EFR - Reviews of AhhGeePodcastLive

AhhGeePodcastLive

Mon 11th – Sat 16th August 2014

reviews

Catherine Edwards

at 17:03 on 14th Aug 2014

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The AhhGee Podcast looked promising at first; the set seemed professional, and the flyers promised a 'world wide heard and loved podcast' performed live, incorporating sketches, songs and highly rated guest performers. All the ingredients of a great comedy show, then – except for an audience of more than two people, as it turned out.

Perhaps it was because of the sparsity of spectators that many of the performers seemed to have given up, and the first scene felt strained and stagnant. Host Andy Harland did his best to keep things light-hearted and prevent things from getting too painful, and he had commendable charisma, but even his best efforts couldn't save the scene. It felt as if the other two men had never met before, and didn't really want to be there – a sentiment I can't say I didn't share.

Things improved with the introduction of Adele Cliff, who demonstrated a knack for comedic writing with her one-liners. Cliff and Harland were the show's saving grace, but though nuggets of comedy gold shone through at times, things never really got going and I spent much of the show waiting for punchlines that never materialised. Jokes about the lack of audience and inconvenient eighth floor location awkwardly came across as bitterness rather than good-natured humour, which highlighted a general need to work on delivery and confidence.

Two sketches in the style of game shows (Blind Date, and 'The Tower of Evil,' a game devised by the group) added little to the show, despite desperate attempts to elicit chuckles by resorting to dressing two men in bikinis for the roles of 'glamorous assistants'. Other scenes, such as a re-enactment of a problem page from a women's magazine featuring Texas the Psychic Horse, showed much more promise, and the bizarre brand of musical comedy provided by Matt Roper as Wilfredo may charm some viewers.

I did feel the team would have performed better had they been rewarded with a fuller house, and that was a shame. In the overcrowded comedy scene at the Fringe, and particularly with a lot of stiff competition from very good free shows, getting bums on seats must be no mean feat, but I can't honestly say they deserved much of an audience. It wasn't all bad, it just wasn't very funny, but with the Fringe's huge array of comedy to choose from, it's not worth holding out for the occasional glimmer of promise.

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Ben Horton

at 18:00 on 14th Aug 2014

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Some venues are better placed than others to secure sizeable audiences. On the lofty 8th floor of the Jury’s Inn Hotel, without lift access or decent signage, the enthusiastic folks in AhhGeePodcastLive were always going to struggle to fill their room. The fact that my fellow reviewer and I were the only people in attendance was indicative of this, although the show needed considerable work before it deserved more punters.

“You’ve got 45 minutes… you’re locked in, in what can only be described as a padded cell.” As awkwardly sinister as this sounded to us, it was no excuse for the performers. The show was, after all, a live recording of a podcast – an Edinburgh incarnation of an existing series. You’d have thought they’d be used to comedy performed in an empty room full of microphones.

As likeable as they were, the three men who opened the show struggled to gel; it often seemed that they had never met. Some weakly banterous exchanges about failed dates and uncomfortable existential conversations with primary school children (“does everybody die?”) were interrupted thankfully by the appearance of Adele Cliff, a guest star referred to by the others as the “work experience girl.” Some pun-filled one liners, such as “my favourite event at the sexual harassment Olympics is the 50 metre breast stroke,” were delivered with dead pan precision, rescuing an ordinary opening and showing that a sense of comic timing did exist in the production.

The cast then moved on to some satirical takes on game shows, presenting a dubious version of Blind Date, which was unfortunately devoid of wit, and then trying out a game of their own creation ominously titled 'The Tower of Evil.' This consisted of naming a series of things or actions, including unprotected sex, fracking, and mnemonics, and deliberating on which was more evil than the others. The idea was presumably to allow the comics space to busk a little on humorous elements of these themes, which might have worked if they had known where the humour was hiding.

The performance was rounded off by a musical interlude in the shape of guest comic Wilfredo, a cross between Tom Jones and the racist stereotype of a Spanish gypsy. His flirtation with me aside, (“your smile lights up the room”) there was next to no comedy in his performance. The fact that he was a welcome change from the rest of the show however says a great deal.

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