BEASTS present Mr Edinburgh 2016

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Alice Harper

at 23:34 on 18th Aug 2016

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The Beasts’ sketch show is unlike any other kind of comedy performance I have seen, either at or away from the Fringe. It is based around a fictional competition to find ‘Mr Edinburgh’, involving several rounds which test the participants’ strength, intelligence and special skills, amongst other things. This ridiculous premise gives the three performers, James, Owen and Ciarán, the opportunity to perform increasingly outrageous jokes and stunts which leave their audience in stitches.

The performances are energetic, cheeky and sometimes endearing, though never serious for long. The dynamic between the three works well; each has their own unique brand of stupidity and they work well as a team. Owen is the slightly pompous do-gooder, planning to save the world with a charity single; James’ specialist subject in the intelligence round is ‘eggs’; and Ciarán has a particular talent for eating whole Vienettas for breakfast. The jokes aren't repetitive and feel fresh, even when they are being intentionally corny. Well chosen backing music and brilliantly stupid costumes add to the entertaining writing and make for some eye-wateringly hilarious moments.

Some of the incredibly varied elements of the show include a search for a man who looks like Philip Schofield, a reenactment of 'Crufts', an escaped swan and several tomatoes being thrown about (thankfully by the cast and not the audience). There are even some dance routines thrown into the mix. The show definitely benefits from taking place in a bigger venue, as in a smaller space it might have felt too brash and overwhelming. Overall the production is tight and very very funny, but sometimes relies too heavily on crude jokes which let it down slightly. The audience is heavily involved in the show, and the outrageous nature of the Beasts’ brand of comedy keeps the crowd on their toes throughout.

‘Mr Edinburgh 2016’ is certainly a spectacle. The three performers sing, dance, dash around the stage and even climb into the audience, providing some onlookers with experiences that might be traumatising for them, but are hilarious for everyone else. This type of comedy is probably not for everyone, but if you enjoy energetic performances combined with pure, irreverent silliness, this show has those in spades.

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Becky Wilson

at 15:18 on 19th Aug 2016

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‘Mr Edinburgh 2016’ is the comedy trio Beasts’ barely sane, wildly energetic offering for this year’s Fringe. A competitive fight to win the coveted trophy, this gameshow/sketch show hybrid is a loose framework which enables Owen Roberts, James McNicholas and Ciarán Dowd to wreak the most wonderful kind of havoc.

Roberts, McNicholas and – most markedly - Dowd, strike me as a bunch of sweaty class clowns: flinging tomatoes, clambering through the audience, and dancing about in rather risqué leotards, all in their manic craving for laughs. The bulk of their humour is pretty straightforward, dependent upon the atmosphere of the venue and the silliness of the audience. And it works, completely – in their hour long show, not a single joke falls flat. It’s just a shame that there are only slight glimpses of the less obvious, more off-the-wall sketch comedy of which Beasts is clearly capable (I’d recommend looking them up on YouTube).

Those after a gentle hour of comedy certainly shouldn’t sit in the front row. Audience interaction keeps us well on our toes: I am at one point ambushed, in the middle of a blackout, by a shrieking swan puppet, and the man sat next to me has his beard nearly ripped off (the men are “convinced” that it’s a disguise).

Fortunately, the men have much more up their sleeves than mild audience assault. Varied one-liners, from a risqué reference to the pope’s sexual exploits, to amusing statements like “a swan is just a duck in a wedding dress” – are all pitched perfectly. A particular highlight is a tongue-in-cheek protest speech – accompanied by the Black-Eyed Peas’ song ‘Where is the Love?’. I can’t stop laughing at McNicholas, who, attempting to convey the injustices of deforestation, waves an axe about like a malicious woodchopper.

Huge credit must go to the technical team, who seamlessly deliver slick transitions and a professional production. The lighting, sound effects and music (which spans from Kanye West to ‘The Weakest Link’ theme song) are all spot-on, and prevent the show from flagging even for a moment.

Although I prefer their eccentric sketch comedy, Roberts, McNicholas and Dowd have adjusted to the live medium admirably. Their show runs without a single blip, and they even harness a lot of the Fringe’s unique potential, bouncing off the enthusiasm of their audience. Those inclined to high-energy ridiculousness will feel at home in the warm, albeit rather sweaty embrace of Beasts. I urge you to catch them while you still can.

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