Comedy blog

What is an appropriate age to watch Notting Hill?

harriet kemsley edinburgh fringe

Harriet Kemsley

It seems I saw a lot of shows about fathers today. I assume it has no meaning.

Matthew Highton, The Hive, 3pm, FREE

I’ve seen Matt’s past four Edinburgh efforts and all have been variants of a reliable formula of structured storytelling with a penchant for the surreal and a disregard for that line between truth and fiction. This year Matt has taken a different approach choosing to favour reality over flights of fancy with an oddly moving hour that uses his lifelong sleeping troubles (insomnia, sleepwalking, night terrors etc) and his early life in Leeds and Bradford as an entrance into a strained father-son relationship. It’s a wise move as this is perhaps Matt’s most satisfying and complete show yet. It’s funny too, of course, but the laughs from all new avenues of humour only touched on in his earlier efforts.

Joz Norris, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 4.20pm, MONEY

This was one of the shows I was most excited about seeing in Edinburgh after a a very early preview in Leicester made me realise just how far Joz had come as a performer since the last Fringe. He’s dropped the characters and put his charming personality at the front. As with Matt Highton, the change is a positive step and this more honest approach allows for a deeper connection with this onstage version of Joz and a chance to understand why watching Notting Hill at such an early age can set a sweet-natured boy up for a lifetime of relationship disappointment. It’s a show that fulfilled by high expectations and makes me want to see what Joz can do next.

Harriet Kemsley, The Counting House, 7pm, FREE

Harriet is one of the most exciting young acts on the London circuit who has let her inner weirdo come to the fore in recent months, as her faux naïvety takes on more surreal and dark aspects. This is her first solo show (although not her first full hour) after a couple of years in mixed bills, and it’s in the unforgiving attic at The Counting House – a room with curtains for doors and sulphuric acid for air (one of those is literal, one is a metaphor). It somehow suits the style of the show though – Harriet bursts through great material in a ramshackle fashion that makes it seem like she’s trying to give us as much laughter before we all suffocate to death, and we’re all happy to go for the ride. Harriet will produce more polished shows with bigger audience in rooms fit to hold to comedy, but this is a true and exciting Fringe experience.

Tom Webb’s MegaGames, Banshee Labyrinth, 9.45pm, FREE

We went again as it’s great. You should too.

Daniel Kitson and Fathers, The Stand, Midnight, MONEY

We left The Stand at 2.30am. I’m glad I went. Although not ecstatic.

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