Nick Helm - 'One Man Mega Myth'

Edinburgh 2013: Nick Helm and John Kearns tackle failed machismo for laughs

Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth

John Kearns: Sight Gags for Perverts

Brett Goldstein

Edinburgh 2013: Brett Goldstein: Contains Scenes of an Adult Nature

Based on his last two solo shows, you might say that the comedy actor Brett Goldstein (known for his part in Ricky Gervais' sitcom 'Derek') is preoccupied with sex. But when he has spent his formative years running his father's strip club in Marbella (the subject of his debut show) and then escaped that by going to a drama school where the company is particularly lascivious, you can hardly blame him.

Max and Ivan: The Reunion

Edinburgh 2013: Max and Ivan: The Reunion - Ingeniously plotted and zingily executed

Sketch shows take one of two forms - a high-speed rattle through random gags or a narrative arc structured around more-or-less random gags. The latter can be tortuous, if not nonsensical but like Pappy's last year, Max and Ivan have hit upon the perfect vehicle for their sketch story this year. Their school reunion rom-com has plot and heart enough to stand alone but leaves space for plenty of playful messing around, too.

Ivo Graham

Edinburgh 2013: Ivo Graham: Binoculars - A very convincing set from this erudite comedian

Having won the So You Think You Are Funny award in 2009, at just 18 years old, Ivo Graham had previously seemed to me to be a vanilla poshboy comic. His debut show proves the contrary.

Edinburgh 2013: Tig Notaro - It may be her Fringe debut, but this is a comedy masterclass

Almost exactly a year ago, the American comedian Tig Notaro walked out onto the stage at LA's Largo Theatre and announced that she had breast cancer. The ensuing set went viral and topped the Billboard comedy chart thanks largely to Louis CK who declared it to be one of a handful of "truly masterful performances" he had seen in his 27 years of comedy.

Liam Williams

Edinburgh 2013: Liam Williams - A comedian of existential introspection

If the hero of John Osborne's Look Back In Anger, Jimmy Porter, had ever performed stand-up, he'd look and sound a bit like Liam Williams. Similarly deracinated and disillusioned, Williams sets out to extricate himself from the restrictions of a lower middle class upbringing and thereby express his dissatisfaction with the world as a whole.

Red Bastard, the provocative creation of the American clown Eric Davis.

Edinburgh 2013: Red Bastard - The so-called Marmite of comedy actually tastes quite mild

For a buzz show deemed to be Marmite, I'm surprised to feel almost ambivalent about Red Bastard, the provocative creation of the American clown Eric Davis.

Howling woof: Terence Blacker

Edinburgh 2013: Terence Blacker's My Village and Other Aliens is an accomplished Fringe debut

For a writer to share his or her problems with writer's block is, says Terence Blacker, like bleeding into shark-infested waters. He has taken the plunge nonetheless and in this, an accomplished Fringe debut inspired by his struggles with ideas and wrangles with publishers, the risk pays off.

Andrew Maxwell finds independence a laughing matter

Edinburgh comedy review: Andrew Maxwell's Banana Kingdom - Alex Salmond, and the funny side of medieval theology

A year before the referendum,  Andrew Maxwell deserves credit for doing material about Scottish independence, not least because he’s a London-based Irishman whose jokes could easily divide the room. But such is his skill, charm and Banana Kingdom’s faultless construction that he takes the crowd with him.

Alex Horne

Edinburgh 2013: Alex Horne: Lies - The multimedia maestro returns

Comedians deconstructing their own art is commonplace at the Fringe, but rarely is this tic be treated to such an elaborate exploration. Alex Horne's latest show comes with no PowerPoint presentations this time ("I'm good at them, but now everyone else is doing them I am not allowed"), but the multimedia maestro still has a gimmick: he uses audiobooks as cast members in a homage to fabrication.

Al Lubel

Edinburgh 2013: Al Lubel is Mentally Al - His performance is like an elongated beat poem

If you see Al Lubel you'll never forget his name. That's because the middle-aged New Yorker spends much of his mostly captivating hour playing with the sound of it - though not quite as much time as he spends describing how his over-protective Jewish mother smothered him.

James Acaster

Edinburgh 2013: James Acaster: Lawnmower

Last year James Acaster beguiled his way on to the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist with an artfully crafted study in mild lunacy. This year offers something similar, equally well-shaped, and equally kooky, but it sails so close to the wind of being inconsequential that a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the room for portions of the show.

Ardal O'Hanlon at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Edinburgh 2013: Ardal O'Hanlon - A 47-year-old little boy lost

Ardal O'Hanlon closes his show on a sweet and poignant note as he confesses: "I don't have a big finish. I've never been one for 'fireworks' like some comedians." Having described stand-up as the best way to make sense of the world, it's understandable if the 47-year old little boy lost feels a little deflated in not making the most of it and flatlining. 

Michael Che

Edinburgh 2013: Michael Che: Cartoon Violence

Tonight is one of those nights where the comedy comes dangerously close to being defined by the audience rather than the comic. The tension occasioned by audience banter gone on too long, and gone wrong, at the start of this American comedian's show casts a shadow over much of the rest of the night.

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