Simon Munnery Sings Soren Kierkegaard
THERE'S a reason comedy aficionados return to see Simon Munnery. Each offering is packed with inventive absurdity, so for those who enjoy challenging rather than cheeky, with a great deal more than superficial observation, there's a guarantee of the unexpected. So it was difficult to know whether he would really be regaling us with musical versions of the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher's writings.
As he said himself, titles for Fringe shows need to be submitted long before most comedians know what the show is going to be, so Kierkegaard might have been a curve ball.
It isn't. Munnery actually does devote a fair chunk of his hour to old Soren, not just delivering passages but providing much anecdotal and autobiographical detail. Other topics are covered, blending his cerebral approach with some beautifully childish jokes - a bit like the grooviest philosophy lecturer ever.
Without his ambition, the Fringe would be poorer, but this hour has a fair bit to go to match some of his previous excellence. It feels unprepared, which can be great, but the audience needs some clarity to keep up with the riot of ideas. If anyone can make this work, eventually, he can.
Runs to August 25
Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major
TO maintain a measure of individuality in comedy takes more than a silly haircut and strange show title. Paul Foot has both, but has also crafted a quixotic persona that has gathered a dedicated following, the Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs.
The eccentricities of the show are clear from the beginning. Even though what he does is essentially still stand-up, the use of extravagant language is mixed deliberately with physical comedy and more base subjects - my American neighbour did ask what a "gusset" is.
It's an hour of organised chaos and one that will divide. If you like it from the off, it will be a glorious hour; if you don't, it will be an extremely long one.
Runs to August 24
Glenn Wool: Wool's Gold
THE title is a clue, and it's an honest description. This is what Canadian stand-up Glenn Wool regards his best material, so after 20 years on the circuit we should expect a pretty solid hit rate.
First impressions of Wool are of the guy that Central Casting would place in every neon-signed dive bar, throwing a punch when the hero had spilled his beer.
When he discards the trucker cap he's still imposing and much of his commentary is not for those who like their political comedy with extra PC, but he manages through the roaring and the bluff and bluster to maintain the many layers in what he's saying, without recourse to the audience wink.
He also manages to link the pieces from shows over the years seamlessly with a running thread. In the end he seems more like the guy who would understand that sometimes beer gets spilled and be happy to take another one from you.
Runs to August 25