Sue Perkins: The Disappointing Second Show, Pleasance Courtyard <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Judging by her ironic show title, Sue Perkins must have known that she was to return to the Fringe having grown in confidence as a stand-up. She is clearly enjoying herself more than in last year's debut show, which came more than a decade after her double act with Mel Giedroyc first made waves at the Fringe.

Perkins' finest moments are her contributions to television discussion shows and radio panel shows, and her natural wit is still finding it difficult to shine through in routines that push the boundaries of believability at times. Elsewhere, she wields hoary old comedy chestnuts like the "Slow Children Ahead" road sign with no distinctive spin.

However, the closer Perkins gets to her real life the funnier she is. Her mother politely replying to spam e-mails offering penis enlargement is a delightful moment, from which follow tales of her convent schooling - routines that give her set personality and dimension. At times her self-referential approach to her own punchlines is cute, but by saying things like "just a joke between me and myself, then", she merely highlights the creases that still need to be ironed out of her act.

I find myself more interested in Perkins' technique than in what she has to say, but I can understand why her entourage have nicknamed her "Soopa-kins": her efforts are heroic.

To 27 August, except 21 (0131-556 6550)

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