Edinburgh Fringe Review: Amused Moose New Comedy Awards 2018, Space @ Symposium Hall

The Amused Moose New Comedy Awards are a good way of getting a flavour of the Fringe in one hit. Eight acts did ten-minute sections from their show in the hope of picking up a prize previously won by the likes of Tony Law, Marcel Lucont, Celia Pacquola and Richard Gadd. I don't know if the judges had a tough decision but plaudits to compere Paul Sinha who seemed like he virtually had to do a full set while they deliberated backstage. If you want to see more he is at The Stand, details here.

First up was Ken Cheng, whose monotone delivery did not exactly whip the crowd into a frenzy. His jokes were strong though, as he explained that his Mandarin-speaking mother worked on immigration applications so needed immigrants to keep coming to the UK so she could keep her job and then added a twist to the story. He was clever on subverting steretypes with an anecdote about being cast as a Chinese speaker with a Yorkshire accent on a Radio 4 programme and having to watch Emmerdale for research. But he lacked the oomph that would place him tonight.

Second on was barefoot Brighton-based Laura Lexx. When I reviewed her full show earlier in the festival I noted that there were bits that felt like standalone routines so it was no surprise that her riff about shopping in Lush and being quizzed about her make-up regime went down very well with the audience. It was sharply told and peppered with plenty of laughs. I thought she might be a contender for an award but Lexx missed out. Read a full review of her show here.

Liam Withnail is on a bit of a roll at the moment, having won Best Compere at the Scottish Comedy Awards recently and you could see why he is good at working a crowd, with an animated style and an infectious energy and a way of winning over an Edinburgh audience by slagging off a previous Aberdeen audience. His brief spot here touched on masculinity issues with a story about how he was asked to chastise a badly behaved child in a shop because he was the only man there. Withnail did not feel up to the job though, but it made him think more about the nature of gender politics. That doesn't sound very funny but it was an enjoyable yarn well told. 

Tania Edwards was another low-energy deadpan comic. In fact it was initially hard to work out if she was playing a gloomy character or merely a version of herself. Dressed head-to-toe in black she looked like she had come direct from a dress-down goth convention or a funeral. But gradually her self-deprecating routines about relationships and ageing started to build of a head of steam and her personality began to shine through. She had an idioscynratic style, with a neat line in unexpected asides and while other acts struggled to sustain the laughs Edwards finished way stronger than she started. It was no surprise that she won the main award.

Review continues here...


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