Julian Hall

Julian has been the comedy critic for The Independent since 2003. He is also the author of The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy, www.textualhealing.co.uk

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Pajama Men: Improv Show, Soho Theatre, London

For their latest show this sharp-witted and usually slumberwear-clad pair, who you'll normally never catch sleeping, have cast off crafted lines and practised clowning - and their normal stage attire - in favour of freeform improv in casual clothes.

Joe Lycett: Some Lycett Hot, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Though this 24-year-old comedian fails to convince that he has brought a complete hour with him to Edinburgh, he does enough with this debut show to flaunt his potential star quality.

Doctor Brown - The good doctor has made a splash at Edinburgh the past two years, and has returned with another heavily feted show. The Puck-ish performer makes full use of the space in his 'Befrdfgth' show, stealing audience drinks and creating uproar without saying a word. The clowning skills instructor trained with French master clown Philippe Gaulier

Doctor Brown, Underbelly, ****/ Tony Law, The Stand, ***

There are no words. Literally. Edinburgh has witnessed a mime wave this year, with acts such as The Boy With Tape On His Face, Billy the Mime and Doctor Brown stealing punters away from the stand-up acts who are already experiencing a downturn.

James Acaster: Prompt, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

After a tumbleweed-inducing debut solo show last year, the 27-year-old Kettering boy has returned to the Fringe and imposed an effective rule of three on his whimsical stylings: judicious repetition, reinforcement and joined-up thinking.

The Imaginary Radio Programme: Drennon Davis, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

If you add “with Monique Moreau on keyboard” to the self-explanatory title of this show then you get exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a simple recipe to prepare and serve: the American duo pretend to dial surf through the airwaves in order to pastiche various musical styles.

Eddie Pepitone’s Bloodbath, Just the Tonic at the Tron, Edinburgh

“I used to want to be a star but now I just like the hot darkness.” So laments the 53-year-old Eddie Pepitone. Part of this year’s American contingent, the comedian and actor (his roles include a recurring part on The Sarah Silverman Show) powers through a set that is almost exclusively anticomedy.

Tiffany Stevenson: Uncomfortably Numb, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Youth-preserving tips from a dermatologist inspired this latest hour from Tiffany Stevenson, known to television audiences from a stint on ITV’s ‘Show Me The Funny’ comedy competition.

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Marek Larwood: Typecast, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

“I’m sick of playing people who have been hit by spades”, laments Marek Larwood in his debut solo show. It’s not clear whether he is offering this slapstick stereotyping as a reason for his permanently startled expression, but there’s little doubt that the 36-year-old has a face for comedy.

Rubberbandits, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh

The Gilded Balloon’s nightclub is rarely used for its intended purpose during the Fringe, but the boisterous Irish outfit, and YouTube smashes, Rubberbandits warrant it. Their fans, some of whom have come with plastic bags over their heads to mimic their heroes’ attire, have come to dance as well as to laugh.

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