Review of 2012: Comedy
After a couple of less-than-impressive years, Andrew Lawrence came back with a rather splendid show. The ginger misanthrope's spleen machine was set at full throttle, and his guffaws-to-the-gallon rate was restored after the lanky comic freed himself of the constricting rhythms that had begun to entrap him.
An easy, gentle mix of stand-up and storytelling, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend was American Mike Birbiglia's UK debut. Tales of Birbiglia's romantic life circled and built into a powerful denouement that surprised and delighted. A few months later, Birbiglia's feature film Sleepwalk with Me came out, cementing his US following and his growing fanbase over here.
Another Stateside visitor came, saw and conquered. Living up to his preceding hype and his Twitter fame, Delaney delivered a more ruminative and less gauche set than some of his tweets would suggest. However, there was still room to muse on the best way to cook your baby – out of love, of course.
Brown rode the crest of this year's “mime wave” at the Fringe and his silent capers crept up and stole this year's comedy award. The persona of American Phil Burgers, Brown is a believer in audience participation, even if he has to clamber over punters to get it. Fortunately, his brand of goofery is more clubbable than it sounds.
The Inbetweeners' star's first solo show was a smash hit and his follow up, The Back of My Mum's Head, proved to be another entertaining hour full of trademark self-deprecation and scenes of moderate crudity. Moody teenagers, randy pensioners and flummoxed cabbies featured in Davies's jovial romp.
Turkey of the year: The Establishment
This relaunch of Peter Cook's Sixties satire club used a recipe of Keith Allen with a pinch of George Galloway to serve up something best forgotten. None of the other acts on the bill suggested that they could storm the barricades and, after the aforementioned duo's tête-à-tête set piece, it was hard to blame them for their muted approach.
Discovery of the year: Sam Fletcher
It is now taken for granted that the Free Fringe in Edinburgh will throw up a pleasant surprise. This year, it was the turn of Sam Fletcher, with his gentle, enchanting show that took in Heath Robinsonesque illustrations of whimsical inventions and corny visual and verbal gags.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove