Your pick of the Fringe funnies
More food for thought from agitprop Mark
IN the right hands, comedy can be a powerful medium for reflection, sending audiences away laughing and thinking, and this year, there’s a number of performers who manage to achieve both those outcomes.
Mark Thomas (The Stand, 7.30pm, until August 25, * * * *) is well-known for his calls-to-arms, yet it’s his latest project that might be his most inspirational in terms of recruiting an apathetic public - it’s political activism for the politically inactive.
He’s set himself a task of completing 100 acts of minor dissent – ranging from posting roof tiles to junk mailers to the dazzling idea of ‘book heckling’ – in one year, or face a horrible forfeit.
It’s not just the concept that’s appealing either. Thomas is a master orator with a knack of finding a funny story to exemplify a point; his children’s antics are used to demonstrate different levels of dissenting behaviour; the sense of community summed by a guilt trip by his barber. If this doesn’t motivate you to make a change, nothing will.
Bridget Christie and war on lads’ mags
Thomas would certainly approve of Bridget Christie (The Stand, 11.10am, until August 25, * * * *) and her own minor act of dissent: for
the past few months,
she’s been nipping into supermarkets and newsagents and doing a bit of ‘ethical filing’ with the lad’s mags. That impromptu campaign forms the backbone of a show that decries modern perceptions of feminism and its ‘icons’, all done with a cheeky sense of knowing and agreeably outlandish digressions. Whether it’s imagining Martin Luther King as a stand-up, the Bronte sisters struggling to finish their works or the enjoyably over-the-top reaction to misogynistic comments by Stirling Moss, it all makes for a witty, powerful polemic.
The League of gentle Bo Burnham
You get the sense that the sensational Bo Burnham (Pleasance Courtyard, 11.15pm, until August 19, * * * * *) is going to inspire a whole new generation of comedians, because his show is unlike anything else. The individual elements aren’t necessarily new, but it’s the manner in which he combines sharp song parodies, smart wordplay, physical comedy and a sort of meta stand-up –along with an inventive intelligence and attention of detail - that sets him apart. ‘Art is a lie,’ he says at the start, and he’s continually subverting the form, playing with structure, set-ups and punchlines to point you one way then spin you the other. Quite simply in a league of his own.