Edinburgh Fringe Review: Sofie Hagen, Liquid Room Annexe


When Sofie Hagen decides to do something she certainly follows through. Whether it is becoming the world’s biggest Westlife fan at the age of 13 or making it on the UK stand-up circuit. The unashamedly competitive Danish comic has been a regular club performer for the last few years and this year’s full-length show, Bubblewrap, marks a major breakthrough.


Edinburgh Preview: David Mills

I was one of the judges when David Mills won the New Act of the Year in 2011 when the competition moved from the Hackney Empire to the Barbican. I suspect it was a pretty unanimous decision. He had confidence and style that put him head and shoulders above the others. He was also the best-dressed. That wasn’t the clincher though. It was his well-delivered, finely honed, waspish routines that won it, barbed but never over-bitchy. I’d seen Mills before as a sidekick to Scott Capurro, but here he came into his own.


Edinburgh Preview: Harry Deansway

Harry Deansway’s place in British comedy history is assured. He is one of those noble idiots who has attempted to make a success out of publishing a comedy magazine. The Fix was a regular fixture on the stand-up circuit's tables for a few years. Irreverent, informative and surprisingly well put together. But inevitably, like all glossy comedy magazines before it it, erm, folded and Deansway lost a packet, notching up debts in the region of £30,000.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Pat Cahill

People talk about overnight success in comedy but it’s not really like that. Anyone who breaks through has probably been slogging away on the circuit for years, gigging to one man and his dog before finding their voice, getting good and being appreciated. Pat Cahill has been going since 2009 and has been tipped for greatness ever since he won the New Act of the Year Final in 2012. He is not your run-of-the-mill stand-up, but neither is he so off-the-wall he won't work on telly if that's what he wants to do.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Michael Dolan

Comedy's bleak philosopher is back asking the questions nobody else will. When did I last go outside? Am I already dead? How are you meant to maintain a happy marriage in the face of the unstoppable decay of everything that exists? Stand-up comedy for people who are too tired to get angry. But please read his answers to our questions here. We are confident they will bring a smile to your face. As will his show.


Edinburgh Preview: Matt Forde

Satirist Matt Forde has a problem. Just as he mastered his Ed Miliband impression Ed went and got wiped out at the election. Forde now has to master either Andy Burnham, Jeremy Corbyn or put on a skirt. Luckily he also has his wits to fall back on. So even if the voices aren’t quite right the jokes usually are. Forde’s profile has risen rapidly in the last year. The former flatmate of Jon Richardson has appeared with his old mate on his C4 series about growing up and has also become a regular wingman for Rory Bremner.


Edinburgh Preview: Trygve Wykenshaw

There seems to be no stopping the inexorable rise of clowning on the Fringe. Ever since Dr Brown won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2012 I feel as as I have been inundated by press releases mentioning acts who have trained with esteemed French tutor Philippe Gaulier, who teaches performers to unleash their inner idiot. I don't know if Australian physical comedian Trygve Wykenshaw has done a stint with Gaulier but he has certainly found his inner idiot, prancing around like a loon, sometimes naked, sometimes in a skin-tight costume.


Edinburgh Preview: New Jewish Jokes

I've got a confesion to make. When I saw Ivor Dembina in Edinburgh a couple of years ago I nominated him for A Dave Award. Not for the Best Joke of the Fringe but for the Worst Joke of the Fringe. Dembina's classic Borscht Belt Catskills cheesy kosher style has always teetered on the edge of cringe and that time he overstepped the mark with "There is nothing worse than seeing your own kids go hungry on Christmas Day.


Edinburgh Preview: Pete Firman

Every few years on slow news days journalists dust off the old “magic is the new rock and roll” story. This year, though, it might almost be true. As well as Derren Brown touring, there are two major prestidigitation (look it up) shows opening in big theatres. Impossible opens later this month while The Illusionists opens in the autumn. And then there is Pete Firman, who has been around for a while now with his excellently chirpy brand of comedy magic.


Edinburgh Preview: Phil Kay

Phil Kay is a comedy legend. Period. Do I really need to say more? The madcap Scot has always done things his own way, occasionally rubbing shoulders with the mainstream but never compromising. He was nominated for a Perrier Award way back in 1993 and landed his own Channel 4 series. Recently Nick Helm appeared naked on his BBC3 show but his privates were pixilated. Kay did the same thing on his show but was fully exposed. You never really know what he is going to do next. I’ve seen him have awful gigs but even those are eventful.



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