Day 1 in Edinburgh and 5 shows down. First up, Doon MacKichan’s Primadoona. There’s no doubting that Doon is a fantastic comedy actress as her portrayal of a posh, jolly-hockey-sticks type neighbour displayed, but this autobiographical piece didn’t quite hang together for me. This type of show is hard to pull off as Simon Amstell’s Grandma’s House is currently proving (although that is redeemed by excellent performances from the supporting cast). Doon’s solo effort is even more self indulgent and despite some excellently executed vignettes, I felt unable to warm to or sympathise with her character, which is all the more disappointing given how serious the subject matter becomes.
Next up was Pete Firman who combines magic and comedy. When I last saw Pete he was more rock ‘n‘ roll in appearance but his comedy magic failed to impress. Three years on, he’s no longer rock ‘n’ roll in appearance but the comedy and magic is much more assured. I wouldn’t see Pete for his comedy alone, but as a magic show with a few good gags from a very likeable Middlesbrough lad, this works. Still not sure whether enough of you would come and see this combo though. Let me know your thoughts as he’ll be touring again next year.
Next up, Seann Walsh. I had high hopes based on an off-the-wall contribution on Mock the Week and stuff I’d seen on You Tube, however he got off to a very week start. There was a brief moment after an encounter with a derivatives trader where it looked as though the show may turn a corner but suddenly poor Seann was overcome by a panic attack and we were all cleared from the venue 25 minutes into the show. He had alluded to the show getting off to a bad start and sadly it finished even worse. He’s still very young and was possibly suffering from the sort of high expectations these TV shows create in an audience… myself no exception.
Jimmy McGhie followed him in the same boiling, stuffy Pleasance venue and I wasn’t expecting much (maybe it’s the name?!), but he delivered an intelligent, assured performance. He has a cheeky charming character and looks that Russell Howard would die for – definitely one to look out for on the comedy circuit.
My evening was rounded off with a BBC comedy selection, highlights of which were Josh Widdecombe (definitely on my watch list now) and Andrew Lawrence who, if you can get over the odd appearance and unusual delivery, has some very funny material delivered in a refreshingly original way. Look out for him next year at the Arts Centre.
Now odd to find a sit down lunch (all meals were on the hoof yesterday), before another 5 shows this evening.