Fringe Comedy

Gilded Balloon 30th Anniversary Comedy Walk

Gilded Balloon Meeting Point

Five stars

Phil Nichol

The Stand

Four stars

George Egg

Gilded Balloon

Three stars

Gayle Anderson

Gilded Balloon veterans, Arthur Smith and Steve Frost, celebrated the comedy club's 30th anniversary with a strange and surreal stravaigin round the famous venue's old and new sites. The 11pm start was a bit earlier than Arthur's infamous spontaneous sorties around the city in the 80's and 90's, when he would lead his friends and fellow comedians on all manner of 'Closie Encounters of the Third Kind!' Dressed a bit like Bear Grylls as styled by Vivienne Westwood, complete with ' Scout And Proud ' badge, Arthur and his organiser-in-chief, Frost took around 40 of us fearless souls to some of their favourite old haunts(or what's left of them). We caroused through the cobbled Cowgate with a quick stop in a pedestrian tunnel to see a dead comedian. According to Arthur, they're a common sight at the Fringe. Luckily, with crowd support, the duo soon brought this one back to life. They even successfully dared him to drink a long- abandoned pint of lager later in the tour. We viewed the spot where a famous comedian cried after a show and flash mob funded a happy but unsuspecting busker. Our amazing adventure ended on the Royal Mile with Arthur, now stripped down to a Lycra jumpsuit, reciting Dryden. Old school, old rules fun at its finest.

Run ended

Phil Nichol has upped the ante this year. I Don't Want To Talk About It, is undoubtedly one of the feel-good happenings of the entire Fringe. It's a strange turn of events for a show that's described as a cathartic hour of chat from the Canadian comic about the breakup of his long term relationship. Take my word for it though, this will leave you feeling happier than an evening spent watching, 'It's A Wonderful Life' with a limitless supply of chocolate. Complete with new goatee beard, Phil is in fine, frenetic form. He leaps around the stage impersonating Mexican insects. He swats away invisible wasps. He blurts out gross tales of bad oysters. He crowd surfs to nipple tweak a man in the second row. It's like watching Robert Downey Jr. on Red Bull. Talk turns to the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his girlfriend and best pal and the seasoned story-teller still manages to wring the belly laughs out of this dark topic. Just when you think it's over, he produces one of the biggest surprises and best Fringe bargains ever. I don't want to ruin it, so all I'll say is, don't make any further plans for the evening and look out your dancing shoes.

Until August 30

George Egg has whipped up a comedy show with a difference. The jobbing comedian has seen more than his fair share of Premier Inn and Travelodge accommodation and has cracked a way of cooking delicious meals in them. In George Egg: Anarchist Cook, the set is a mocked-up hotel room - complete with Corby trouser press. Before you can say, 'cordon bleu' George has used the kettle as a poacher, the mini iron as a hotplate and the trouser press as a bread maker. He rustles up an impressive three course spread with a healthy portion of humour. It's an ingenuous show and one that's surely going to get its own TV series. Puns mixed with the smell of pancakes is a memorable combo. It did seem a bit of a rush fitting this amount of cooking and craftiness into an hour however and the show slightly lost momentum after two courses when George went off to construct his big ending leaving the audience to watch a short film. Terrific fun though, - you should be scrambling to get a ticket.

Until August 31