Let’s face it – most people who come to the The Fringe want to be entertained. They don’t want to be harangued, ridiculed, interrogated or made to feel socially anxious. Also a good many people will only go and see one show – a handful at most – the reason could be completely logistical or it could have something to do with not wanting to shorten the odds of being harangued, ridiculed, etc… So how do you match audience with show and not put them off the Fringe for life? Difficult enough to pluck something suitable from the tidal wave of ‘funny’ which engulfs Edinburgh every year – but imagine if you set yourself up with the thankless task of organising a ‘Fringe outing’ for friends/colleagues? Yes, masochism is a thing and there are shows you may like (see above). So great bullet-dodge for the person who organised the work’s outing, filled up the front row at Kev’s Komedy Klub yesterday and whose workmates must be saying today – ‘yeah, good choice!’
It wasn’t just the front row – the rest of us had a great time as well. My reason for being there – in a year of going to see only a handful of shows – was that I know Kevin Dewsbury is a safe pair of comedy hands. As a host he got us nicely warmed up with routines about Weatherspoons and ‘posh’ Cheshire. And even if you’re not familiar with Cheshire, Kev’s vivid description and classic deadpan delivery make the place totally hilarious.
A reliable host in a showcase is pretty important but the other acts have to be good as well. Yesterday there were two recruits from Kev’s other show (Kev’s Komedy Kitchen – also worth a visit) : Will Hutchby and Mike Newall. Will is all boyish enthusiasm masking sadder elements like his mum’s cancer (it’s OK, she’s OK!) and his failed Star Wars audition in Manchester. Mike out-deadpans Kev with tales of typical Manc lads realising they’re not ‘lads’ any more – for example drinking red wine instead of scoring drugs at a music festival.
If this is all sounding quite Manc-centric – let me introduce you to one of the other acts: Rachel Fairbairn – from Manchester! Rachel wrings every bit of comic potential out of her Manc accent, OCD and her family relationships – particularly her footballer’s wife of a sister. Good assured performance.
The star of the show however was Jinx Yeo from Singapore. What a find! Brilliant routines taking British and Chinese stereotypes but mixing it all up into a very tasty stir fry! Yes, there are cooking jokes including a Chinese Spiderman eating his enemies as they are all based on animals. Fresh, funny with loads of first-rate material – Jinx is definitely one to watch.
Showcases are great for dipping a toe into the Fringe sea but they can be dire if the acts aren’t up to scratch. The good thing with Kev’s Komedy Klub is that Kev has so many contacts in the northern powerhouse of comedy so you can be sure there will be excellent quality control. The Newsroom venue is a little bit outside the main Old Town Fringe hub but the 18.15 time slot makes it a good starting point for the evening with the Klub the perfect aperitif!