Edinburgh Fringe Comedy reviews round-up

Nick Helm.  Pic: Comp
Nick Helm. Pic: Comp
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Your pick of the Fringe funnies.

Horne’s almost as good as the real thing

‘ART is a lie that makes us realise truth’ said Picasso, and nowhere are people more interested in trying to demonstrate that than at the Fringe.

Plenty of acts appear as fictionalised versions of themselves - whether a gentle pretence or elaborate stretching of the truth - in the name of comedy, often leaving audiences unsure of quite how much of the ‘real’ person they are seeing.

Lies, fibs and general misdirection are the name of the game with Alex Horne (Pleasance Courtyard, 8.30pm, until August 25, * * * * *) and his smart, bold and technically brilliant show, where he skilfully deconstructs comic conventions and the art of the autobiography.

After initially miming the start of the set, he introduces a range of disembodied voices – including Cherie Blair, Andre Agassi and Michael Caine, as well as himself – adroitly interacting and conversing with each to weave such a tall tale of untruths and falsehoods that you’ll never again believe a word he has to say.

I’ll never forget what’s his name

Despite his undeniable greatness, Nick Helm (Pleasance Courtyard, 4pm, until August 26, * * *) doesn’t get the recognition

he deserves. Or

at least that’s what he tells us over and over in this high-octane whirlwind of an hour. He’s hamming it up as usual, but this time,

his egotistical per

sona is bigger and brasher

than ever. It’s a relentless barrage of one-liners, tragic-comic love songs and poetry and enjoyable rants about Evel Knievel, mangy cats and his need to be appreciated.

It’s not a show for the timid, as he constantly hauls audience members on stage or berates them for leaving to go to the toilet which, rather strangely, seems to make people all the more desperate to go.

Grainne Maguire party gets my vote

It’s at least safe to say Grainne Maguire (Underbelly Bristo Square, 2.45pm, until August 25, * * *) is a politics geek. The subject played a big part in her 2012 show, and is the central tenet this time too, as she compares key aspects of her life – jobs, relationships and family – with her favourite part of politics: elections.

Throughout, she references her supposed social awkwardness and combines it with a nervy, fidgety delivery (although it’s not entirely clear how much of it is just for comic effect) to illustrate these points, backed up by ideas to make politics more interesting – such as Drunk Question Time - an audience-based vote and some agreeably lo-fi ‘election night coverage’.