Comedy Cuts: Donald Robertson| Beasts: Solo

The Nualas Pic:Marc O'Sullivan

The Nualas Pic:Marc O'Sullivan

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WHAT kind of comedy have you seen this year so far? If you’ve pretty much stuck solidly with stand-up, try something a little different. From plays about comedy to musical comedy, the Fringe literally has it all.

Donald Robertson is Not a Stand Up Comedian

Traverse, Cambridge

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Beasts: Solo

Pleasance Courtyard

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The Nualas: Hello Again We’re The Nualas

Assembly, George Square

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While it is categorically a play about comedy, Gary McNair’s show could almost qualify as stand-up. Much of the time his central character plays for laughs from the audience, all the while delving deeply into the pysche of comedians.

The vehicle for this analysis is young Donald Robertson – a boy who wants to use comedy as an anti-bullying device. McNair coaches the youngster and, in the process, tries to identify where comedy comes from, revealing some dark nooks and crannies along the way.

If that sounds at all clinical, the show itself is immediately funny. It’s only later that you find yourself analysing the next stand- up comedian you see.

Owen Roberts, James McNicholas and Ciarán Dowd are Beasts. Not an insult, but the name of their comedy group – except their egos have grown beyond the confines of teamwork and they each want to go solo.

That’s the basic premise of their third Fringe show, at least. In practice, what we have is anarchic comedy more than a little reminiscent of the Three Stooges. Multiple costume changes, zany characters and outrageous gags make this a very easy show to sit through and recommend to lovers of slapstick and farce. How Nelson Mandela got crowbarred into the proceedings is anyone’s guess.

Thirteen years after their last fringe show, The Nualas are back. If I called them a close harmony comedy trio, it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the surface. Bespectacled, glamorous and sporting glitzy red sequinned dresses, it’s impossible to decide which is funnier – the wicked, sometimes downright ‘dorty’ songs, or the ribald banter in between.

No one is safe from the Nualas’ probing wit – not even one of the Emerald Isles’ more unlikely heartthrobs – and not one member of the audience is immune to bouts of uncontrollable laughter in their company.