Review: Kieran and the Whale, The Homesick Submarine Broadcasting Company, Fringe 2018

As a claustrophobe, I find sitting in small, dark windowless Fringe venues a wee bit of a challenge, but The Homesick Submarine Broadcasting Company make a virtue of their small, dark windowless room: yes, this is a show set on a submarine! A pirate radio show set on a submarine. What do you mean, you’ve never heard of underwater pirate radio? Newcastle-based musician Kieran Rafferty and comedian John Whale offer a mash-up of live music and stand-up, in the guise of two mildly inept radio presenters producing pirate content while submerged not-that-far out to sea (they keep getting busted by the authorities when the tide goes out).

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Review: Richard Hanrahan Is Doing This, Fringe 2018

I’ve been reviewing Fringe comedy shows for five years now and this is the bravest one I’ve ever seen. Also, it’s the only one that’s made me cry with laughter. Billed as ‘a hilarious recursive nightmare trapped inside a heart-warming recursive nightmare’, Hanrahan takes stand-up comedy to a whole new level with the frankly insane task of creating brand new show content daily, simply based on what yesterday’s audience thought would be funny. The strangest thing is that it works. Hanrahan is that rare thing: a comedian who makes it look effortless, even while wearing a pair of furry goat legs in an extremely warm meeting room. Camera-shy fringe-goers be warned: he enlists help from the crowd to film the audience as they answer questions about what makes them laugh (and boy, do some people have weird answers to that question. Have you ever asked yourself what makes you laugh? It’s a strangely difficult one to answer). The footage, good bad and ugly, is then used in the following night’s show.

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Review: John Smith

I knew this gig would be a sedate affair after I overheard three people ordering Merlot at the bar when I arrived at the Caves. Merlot! At a gig? I ask you. And, for context, it’s important to say that I had had a long day, and that was before I walked through the tail end of a hurricane to get to the gig. Maybe a little part of me was wishing myself back home in my PJs watching W1A.

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Review: Letters to Morrissey, Fringe 2017

We file into the black basement box that is Traverse 2, squeezing passed award-winning playwright Gary McNair, who is already on stage. He’s lying on his back next to a record player, singing along to some of Mozza’s greatest hits. Then the house lights go down, and the next hour holds moments of real poignancy and proper laughter as McNair’s teenage protagonist uses a series of letters to his coiffed hero to navigate the ups and downs of growing up on the outskirts of Glasgow in a town known as ‘the suicide capital of Scotland’.

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