Fringe Comedy

Zoë Coombs Marr

Monkey Barrel Comedy.

Five stars

If there was a comedic equivalent of the Magic Circle then Zoe Coombs Marr would surely be drummed out of it. Her brilliant new show, Bossy Bottom deliciously and deliberately reveals all the tricks of the trade. For the first time in seven years the Australian absurdist has severed all ties with her alter-ego, Dave.

Gone are the ugly neckbeard and even uglier misogyny as she promises a gimmick-free, jokes-only show. If you believe that, then it's probably your first Coombs Marr gig and I'll let you off. This woman couldn't do an hour of straight stand-up if she tried. A bit like the lemon meringue pies on Masterchef, the comedy here is artfully deconstructed. Broken down into the individual elements that together make up a show. The art of crowd work is demonstrated with the clever concept that she believes she's playing to the same audience every night and views what happens between them as part of an ongoing relationship. There's a strut and a swagger as she comments, tongue very firmly in cheek, on the brilliance of her own one-liners. 'Took a day off after writing that one.' I reckon she deserved a full week. A master-class in meta humour.

Until August 25.

Sophie Duker

Pleasance Courtyard

Four stars

Sophie Duker is on the floor laughing her head off. Selecting two audience members to participate in a piece on archetypical privileged white men, it turns out that they're both called Simon. She's hit patriarchal pay-dirt and she knows it.

Venus is a wickedly funny and woke debut hour from the host of London's Wacky Racists club night. It's an unconventional and turbo-charged journey of self-discovery that begins with an in-your-face explanation of why she sees herself as a triple threat minority.

Personal stories of her Uber-complicated Daddy-issues and wise West African aunties are intertwined with perfectly-pitched polemics on the 'White Saviour' trope currently playing out on Tinder and the historical fetishisation of black women.

Pop culture targets include Meghan Markle, Ed Sheeran and Stacey Dooley whilst her search for a role model leads to one of the most surprising and unlikeliest reveals this Fringe.

Until August 25.

Gayle Anderson