Edinburgh Fringe Review: Amused Moose Comedy Award Final 2017, The Space @ Symposium Hall

The Amused Moose Comedy Award Final produced three winners – Ian Smith, who was the People’s Choice, The Elvis Dead, which won outstanding show and The Kagools, who won the overall prize. The live final showed how difficult it can be to capture the essence of a Fringe show in a ten-minute slot. Host Mark Dolan did an excellent job of explaining the context and trying to ensure fairness in a bill which featured both experienced acts and relative newcomers.

Bec Hill, who was up first, was hit by serious technical difficulties. The Australian started well with a crowd pleasing bit about rude British hand gestures, which encouraged interaction with the audience, followed by a series of jokes chosen at random from a board plastered with post it notes. She covered well when a track from Edith Piaf, failed to materialise.   After Alan the sound man repeatedly failed to find the start of the track there was no choice but for the Australian to leave the stage. She returned in the second half to perform the missing bit, illustrated by a flip book of the clever cartoons which are her speciality and the audience warmly applauded her can-do spirit when she reappeared.

The People’s Choice winner Ian Smith was up next, with a slightly leftfield story about husky racing in Norway. Smith illustrated his story with holiday slides, dog impressions and a nicely surreal analysis of why a comic can’t get away with behaving like a Norwegian husky dog. There were some excellent jokes here – which might have been better with a slightly slower, more evenly paced delivery – but the audience evidently loved him and voted him their favourite act of the show.

Overall winners The Kagools (pictured) came next, with an extract from their show Tutti. The set started with a filmed extract from their show, which showed how in their show at The Caves they interact with an onstage screen to perform choreographed and impossible dance routines. But The Kagools were also delightfully entertaining in the flesh, presenting a brilliantly choreographed piece which provoked laughter, invoked emotion and involved drawing a member of the audience into an on stage love story.

Mark Simmons was low key by comparison but delivered a lot of excellent funny one liners in a ten-minute set which raced by. I loved his subtle, well-paced delivery and the way he deliberately misdirected the audience using his tone of voice before surprising them with a line which was the last thing they expected. He had a hilarious piece of business about advice given to him by other comics, which related to strange unexplained actions which seemingly interrupted his set.

Closing the first half was Chris Martin, with some observations about being the good guy who finally gets the girl. Martin’s material about marriage, settling down and being annoyed by old people was delivered with confidence and charm.

Review continues here.

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