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Up-close gestures help to reveal the characters

Catriona Knox Thinks She's Hard Enough

Catriona Knox Thinks She's Hard Enough

Pleasance Attic

Red B*****d

Pleasance Forth

Kraken

Underbelly

Danny Bhoy

Assembly Rooms

Imagine, if you can, Joyce Grenfell channelling Edwina Currie. Got it? Good, because it gets even stranger. Thankfully the cast of characters in Catriona Knox Thinks She's Hard Enough is original, completely thought through, and unlike many other character-led shows, well written.

With no pretence that there are any wings to be introduced from, Knox welcomes the audience as they file into the attic space.

The best character actors are consumed by their creations and it's a treat to see Knox do this up close. Every gesture and small eye movement adds to the roundness of each creation and although the characters are large, there are elements of Olivia Colman's subtlety in there too.

Subtlety isn't the first thing that comes to mind when Red B*****d appears, in the misshapen costume that evokes a demon who has stolen then eaten all the pies.

Visuals aside, this is far from zany. Although it sits into the comedy programme and there are many laughs, it is much more than a chuckle fest. Theatrical and slightly surreal, it takes audience participation to new heights. Challenging and slightly frightening, 70 minutes with Red B*****d offers all the fun of the fair - if being trapped in a warped Hall of Mirrors is your idea of fun.

Not for the faint-hearted, but one of the most thought-provoking and rewarding Fringe shows for years.

For all fellow coulrophobics, the c-word is clown. So, it took a recommendation from a trusted friend to join the queue for Trygve Wakenshaw's physical comedy, Kraken.

A Gaulier-trained clown, it becomes clear from the first few minutes that it matters not a jot whether we can appreciate the skill of his performance, it is simply the tool by which he makes us laugh. Heartily. And almost continuously for an hour. Many of us have mimed our sides being painful with laughter - ironically no mime is required here.

It's a beautifully paced stream of consciousness that uses some vocalisations. For those who are not au fait with Gaulier, they will recognise moments of great physical comedians such as Rik Mayall and Steve Martin.

No matter what description Kraken has in the programme, this is simply a show for anyone who likes to smile.

On a similarly simple stage, Danny Bhoy returns for his tenth Fringe. This year all proceeds from his 12 nights will be distributed between local charities.

So no money spent on fripperies such as set. No matter. As a stand-up who has dedicated himself to live work rather than sitting on panel shows, he keeps his observations fresh and extremely funny.

However, beneath the affable exterior is something steelier, as the front row punter who was using her phone found out when he offered her twice her ticket money to leave.

The fact that he hasn't gone down the TV talking head route means that his material is always a surprise. Still only 40 and easy on the eye, his growing reputation in the US and Australia could see him following in the footsteps of Craig Ferguson.

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