Comedy of the week: Nottingham Comedy Festival, various venues


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The Independent Culture

With the stand-up firmament in semi-retirement after Edinburgh, top marks go to the folks behind the Nottingham Comedy Festival for reeling in a delicious line-up.

Among the top draws, Alan Davies selflessly risks a nosebleed by heading out of his North London enclave with the excellent Life Is Pain; silent-comedy hero The Boy with Tape on His Face slaps the piece of gaffer across his mouth for adventures in mime, puppetry and audience participation; and Marcus Brigstocke pedals superior social commentary.

Elsewhere, there's pithy poetry from Tim Key; lashings of laid-back charm from Carl Donnelly, Patrick Monahan and observational bod Tom Stade; bright stuff from up-and-comers Joe Lycett and Elis James; and riffs on bacon sandwiches, bar-room etiquette and the like from Al Murray's Pub Landlord.

Deborah Frances-White, meanwhile – more commonly a saucy, stand-up sex therapist – recalls her door-knocking days as a Jehovah's Witness in Cult Following.

( Fri to 30 Sept