A L Kennedy, The Stand, Edinburgh

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The Independent Culture

Novelist A L Kennedy started doing stand-up three years ago now, and her progress has been slight. While she's put a stop to her twee, weedy intonation, the thin premise of her material and non-existent links between routines remain.

Kennedy feels the need to get us to agree with the most contrived of her statements. Do planes really smell of people's vomit? She thinks so, and describes that as "the general atmosphere" of a plane.

From her disdain for flying we're suddenly transported to her worries about her teeth and her love/hate response to the phrase "oral surgery". Surgery, she says is "stabbing in a courteous environment", but this is an aside and not a punchline.

There are moments where her turns of phrase conjure up some comedically pleasing imagery, like the idea that Gordon Brown's face is made up of bits of old Prime Ministers. There's also a routine about pirate DVDs that would work well with better delivery.

The real problem is the fact that Kennedy is a better tragedian than a comedian. "I want to kill everybody I have ever met with a spike," she imagines saying in a paranoid moment after smoking dope, and later she adds: "We're all going to die. I am often up at 2am in the morning screaming that." While humour often comes from dark places, it needs to be offset by the light.

To 24 August, except 18 (0131-558 7272)