The Edinburgh Revue Stand-Up Show

Tue 7th – Sun 26th August 2012

reviews

Pia Dhaliwal

at 01:50 on 15th Aug 2012

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Reviewing stand-up comedy is not an easy task. Sure, enjoyment of any form of theatre is based at least in part on personal taste, but I’d be hard pressed to think of a genre more polarising than stand-up comedy. The average stand-up act consists of far fewer variables to fall back on than its theatrical counterparts; for the most part, it seems that people will either like the jokes they’re being told or they won’t.

Having said that, the Edinburgh Revue Stand-Up show consists of a fairly diverse range of humour – enough, I daresay, to appeal to pretty much anyone up for watching student comedians. And it’s pretty apparent that these were student comedians, judging by the self-deprecating jokes made about their respective degrees. But hey, you’re supposed write what you know.

Things got off to a lively start with compère Cat Wade’s enthusiastic introduction of the line-up. Although her opening piece did stumble a little bit as she interacted with the audience, it was, on the whole, an accessible effort – an important quality for someone providing the jumping-off point for a varied set of performers. The choice of Noah Torn as the first comedian was a little more intriguing due to his unusual set – while I personally love puns, the combination thereof with sock puppetry and surreal humour seems a little more niche than one might expect from that point in the show. That being said, while his puns may have prompted more groans than laughter, Torn’s confident delivery and nifty sound-effects box did bolster his act.

Interestingly enough, the opposite was true of second comedian Becky Price. While it must be noted that her set was clearly meticulously planned, with each anecdote and punchline segueing smoothly into the next, the admittedly witty quality of her writing was a little lost in rapid-fire delivery and a certain reserve that kept her from being completely engaging to watch. Follow-up Gemma Flynn seemed less nervous and more comfortable in front of a crowd, with solid material that, although less methodical than her predecessor, still garnered a fair few laughs – my personal favourite being a joke about fishnets. The show was then wrapped up with fourth and final comedian Harry Sriskantha. The only member of the lineup to have made it into the Chortle Student Comedy Award competition, his set was arguably the most well-rounded in terms of humour, and certainly one of the more self-assured in terms of pacing and delivery.

Again, though, I cannot stress enough that enjoyment of stand-up comedy is very much down to individual preference, arguably more so than any other form of performance. All the above named had their strengths and weaknesses as performers, but I cannot objectively assess the worth of their humour. As an overall show, the lineup works well – each set lasts long enough to allow the performers’ style to be established, yet not long enough to drag, with each of the comedians finishing off their respective acts with strong concluding jokes. On the whole, I’d say that this is definitely one of the better contributions to the free comedy on offer at the Fringe.

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Ellen Smyth

at 09:37 on 15th Aug 2012

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Edinburgh University have presented a strong bunch of comics in their Stand-Up Class of 2012 – all uniquely different from each other. It is easy to see why Hari Sriskantha is a 2012 Chortle Student Comedy Finalist - he is glitteringly funny with a natural stage presence. His set flows extremely well and I particularly enjoyed the reoccurring, numbered outtakes which provide a clever ‘breather’ between sections. There is something about his charming delivery and intonation that make you want to laugh almost before he’s finished speaking: there is a reason why Sriskantha headlines the show. I’ll even geekily admit to enjoying his re-worded takes on classic phrases - in fact I wish I could hire him to cheer me up at the end of all my physics lectures.

The audience seemed to be having a whale of a time throughout the show. As an extra bonus The Edinburgh Revue showcases the talents of three additional young comedians prior to Sriskantha’s big finale. At the start Cat Wade does a great job at getting the crowd warmed up: with a few clapping competitions and fun audience interaction, she certainly got a buzz going. I think it’s safe to say Noah Torn has a more obscure set than the others. He kicked things off with a singing sock, a few gags, and a sound effects box for starters...and ended with a joke my sister has been telling since she was twelve. The whole thing was a bit too surreal for me but I think I was the odd one out and the audience seemed genuinely entertained.

Next up is Becky Price, performing a set which is witty, surprising, and a linguistics dream. Her clever word plays are impressive, quick and sometimes shocking. To complete the group is Gemma Flynn who was quieter and appeared less confident than the rest but had no reason to be: her Edinburgh vs. Glasgow comparison was simple but effective. Combined, this gang make for an enjoyable afternoon and it’s worth seeing The Edinburgh Revue just to get a snapshot of Sriskantha's material. Plus, there’s no reason not to since it’s free.

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