Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Rhys James at Pleasance Courtyard and 'Confirmation' at King's Hall

Rhys James is a cut above his humdrum peers. 'Confirmation' takes steps in the far-right direction

Rhys James at Pleasance Courtyard

“I’m just another haircut comic,” Rhys James says by way of introduction. The phrase is used in the industry to describe any number of middle-class twentysomething stand-ups with nothing more than a bunch of lame gags and a distinctive coiffure; the newcomer certainly looks the part – sporting a sub-Harry Styles barnet – but he’s so much more than that.

He’s a poet for one thing, interspersing his jokes with rhymes that would do a rapper proud, proving that he’s a clever wordsmith with great timing. He also uses the delayed reveal to great effect in multilayered jokes, such as: “Fun fact: HIV is Roman for high five. Pass it on. Or rather, don’t.”

He’s a poet for one thing, interspersing his jokes with rhymes that would do a rapper proud He’s a poet for one thing, interspersing his jokes with rhymes that would do a rapper proud He has real stage presence,  and a confidence that endears and carries him through the odd weak gag. He’s also a fine performer, and the show started with a nicely knowing 10-minute film guying every cliché about marketing an Edinburgh show.

I could have done with less about James being unlucky in love – I’m not sure I believed it and it really is haircut comedy – but this is an accomplished debut from a talented performer.

By Veronica Lee

To 24 Aug (0131 556 6550)

Confirmation at King's Hall

At the dawn of the 21st  century, says writer and lone performer Chris Thorpe, our survival is less dependent on the survival of the group than ever.

This “convinces us we’re more right than we are”, and allows confirmation bias – the subliminal favouring of information which confirms what we already believe – to thrive. It’s why a typical “leftist” like Thorpe can barely bring himself to admit that he believes the thrust of Donald Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns” speech, that what we fear are the things we don’t know we don’t know, was not idiocy but deeply profound.

Chris Thorpe in 'Confirmation' Chris Thorpe in 'Confirmation' It’s also why Thorpe finds it so jarring that Glen, the pseudonymous but real creator of a white supremacist website whom he contacted and gives voice to (alongside script-reading members of the audience) within this piece, shares many relatable traits amidst the unpalatable. His wife died in their youth.

He believes multiculturalism is a Zionist plot. He’s a socialist and a localist who champions small businesses and campaigns against Atos and government cuts. He believes Breivik was right. He lives in a nice cottage in a pleasant English village.

As deftly as he dissects the various readings of Minor Threat’s punk classic “Guilty of Being White”, Thorpe and director Rachel Chavkin energetically take a liberal Fringe audience to the edge of the abyss of belief and hang them over the side in a conversation for our times.

By David Pollock

To 23 Aug (0131 477 6630)

 

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'