Fringe Comedy

Sarah Callaghan

Pleasance Courtyard

Four stars

Kevin J

Pleasance Dome

Three stars

Al Porter

Gilded Balloon

Three stars

Gayle Anderson

There's a growing buzz about 23-year-old stand-up, Sarah Callaghan and on this performance, it's well -deserved. In Elephant, she stands with thumbs defiantly rammed in her jean pockets and shares the dreams she has of escaping from the Uxbridge council estate where she still lives with her mum. Armed with bags of attitude, she's a refreshing working-class comedy voice. The gruff delivery and likeable mixture of naivety and nous is reminiscent of a young Kathy Burke - high praise indeed. The audience are taken on a poignant virtual tour of her tiny bedroom - the same one she's been in since birth. There's her sad single bed, wardrobes covered in photographs of happier times, a broken curtain rail that's a reminder of a dodgy, drug-fuelled weekend. Pride of place goes to her collection of trainers. Like them, Sarah's material is box-fresh. Her old school friends may be pushing prams or partying hard but she craves the normality of paying her own gas bill. Packed with pathos and killer one- liners, Sarah's positive message is that everyone should be allowed to dream big and aim high. Fitting then that her bedroom is directly under the Heathrow flight path because her career is undoubtedly set to take off .

(Runs to August 30)

Kevin J isn't some middle-class drama graduate putting on a hoodie and attempting a swagger. He's the real deal. In his debut Fringe show, Council Estate of Mind, he describes what it was like growing up in the notorious North London housing estate, Broadwater Farm. The estate is one of the most ethnica)lly diverse regions in the country and Kevin's best early material centres around being the only white kid in the entire school. Forming a gang proved a tad challenging. Stories of the larger-than-life characters he grew up with and the amazing community spirit that sustains the estate are eloquently delivered. You can't help thinking what a top bloke he is and how you'd quite like to take him out for a beer. Unfortunately, you also can't help thinking that a few more laughs wouldn't go amiss. The injection of some additional gags here would really up the ante. Things do funnier when Kevin leaves the estate, both physically and metaphorically. He shares stories of his stints doing stand-up in Nigeria on the black comedy circuit as well as hosting Tinie Tempah's Ibiza pool parties. The boy done good.

(Runs to August 30)

At only 22, Al Porter is Ireland's new comedy sensation. Armed with sharp gags and an even sharper suit, Dublin's designated king of council estate camp is making his Fringe debut. From the working-class suburb of Tallaght, or as he describes it, "the brown bit on the Monopoly board," this former trainee priest flirts his way through a funny confessional show called , Al Porter Is Yours. His 'man's man' dad, Mick is the target of lots of the early material. Especially when he earns the semi- legendary nickname of ' Mickipedia' thanks to his claims of knowing everything. Al keeps the belly laughs coming with irreverent tales of Tinder dates, being a mammy's boy and constantly being mistaken for an air steward. Each story is delivered with more innuendo than a box set of 'Carry On' films. With only two years stand-up experience, this is an extremely mature and accomplished performance. However, it can be a touch frantic and shouty in places and a 'less is more' approach might result in fewer good jokes being simply thrown away. Al has just signed up with the same agency as Jonathan Ross and Alan Carr so expect to see lots more of him.

(Runs to August 31)