Posts Tagged ‘Stand-up’

Review – Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Sunday 28 August 2011

“We should do some stand-up” mumbled Andrew.

Phil, thinking that Andrew was finally coming round to his idea to bringing the Whingers’ own show to the Fringe next year, began to feel rather giddy.

Sadly, Andrew’s aspirations were no higher than watching some stand-up.

Given that the purple section of the Fringe brochure constitutes about half its hefty weight we had rather overlooked the genre.

But what were the chances of the Whingers spotting a star of tomorrow before audiences fork out huge amounts of money to watch them on screens in the O2? True we’d seen Sarah Millican, but this was playing safe, that was merely dipping toes into the vast pool of comedy with our water wings judiciously inflated. And what is stand up and what is cabaret anyway? Is Kev Orkian stand up or cabaret? Discuss.

So we plumped for author, presenter and Jewish* comedian Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation, an illustrated talk on various aspects of his life, his wife, his supposed lookalikes and Jim Davidson.

And (bear with us on this as we know it’s getting tedious), yet again, it’s a quite brilliant show.

But it’s the cleverness (without being clever-clever) of his absurdly detailed take on things that make his show stand out. Without giving a running gag away, his take on advertisements for clocks (no, we’re not making this up) is smart and hilarious.

Don’t – as many of the audience obviously did – drink too much before seeing the show (pot? kettle? black?) but if you do, make sure you squeeze out your bladder before going in. As one punter headed for the loo mid-show Gorman dropped his nice guy persona to berate the man in no uncertain terms: “It’s only an hour long, you shouldn’t have drunk four pints before you came in. You’re a grown up.” (It went on much longer than that; we’ve deleted  his string of expletives.)

The show goes on the road after Edinburgh but it was a delight to see Mister Gorman in a mere 500 seat venue as opposed to one of the barns he’ll be inhabiting on tour. Still, at least the Powerpoint presentation format means that there will be something to look should you catch it in an arena.

Another hit. If only London were like this.


*Not actually true, but you’ll understand if you catch the show.


Rating score 5-5 our cups overfloweth

Review – Tom Lenk: Nerdgasm, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Fringe

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Think of this posting as the Whingers’ version of the iconic children’s TV show Vision On.

Think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Tom Lenk‘s show Tom Lenk: Nergasm*as an art heist.

Think of the Whingers on the floor of a busy bar (that bit is not tricky, we accept), not with drinks in their hands but with crayons (ok that’s not strictly true we did have wine too), attempting to draw images for the show (this they were invited to do but the whys and wherefores are too taxing to go into).

Think of Andrew opting, from a list of nine rather complicated descriptions available, to draw bare feet (Andrew can’t abide bare feet).

Think of Phil choosing to draw Michael Jackson from memory and Mr Lenk himself, even though he’d previously never heard of him (let alone seen him) and asking around for a flyer so he had some idea what he looks like. Asking? Yes, asking for a flyer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, when you spend most of the day trying to avoid being given them. Now that must be a first.

Think of the Whingers called up on stage (yet again) to reveal their drawings during one of Mr Lenk’s songs and him deciding to keep Phil’s drawing without even the courtesy of asking.

Think of Andrew’s chagrin on realising that Mr Lenk had no interest in retaining the artistic fruits of his labours.

Think why Phil warmed to Lenk’s albeit patchy stand-up show and why Andrew didn’t so much. But both agreed that the autobiographical bits – particularly his run through his photo album and his childhood dream board  illustrating his geekiness and gayness – had potential.

The show was only originally intended to play one date. We saw an extra late night performance starting at 11pm which was way past Andrew’s bedtime and may be yet another reason why he was so choleric.

Time to hum the Vision On gallery tune.

Footnote (according to the publicity)

*Nerdgasm [n]: The excitement of one’s nerdy or geeky tendencies causing a sensory overload.


Review – Arthur Smith’s Pissed-Up Chat Show, Pleasance Dome

Wednesday 17 August 2011

You can’t imagine why the Whingers selected this one, can you?

This sounded very much our cup of cheers: a live chat show with celebrity guests in a bar hosted by the usually reliable Arthur Smith; the perfect excuse to knock back a few drinks and round off an evening.

But this was more of a cocked-up than a Pissed-Up chat Show.

Each guest is invited to take a breathalyser test as Smith interviews them and there are various riffs on the dangers of too much drinking.

And there lies part of the problem. While you’re sitting there knocking back the alcohol you don’t really want to be shown the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy liver do you? You’d rather be clutching your sides with laughter than feeling to see if you have one left.

Smith has given up drinking, one of his guests on the show we saw Art Malik was also teetotal, so it was really left to the other guests – Malik’s daughter Keira (appearing on the Fringe together in Rose) and Fish from Marillion – to fly the flag a bit.

One audience member was invited to blow into the device but sadly neither Whinger was selected on this occasion. Perhaps this being the Fringe they can’t stretch to a backup machine and felt it was too risky.

But the tone, which feels a bit preachy, was made even worse by the feeling of unpreparedness from Smith who rambled through the evening referring to notes on a bit of paper and even then failing to get the name of his guest musician right. Is he sure he’s given up the sauce? If he has, perhaps he should consider going back on it.

As it happens, Fish (AKA Derek Dick) provided the most interesting chat and seemed a very likeable chap. But the evening was almost saved from being a complete shambles by Smith’s besuited side-kick Derek from the fictional Scottish Licensing Agency who provided most of the real laughs.

Of course as the guests vary every night so no two shows will be the same, but the whole drinks issue seemed counter-productive, rather than over-the-counter, to the proceedings.

Dispiriting in both senses.


Review – Sarah Millican – Thoroughly Modern Millican, Venue150 @ EICC, Edinburgh Fringe

Tuesday 16 August 2011

That’s the problem with sold-out shows in large venues on the Fringe.

How long in advance do you need to get there to queue to stand the chance of a decent seat? The Fringe is all about unreserved seating and you know the Whingers’ thoughts about that.

So we opted to arrive at the Assembly Hall half an hour early, but that clearly wasn’t enough. Could that long queue snaking endlessly into the distance possibly be ours? Yes, it was! And of course it was raining. But that’s the lure of South Shields stand-up Sarah Millican these days. Her meteoric rise to fame must be taking even her by surprise. It seems she’s never off the telly; she’s even a semi-regular on Loose Women. Is there anything she says no to? She’s this year’s Miranda Hart but worse. She keeps doing The Marriage Ref, for god’s sake.  Read the rest of this entry »