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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, TV review: Alexa Chung impresses, but Chris Moyles makes Paul Hollywood gag
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Seth Rogan's pot fumes delay hacked Sony boss’s office move
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin