a show that is so free of clichés that by its very nature seems alien.
Alun Cochrane is a man who thinks of himself as boring. A Show With a Man in It [★★★☆☆] helps dispel this myth, as Cochrane's frustrations and worries take on an abstract form of observational and autobiographical comedy. With a mind that tends to wonder, Cochrane falls in and out of his routines about his dinner party attire, middle-age and Men's Health magazine. 'Try repeating my stuff on Monday,' he gleefully taunts the audience, after a routine about the accidental consumption of apple stickers. Perhaps it's due to his wondering mind that today's show waxes and wanes a touch, but Cochrane has little difficulty winning over the audience.
Paul Sinha also gives us his own take on modern life, adding his flavor of intellectual observations. Sinha makes his much-awaited return to the fringe, bringing with him his sharp eye for facts and figures. This year, he finds himself at the bottom of the celebrity alphabet – the Z list. In Postcards From The Z List [★★★★☆], his vexations with life take front and centre stage. Having to deal with the ludicrousness of minor celebrity fame has given him some real perspective on life, as well as a lot of great material. Sinha is a man that finds pleasure in both the art of stand-up comedy and online countdown in equal measure. Although his passion and anger sometimes overpower the comedy, it is always a delight to hear what he has to say on subjects ranging from his family to sexuality, game show politics and his trip to parliament. He is fiercely sharp, poignant and on top form.
Over at The Stand in the Square, you will find a rebellious American in a yurt. There is something comforting about Jamie Kilstein’s righteous left wing anger and outrage: though some may find his assertions sweeping, or his examination of American life simplistic, his matter-of-fact outlook is overall refreshing. There is little subtlety in Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story [★★★☆☆], which indeed mixes music and rants to produce politically charged songs that echo the likes of Joe Strummer and Bill Hicks. Songs about gun control and Christian rock carry Kilstein's message to the rhythm of electric guitar. His set does become more personal and engaging as time goes on and a routine about cats is completely polarized in tone to his usual material – but is one of the funniest parts of the set.