A A and A

Sun 4th – Thu 22nd August 2013

reviews

Kayte Williams

at 00:58 on 19th Aug 2013

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It's difficult for a free stand-up show to stand out of the Fringe crowd, even having employed the tactic of choosing a name specifically to get you to the front of the comedy section. However, 'A A and A' distinguishes itself by not going down any of the lazy routes stand-ups usually employ to get laughs. The show was very clean and intelligent, with confident performances and some quick-witted jokes. Mawaan Rizwan stood out as the most entertaining of the four by his energy and willingness to connect with the audience. He dealt with loud audience members using the successful method of being friendly, though this friendliness seemed more important to him than delivering jokes. However, his obvious enthusiasm for amusing people might well make him a star in the future.

Russ Haynes was quite a contrast, with a much more relaxed (though equally confident) style of delivery. The effort he'd obviously put into his relatable jokes about his kids and girlfriend paid off, and the way he talked intelligently about racism, sexism and life made him memorable and interesting. He also had the trick many good comics have of slipping a quick joke into the end of an anecdote, to get a laugh out of the audience as well as grab their interest.

Joe Bains was another great contrast. His life in India and Switzerland gave him some interesting topics to talk about, though unfortunately some of them seemed to peter off into nowhere. Though, again, light on the jokes, he was a humorous and likeable person. Matt, who followed (not on the flyer, so presumably a last-minute addition) showed the hidden effort the others had put into their casual performances, by talking about his life without any humorous touches and therefore failing to entertain.

What made the hour enjoyable overall was Mawaan's impromptu interactions with the lively audience. The show could have been amusing but dull if not for his spontaneous birthday party and twerking, but with it the whole audience had a good time. If you're tired of comics who trot out boring impersonal stereotypes, come to this show, it'll be a breath of fresh air.

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Victoria Ferguson

at 09:15 on 19th Aug 2013

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The three men who make up ‘A A and A’ are not ashamed to admit that the name is nothing particularly clever, but simply a way to ensure that they make it to the top of the comedy brochure. So have they earned their place amongst the A listers? It’s not exactly Michael McIntyre, but they’re a friendly bunch of jokers who clearly love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Mawaan Rizwan opened the set with a big smile and the promise of a lap dance, and so from the offset he was guaranteed a warm reception from the group of tipsy girls at the back of the room. Alone and completely sober, I was a little apprehensive. Having bravely situated myself in the front row, I could feel my throat tighten up as my allergy to audience participation began to flare up. But ‘A A and A’ is a great hour of entertainment for those who just want to sit back and be entertained, as well as for you excitable Fringe-goers who want to be the centre of attention as much as Mawaan.

The worst to which I was subjected was an imposed bonding session with the stranger sitting next to me in Mawaan’s determination to break the ice, which ended up adding to the comfortable atmosphere. Free comedy and a free hug constitutes a successful Sunday night in my books at least.

I also enjoyed Russ’ performance. This had a fair bit to do with the fact that he sounded remarkably like Idris Elba, but he also successfully continued the comfortable intimacy of Mawaan’s introduction. His set was a mixture of anecdotes and observational comedy that was familiar enough to tickle your funny bone, though occasionally felt a little stale (surely the “have you noticed how everything is made in China…” line has been exhausted by now).

Unfortunately, the good pace established by the first two comedians suffered with the introduction of Joe Bains. Not as confident as the others, Joe stumbled over his words so that the feeling of total ease that had come over me with Mawaan’s easy banter relinquished itself to thoughts of ‘I hope people keep laughing’ and ‘not to worry; he’ll think of the word eventually.’ Luckily, people did keep laughing. The boys were blessed with an excellent audience and so, even when the pace faltered, the energy remained high.

Relaxed, informal and a good laugh, it felt like an evening spent amongst friends. While Mawaan professed that "the more you drink, the funnier I am so drink up", I found him all the more entertaining for being able to fully appreciate his charisma, sharp wit and very distinguished twerking skills.

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