Dylan Moran, Edinburgh Playhouse


Some people just make it look easy; Dylan Moran is one of those few. This Playhouse show is a hybrid of his Yeah, Yeah tour with some additional new material, and it doesn't suffer in any way or come across as disjointed (probably because of Moran's stream-of-consciousness, affable delivery and tendency to avoid reliance on linear narrative – yes, he sometimes rambles). Observation is key here, and it's the odd comparisons and off-the-wall words and images he conjures up that really capture the imagination and tickle the funny bone.

Calling it a "home" gig seemed odd but Moran lives in Scotland with his wife and kids, and has recently been doing stand-up to a worldwide audience – even playing Russia. The creator and star of Black Books, which ran from 2000-2004, is turning into a little bit of a grumpy old man (well, he is in his forties now) and subjects include the familiar (his kids, who think him "disgusting" and "so gay") and the more profound (his own attempt to create a best-selling novel, a la Fifty Shades of Grey – priceless).

Being quirky is part of his Irish charm: his own wristwatch annoys him in the first half before it comes off, and an audience member near the front of the stalls almost ticks him off by lighting up their mobile phone. Moran plays the Playhouse again next Thursday, August 23. Catch him if you can.

Marianne Gunn

Return Of The Lumberjacks (Back By Poplar Demand), THE Assembly Rooms


Three Canadian comics joined together on a triple bill at the Fringe 15 years ago, and now reunite at the newly refurbished venue where they first appeared.

Of the three, Stuart Francis has built a TV profile that effortlessly eclipses the other two. Glenn Wool is on a Hollywood rebound that has not yielded much more new material than last year's solo show, but his slacker chic still serves him well. Craig Campbell takes on the role of compere and linkman, with his backwoods beard and flowing locks most closely conforming to the lumberjack stereotype.

He has a greater fondness for working the audience, and hits pay dirt with a Dutch couple game for a bit of banter. Though what a long-haired, wide-eyed comic could ever find to do in Amsterdam is anyone's guess. High-speed trains and the thrill of their platforms also delight Craig, as he is a man who loves to live on the edge.

The Lumberjacks have a special guest each night, and have so far featured former wrestling legend Mick Foley and Jimeoin, but tonight it is Stuart Francis's fellow Mock The Week panellist Milton Jones. If nothing else, it proves that two pun merchants can appear on the same bill without driving each other and everyone else nuts. Francis had the funniest James Blunt gag heard for some while, and is so linguistically lithe the patter does not grate.

A return to the old principles of variety and being able to see a classy bill without hanging around until one o'clock in the morning.

Until August 26

Colin Somerville