Get stuck in you lunatics
The first conker has a-fallen. The final swallow has departed for warmer climes. Some people are wearing hats. It’s autumn, folks, and in the comedy world, that means booking in a load of shows between now and the end of the year, at which point, we all go round again.
Sam Simmons stole the headlines in Edinburgh for bagging the Fosters Best Comedy award, but for my money, it was straight stand-up and sketch that caught the eye at this year’s Fringe. Several stand-ups went AT LEAST one level up with their 2015 shows, and there were plenty of sketch acts who shone in their debut or second shows. Many of my Fringe favourites haven’t yet announced their London runs, but as the list below testifies, there’s loads of good stuff to see.
So cast an eye on this lot, and treat yourself to a few goodies. In chronological order …
• Mae Martin – Us (Until October 3)
Charm and laughs in equal measure, as Canadian stand-up Mae Martin speaks candidly about her odd family life and her sexuality. Her ongoing impressions of her mother (“Wendy”) are worth the admission alone.
• Tom Parry – Yellow T-Shirt (September 29 – October 3)
There are no profound messages in this hour from Pappy’s lunatic Tom Parry, no emotional hijackings – just fun, in spades. If you can’t crack a smile in this show, you should seek help immediately.
• Gein’s Family Giftshop (Until October 3)
A sketch trio that really feels like a gang, and is all the better for it. Gein’s err on the side of juvenile sometimes, but there are plenty of good lines and some really strong performances in this show.
• Joseph Morpurgo – Soothing Sounds For Baby (October 5-31)
High-concept, smarty-pants comedy at its best. Morpurgo takes randomly found bizarre vinyl records as the starting point for this show, which features many an entertaining stunt, and the mother of all Desert Island Discs spoofs.
• Alison Thea-Skot – Some Like It Thea-Skot (October 6)
A full-throttle affair that was something of a word-of-mouth hit at the Fringe. Thea-Skot throws herself into her crazed characters with maximum commitment, and it’s hugely fun to watch.
• Laurence Owen – Cinemusical (October 10)
A remarkably talented musical comedian (Owen is a composer by day) who lampoons (love that word) the tropes and cliches of Disney films. Perhaps not an out-and-out comedy show as such, but hugely entertaining nonetheless.
• Richard Gadd – Waiting for Gaddot (October 27 – November 7)
The show at this year’s Fringe that got all the buzz (hate that word). Don’t let that put you off, though, because it’s a comedy show like no other – will Gadd turn up in time for his own show, is the question – and it has genuine comic heft behind the critic-baiting clever-cleverness.
• Liam Williams – Bonfire Night (October 27 – November 14 at Soho Theatre, September 22 – October 9 at Invisible Dot)
A moody exploration of romance and politics from the boy Williams, and a show that gets under the skin (in a good way).
• LetLuce – Sea Men: A Naval Tale (October 28-31)
Daft, daft, daft. Letty Butler and Lucy Pearman raid the costume box for a marvellously cartoonish ROMP set at sea. Think Boosh, think Harry Hill, think singing Caribbean crabs.
• Kieran Hodgson – Lance (November 2-14)
A barnstormer from character comic Hodgson, who tells two stories simultaneously: his upbringing as a Lance Armstrong obsessive, and Armstrong’s own rise and fall. Hodgson plays all the characters and crams in a load of superb jokes and set-pieces too. A truly memorable hour.
• James Acaster – Represent ((November 7)
Another sublime show from Acaster. That’s four in a row. His only London date was supposed to be at Bloomsbury Theatre until they discovered a load of asbestos, so the venue will be changing and is tbc. Keep an eye on Acaster’s Twitter account for updates.
• Daphne – Daphne Do Edinburgh (November 30 – December 12)
A new sketch triplet born of Cambridge Footlights whose lo-fi debut was full of cunning ideas and spot-on execution, and it was rightly nominated for the Best Newcomer award.
• Nish Kumar – Long Word, Long Word, Blah Blah, I’m So Clever (December 1-12)
A show I’m yet to see, in truth, but Kumar has been getting better with each show and this one was something of a breakthrough for the lad. Expect smart, self-deprecating stand-up.