Jerry Sadowitz – Card Tricks And Close Up Magic, Assembly Rooms


Best in the world at what he does – which is performing a dazzling array of magic while being extremely funny and rude about anything and everyone – this is more than a frenetic hour delivered at breakneck speed.

To fully appreciate Sadowitz, you must develop a taste for his bile, which splatters all of his targets indiscriminately. Apart from Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle, who both get it in the neck to a greater extent, probably for perceived smug self-satisfaction.

This lunchtime show is dedicated to his magic, but he cannot help but give vent to the stand-up, and the multi-media effect is quite intoxicating.

He was 51 earlier this year and is gently perplexed by the one thing he cannot make disappear, which is a modest paunch lurking beneath the trademark black T-shirt.

Of less concern to him is the xenophobia expressed by his distrust of Johnny Foreigner in all his guises from a Jewish Scottish perspective. A tarnished national treasure, who desperately needs and deserves attention.

Until August 18

Adults-only show August 17 and 18

David Whitney – STRUGGLING To Evolve, Gilded Balloon


INFAMOUS for getting his retaliation in first, after being fined for assaulting an audience member two years ago, the Aberdeen-born comedian's style is all a bit of a bluster. Indeed Whitney, right, never truly builds on an impressive entrance playing the bagpipes, which turns out to be the best hot air produced during the show.

His train of thought shoogles like the old 125 hurtling down the east coast line, and even returning to the contentious subject of head butts only strikes a glancing blow to the funny bone.

Whitney has some good ideas but struggles to join them altogether into killer coherence, despite occasional flashes of inspiration, and too much of his material falls short of the mark.

Perhaps pausing to savour the set-up would be more rewarding than thundering through for the next gag, but he is very professional, covering the topical essentials like 50 Shades Of Grey and Batman. The opening promised more, but turned out to be A Hen's March To The Midden.

Until August 26

Heath Franklin's Chopper in a Hard B*****d's Guide To Modern Life, Underbelly


AUSTRALIA'S infamous hard man is brought to life in a softer focus for the Fringe stage, possibly having more impact than an authentic recreation of the bad boy who spent most of his life behind bars.

Heath Franklin developed this piece of character comedy for the Ronnie Johns Half Hour in Australia, much as Harry Enfield created Loadsamoney for Saturday Live in the UK in the eighties.

The real Chopper Read, now stricken with terminal cancer, has given his conditional approval to the portrayal, which reduces him to a more palatable cartoon form. It is non-threatening stage violence, with a cleverly crafted belly laugh or two, and much more frivolous than Eric Bana's take for the cinema. Tattoos drawn on arms with magic markers are as bogus as the stick-on handlebar moustache that was Chopper's trademark.

The delivery is nasal and nasty, but then the man himself would always have stopped short of witty and wicked. Audience interaction offers more comedic potential, but is still a work in progress.

Until August 19