Benet Brandreth, Gilded Balloon
Seann Walsh, Pleasance
Andrew Maxwell, Assembly, George Square
The Rob Deering Experience, Pleasance, Baby Grand
Andrew Lawrence, Pleasance, Cabaret Bar

Brandreth the Younger has daddy's diction – but not his jumpers, thankfully

What with the keyboard-playing apes, hip-hop chess and promoters shouting "Punching Mice" at passers-by, sometimes it feels as though the Edinburgh Fringe needs a voice of sanity.

Benet Brandreth is not that voice. What he is, as he embarks on a flight of fancy that takes in Thucydides, burlesque dancers and Jilly Cooper, is a master raconteur. "He sounds just like his dad," comes a whisper from behind, and indeed he does. But where father Gyles is famous for his awful pullovers, Benet is awfully dapper, dressed in black tie that instantly marks him out from the suit-and-open-neck stand-up crowd. The material in his debut show, The Brandreth Papers, too, is high class, as he tells how he has come to save the nation from a Frankensteinian monstrosity. It is clever (lesbian semiotics in the Dick and Jane children's books), self-deprecatory (his knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons), conceptual (particularly regarding art) and an all-round delight. A barrister by day, Brandreth is a confident performer, and he deserves an audience beyond the mainly 50-plus crowd clearly drawn by his surname.

Seann Walsh is a very different proposition. Shaggy-haired and a tad unkempt, he is a whirlwind of observational comedy to the extent that the oft-quotidian nature of his subject matter acquires a hysterical momentum. The nominal theme around which Ying and Young is based is how things have changed during the 25-year-old's lifetime, taking in topics as diverse as M&S appearing on garage forecourts and phones replacing watches. The highlight, however, is his acting out of a cookery programme fronted by a drunk man, giving instruction on how to make sausage rolls. To describe his act, however, cannot do justice to the energy being sweated out on stage. Walsh is well on his way to becoming a star attraction, and it won't be long before we're talking of him in the same regard as an Andrew Maxwell.

It says much for the reputation of Maxwell himself that his show, The Lights Are On, feels a little bit of a let-down despite ultimately being accomplished – to the extent that he was nominated for the Fringe's Foster's Comedy Awards. It may be because the lukewarm crowd makes this particular evening a bit lacklustre, but for once, Maxwell fails to take over the room with the exuberance of his personality.

What's more, while the core of his gig offers some good cracks about the recent riots, it is undermined by the odd flat note. For example, his gag that the range of people involved in the lawlessness stopped it being talked about in purely racial terms – "Black kids in the south, Asians in the Midlands, white kids in the north; it was a scumbag rainbow" – loses its magic as soon as he follows up with a predictable quip about the Olympic torch making its way through Tottenham. But wisecracks about the "Nazi Pope" and that old stand-by, sectarianism, have him back on track, while his extraordinary paean to the love that junkie couples have for each other offers a reminder of why he sells out huge arenas.

Rob Deering is a one-man band – with none of the pejorative associations that might suggest. Using a foot-pedal to loop riffs and vocals, he re-creates songs such as the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" with unerring accuracy. Though half the fun comes in working out which song he is putting together as he lays down beats, he's not short of a few gags, from a daft but deft recurring joke that stems from George Michael's "Faith" to an interpretation of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" as the chronicle of a drunken evening. That The Rob Deering Experience ends in a singalong is no surprise; that every audience member joins in without a hint of embarrassment is testament to Deering's convivial charisma. He is a talented musician and an evening in his company is nothing less than a joy.

After being nominated for the festival's Best Newcomer accolade in 2006 and the overall if.comedy award the following year (not to mention an appearance on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow on the Beeb), it comes as some surprise that Andrew Lawrence has named his routine The Best Kept Secret in Comedy. But, then, he does enjoy a bit of self-flagellation, be it about his ginger pate or his lack of a glamorous life. Though he has softened the caustic rants that propelled his breakthrough, he continues to unleash impressively dense harangues about the state of the world. Yet he indulges in rather more audience interaction than the results deserve and occasionally treads dangerously along clichéd lines, most notably about train announcements and Ginsters pies. It is a solid, rather than spectacular show – and you can't help longing for one of those stinging diatribes of yesteryear.

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering