Keith Smith presents Comic Cuts.
Pajama Men are not asleep on the job
EARNING acclaim during your Edinburgh run might do wonders for your profile, but it also causes headaches. How do you subsequently repeat that success, especially when your brand of comedy is a particularly distinctive one?
After essentially winning the Fringe with each of their last two full-length outings, the Pajama Men (Assembly Roxy, 9pm, until August 26, * * * * *) must have been feeling the pressure more than anyone. Thankfully, they maintain their high standards (even if it’s not quite epic as 2011’s incredible In The Middle of No One). A stable of odd characters – like one-armed Nadine and a delinquent valley girl – are all drawn into an immortal king’s monster-killing quest. Again, there’s a sad, sinister tinge that touches everything, and even the dreamy music, provided by Kevin Hume, takes a darker form due to this unsettling undercurrent.
They prove they’re still the masters of physical comedy too, playing ‘roles’ like a bad-ass motor cycle or funfair toy grabber with inventive aplomb. Part of the joy is in waiting to see how they’ll piece it all together, like watching someone complete the world’s weirdest jigsaw.
Tony’s flight of fancy
Absurdist stand-up Tony Law (The Stand, 12.40pm,
25, * * * *)
deservedly won the Amused Moose Award in 2011 and was an Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee last year.
This time round
he embarks on another
flight of fancy that has us travelling through space and time to learn how he domesticated sheep and invented pumpkin pie.
His playful, seemingly aimless material – which also features a mobster-coated anecdote about a Peruvian coffee plantation and plenty of Who-based half-references - is a joy, as he crashes punchlines and disassembles his jokes.
While not quite as surreal and subversive as past years, it’s still a fabulously nutty experience.
Hard boiled & scrambled
Don’t Drop The Egg (Pleasance Courtyard, 3.30pm, until August 26, * *) arrived not with a former Fringe buzz, but off the back of an amusing series of Youtube mockumentaries about rugby team, the Clapham Falcons.
Unfortunately, adapted for stage and stretched to an hour, it soon begins to lose its charm.
Any emotional depth created is laid aside for cheap jokes, and its characters are far too one-dimensional.
There are some nice touches (a great Adele-based moment of audience participation for instance) but this needs a lot more work to be passable.