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Edinburgh Fringe who's who #2 – going solo

Tuesday, July 26 2011
Humphrey Ker

Remember when you were little and you took the stabilisers off your bike and it was scary? That.

I mean, just look at those eyes
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Some comics are going through that very same horror (really? horror? – hyperbowl Ed) this year, performing solo shows after years performing as part of sketch groups. They're a talented bunch so they'll all be fine, but it'll be interesting to see how they get on. Here's a quick guide:


David Reed: Shamblehouse (8.30pm, Pleasance Courtyard)
Perhaps a misleading title given Reed is a pretty water-tight performer, Shamblehouse sees him delve into his shoebox of characters for half a dozen extended sketches. He is a former member of the Penny Dreadfuls, who dealt in snappy sketches and long-form comedy plays, and are best known for their Aeneas Faversham series of Victorian romps. All three Dreadfuls are doing solo shows in Edinburgh this year (FIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! etc). Also seen on BBC1 improv show Fast and Loose.

Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! (7.15pm, Pleasance Counrtyard)
Another Fast and Loose alumnus and "the tall one" from the Penny Dreadfuls (pictured), Ker's solo debut pitch has a Penny's feel to it, being a comedy play in a historical setting. Ker plays a nerdy translator who gets embroiled in a WW2 spy thriller, and the story is based loosely on the life of Ker's grandfather. It looks pretty darn spiffing in preview, too.

Matthew Crosby: Adventureparty (4.45pm at Pleasance Courtyard)
Silliness abounds in the debut solo show from Crosby, of sketch heroes Pappy's. Fans of Pappy's will recognise and thoroughly enjoy this playful dash through Crosby's hopes, fears, failures and haircuts. He used to be a stand-up pre-Pappy's, and he's not lost his touch.

Catriona Knox: Packed Lunch (1.35pm, Udderbelly's Pasture)
Knox is another sketcher to go down the character comedy route for her solo show. She is one-third of livewire trio the Boom Jennies, who, unlike Pappy's, the Dreadfuls and We Are Klang, are in Edinburgh this year with their own show. Knox told Edinburgh is Funny the show features "a rag-tag of loads of different characters – from an unhinged divorcee to a market trader (not the city kind of market trader, the fun, grocery kind!) via an absurdly precocious child star and a naturist with body dysmorphia".


Thom Tuck

Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD (left) (8.10pm, Pleasance Dome)
Another Penny/Dreadfuller, Tuck's show is the closest of the three to stand-up, and he's a charismatic fellow so expect a boisterous hour in which he "watches every straight-to-DVD Disney movie, so you don't have to". He delves beneath the surface of cinematic obscurities, weaving in some personal stories as well. TTGSTDVD got positive reviews on the Brighton Fringe this spring.


Steve Hall's Very Still Life (8.30pm, Pleasance Courtyard)
Hall, the straight man/other one from We Are Klang, has watched former Klanger Greg Davies go stratospheric since Edinburgh 2011. Hall is a lower octane, more Zen-like presence onstage, as you can imagine. Unlikely to be setting off fireworks but certainly capable of a very enjoyable hour of stand-up.

And of course it can work the other way as well, with established stand-ups forming a playgroup together ...

Jigsaw (5.45pm, Pleasance Courtyard)
Dan Antopolski, Tom Craine and Nat Luurtsema are the new sketch group in town! Likely to be just a one-Fringe fling, and the previews suggest it's as good as you would hope from these three, who between them have a some writing/ideas/performance heft. It's more on the ramshackle, lo-fi end of the spectrum, which suits it well.


So who from the newer sketch groups can you imagine nailing a solo show? Do any of Late Night Gimp Fight, Delete the Banjax, the Beta Males etc strike you as potential solo performers?

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