Comedy Cuts

Rachel Parris. Picture: comp
Rachel Parris. Picture: comp
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Your round up of the funny Fringe shows.

Abandoman gives comedy a good rap

ON paper, if the standard of stand-up varies wildly at the Fringe, then the quality of musical comedy – an even harder task to pull-off – fluctuates even more so. When it’s bad, it’s agonisingly so, but find something good, like these three, and you’re in for a treat.

Having previously won admirers with their improvised raps, Rob Broderick and James Hancox: Abandoman (Underbelly Bristo Square, 8.45pm, until August 26, * * * *) have added two further members, on drums and keys, enhancing the depth and variety of musical styles on offer.

The gist is still the same, but a silly, surreal – and deliberately vague – plotline involving a future battle for control of the moon allows them more narrative structure, and better showcases Broderick’s remarkable verbal dexterity and outrageously sharp wit.

Air on a French string

Airnadette (Underbelly Bristo Square, 8.50pm, until August 26, * * * *) tells the tale of the world’s greatest airband, charting their rise and demise by using a fairly novel conceit – the six-strong French cast never speak once, instead playing out to an hour-long soundtrack created from a mental mash-up of quotes, lines and sounds from Music, TV and Film.

It’s an all lip-synching, all-dancing extravaganza, and pop-culture junkies will be in their element trying to spot all the references. Sure, the joke is a little one-dimensional, but the inventiveness of some sections, like the Super Mario fight scene and their own inspired take on Michael Jackson’s Thriller make this terrifically mindless fun.

Rachel Parris jingles darkly all the way

While both of those acts come to Edinburgh with a fairly well-established reputation, every now and then, you stumble on something unexpectedly fantastic. Rachel Parris (Laughing Horse @ Counting House, 4pm, until August 25, * * * *) is one such discovery. Part of the Free Fringe, The Commission is her first solo show (she’s appeared in other guises previously), and a terrifically promising debut. Commissioned by ad execs and multi-nationals to write jingles and songs in real life, here she plays the tunes she wishes she’d submitted instead. What starts out innocently enough soon turns darker and somewhat unhinged, introducing love songs with a twist, Disney-baiting ditties and an X-Factor parody that’s spot on both musically and comically. With a bit more development, and the right setting (say a late-night slot in the Spiegeltent), this could easily be a sell-out sensation.