The Edinburgh Revue - Free

Fri 5th – Mon 29th August 2011

reviews

Rachel Lovibond

at 06:46 on 11th Aug 2011

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Anyone watching the first twenty minutes/half an hour of this stand-up comedy sketch might be unable to comprehend this review’s four-star rating of the The Edinburgh Revue. They may, like I did, feel the need to resist the natural impulse to get up and leave as Becky Price dribbles out startlingly un-funny material about coffee and tissues, reading off the palm of her hand as she fails to articulate or project her jokes. But wait. After the first four ‘warm-up’ acts, the headline act, Kyle Matthews, is simply brilliant, providing the show with all four of its stars and justifying the last, seemingly lost, half hour of the audience’s lives.

The initial act, James Stewart, commented on the ‘lacklustre’ reaction of the audience to one of his jokes and this word accurately summarises his entire set. It was lacklustre. The next act, Becky Price, delivered one amusing moment when she tripped over the wire on the way off stage. Cat Wade followed with a louder, more confident set which she, at least, appeared to be enjoying. Ed Prosser was significantly funnier with his list of random and useful facts for life (never heckle during a eulogy). Still, at this point in the show, it was very much looking like I was going to be writing a two or even one star review.

Fortunately, life-savingly, for both The Edinburgh Revue and the audience, Kyle Matthews then arrived. He redeemed the show and the space heard its first real laughter. He was spontaneous and natural and incorporated the audience into his jokes, bouncing hilariously off whatever material was provided. His comedy was observant and dry and managed to pick up the mood of the entire room, to the extent that I temporarily forgot the previous acts and was genuinely disappointed when his set was over. His description of the perils of a man buying flowers was hilarious and there as not a single member of the crowd able to maintain a straight face by the end.

Basically, this show requires a huge amount of patience. If you bring an ipod/book to help pass over the first four acts, Kyle Matthews is genuinely worth waiting for. As a free fringe event, this is (eventually) a great piece of comedy straight from Edinburgh University and is well worth your time.

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Ellen Marsh

at 10:33 on 11th Aug 2011

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The Edinburgh Revue Stand-Up Show, part of PBH’s Free Fringe, provides a platform for up-and-coming stand-up comedians, and lets five of them show the audience at Opium what they have to offer every Monday to Wednesday.

Opium’s space is ideal for stand-up, two pillars in front of the stage focus the audience’s attention on the single comedian. How well the performers fare under this focus varies hugely. The show doesn’t get off to the strongest start with James Stewart, who tries hard to project a stand-up ‘personality’, which he puts on when he puts on a pair of sunglasses, without solid material to back it up. Throughout his set he claims to be an optimist, but this highlights rather than distracts from the audience’s lacklustre response to him. Stewart suffers from being first, if the audience had been warmed up by another comedian first, they may have reacted more to Stewart’s set.

From him we move to Becky Price, a comedian who has more defined ‘jokes’ and material but not the same stage presence as Cat Wade, who comes next. This is the principal problem in the first half of the show. None of the first three comedians has both the material and the stage presence to inspire confidence in the audience, which dampens the atmosphere, and in turn makes it difficult for the acts to get a laugh. Price’s material is good, but she didn’t seem entirely confident on stage, making it difficult to laugh at what she was saying.

The fourth act on stage, Ed Prosser, fares far better. He has his ‘act’ worked out, his stories are punctuated by ‘life tips’ read out from a notebook, and he seems confident. It was during his set that the audience really seemed to come to life and respond to the act onstage. There is a clear design here, the show’s acts become steadily more confident leading up to the ‘headline act’, Kyle Matthews. He is without a doubt the most confident on stage, and interacts brilliantly with the audience, demonstrating the skill of a stand-up to work with what the audience provides (though he does tend to tell them what he wants!).

Ending the show with two of the stronger acts means the audience leaves with some good stand-up fresh in their minds. This is a great platform for young stand-ups, particularly as part of the Free Fringe, and if the weather is bad it’s a good way to spend an hour, but it is not advisable to go expecting five professional stand-up comedians.

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