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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Alfie Brown: Soul for Sale, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Alfie Brown isn’t the only comedian at the Fringe berating his industry for catering to the lowest common denominator, but he may well be the one doing it with the least amount of grace.

Sean Hughes' Life Becomes Noises is a musing on his dad's death that sees the Irish comic donning a jockey's outfit in honour of his father's passion for horse racing

Sean Hughes: Life Becomes Noises, Pleasance Courtyard,***/ Sean Hughes Stands Up, Gilded Balloon, *

In recent years the returns that Sean Hughes has made to the Fringe have been diminishing ones, contrasting ever more unfavourably with his peak in the 1990s and exposing an increasingly bitter disillusionment with, well, everything.

Will Franken: Things We Did Before Reality, Just the Tonic at The Caves, Edinburgh

San Franciscan Will Franken provides the most whistlestop character comedy that you’re likely to see at the Fringe this year.

Sarah Kendall: Get Up, Stand-Up, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

“So what happened in the first 15 minutes, did you just not like me?” asks Sarah Kendall of her audience at the end of her show. Observational comedians are supposed to say what everyone else is thinking but on this matter, Kendall is too close to the bone: her audience tonight just don’t buy into her.

Trevor Noah, The Racist, Pleasance Courtyard

According to Newsweek, the appearance of the South African comedian, Trevor Noah on 'The Tonight Show' earlier this year had sub-Saharan newspapers reporting it "as if it were breaking news". MSNBC Africa meanwhile aired it across the continent.

Susan Calman: This Lady's Not for Turning Either, Underbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Small on stature but big on heart, the lawyer-turned-comic Susan Calman has made great strides in her career since her debut Fringe hour in 2008, making an impression on Have I Got News for You and various Radio 4 shows including The News Quiz and The Now Show.

Alan Davies: Life Is Pain, Venue 150 @ EICC, Edinburgh

More than just Essex jokes from Davies

Julian Hall: 'It's breathtaking at times, if not for Kitson's structural shenanigans then for wordplay and lyricism'

First Night: Daniel Kitson - 'As of 1.52 GMT on Friday 27th April 2012, this show has no title', Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

An exercise in mental gymnastics from comedy's best worst-kept secret

Alan Davies; Life Is Pain, Venue 150 @ EICC, Edinburgh

Over a decade has passed since everyone's favourite 'dunce' from ‘QI’ last flexed his stand-up muscles, so he has some catching up to do.

Nick Helm: This Means War, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Nick Helm, barking dictator of fun, and nominee for last year’s comedy award, has pushed the military nuances in his act to their logical conclusion.

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