Baconface - It's All Bacon
Late Night Gimp Fight
Gilded Balloon Nightclub
The divisive nature of Stewart Lee's stand-up persona means it's highly likely that only his comedy disciples will follow a recommendation. In this case it's a cult Canadian comedian who wears a wrestling mask covered in bacon. Well hands up here - guilty as charged.
The backstory goes that Lee encountered BACONFACE at a Canadian comedy club in 1986, and is now bankrolling his first appearance here.
When Baconface appears, it's clear to see where Lee has adopted his stage presence, and indeed his face, without the bacon of course. Maintaining the pretence that Lee and Baconface are different people was never going to be feasible. However, there's something looser about Baconface. Lee has never had an issue with saying exactly what he feels, but with a character to inhabit, the riffs are more surreal - dressing up as Margaret Attwood in his home town's annual fancy dress parade for a start.
The idea that at his first "English" shows, he refuses to change material that works in his part of Canada works beautifully, as does the conceit that he invented stand-up as we know it today and it has been stolen from him by a series of interlopers. It's tempting to say Kevin Bacon has let himself go... but that's a real Stewart Lee fan in-joke. It could be argued that Baconface is too, but at least it's a funny one.
Until August 25.
LATE NIGHT GIMP FIGHT has been a Fringe favourite for a few years, with audiences returning to see just how shocking they can be. And that's fine - sometimes laughing at things that can only be viewed between the fingers works beautifully.
However, when humour depends on shock value, the laughter doesn't necessarily increase with cranking up the taboos.
The songs are the strongest part of the Gimp Fight, but there's still an element of not really knowing how to follow some ideas through, even when that idea is celebrity paedophilia.
Being a late show, beers have been taken by many of the audience and the appeal should maybe be judged through those goggles.
There's a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that they're getting a little old for mucking about in gimp masks. Nothing to do with getting old - running out of ideas is a different thing altogether.
Until August 26.
RUBBERBANDITS are already a big deal, particularly in their home territory of Ireland, but as winners of last year's Malcolm Hardee Award for comic originality, they have returned from Limerick with the show that lets newcomers catch up with the buzz that's happening around them.
With shopping bags stretched over their faces, Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome are joined by DJ Willie in an hour driven by songs, rap and interplay between the three that covers everything from a special friendship with a six-year-old boy to republicanism. There's also Horse Outside, the song that almost kept an X Factor contestant from the Irish Christmas No 1 in 2010, and still sounds good.
Without resorting to taking about humour having layers, it's much more than it initially appears. It's incredibly sweary and to many the subjects covered will fall into the offensive category, but even behind the masks, the wink is obvious. With a successful Channel 4 pilot at the tail-end of last year, a series could be in the offing. If that's the case, then this could be the last opportunity to see them when they're still relatively underground.
Until August 26.