Karen Koren: Look out for hidden comedy gems...

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I’M back and the Festival preparations are hotting up. With such eagerness to get ‘bums on seats’ by all involved, it can all get a bit desperate.

The little shows that don’t have large PR agencies behind them can get lost in the blast of publicity paid for by the big boys. I’d therefore like to give a wee mention to some of the hidden gems at the Gilded Balloon this August - shows that deserve to have audiences but need a little help to make people aware they’re here.

Firstly I’d like to mention Big Sean, Mikey And Me, a play by talented Edinburgh actor Ruaraidh Murray - the piece is about his imaginary friend Big Sean Connery.

Then there’s Love Child, an Australian play about two women, a mother and daughter. Often humorous and always passionate, this is one for the girls to identify with, which is why I wanted it for the Gilded Balloon.

Other gems include Uncoupled, about a break up of a marriage due to infidelity of a gruesome sort, and Visiting Time, a play about a man who is visited by his best friend while dying in hospital . . . or is he?

These plays may seem a bit serious for the Gilded Balloon but there is humour in each of them. Which brings me on to a few comedy shows that may be overlooked but should not be missed, including four Chriss.

Chris Brain has overcome booze, drugs and gambling. He is truly hilarious. Next Chris Martin, one of this year’s best up-and-coming comedians. Then Chris Kent, from Ireland, who makes his Fringe debut in Plugged In. Finally the wonderful Chris Difford of Squeeze fame, who is doing a show with Norman Lovett called It’s All About Me, a mixture of Squeeze songs and stories from his musical life. Enjoy.