2012 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards
Where to see this year's winners and nominees in London
Each year, the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award picks out the funniest emerging talent at the Fringe, some of them surely to become household names of the future. 'But what of us Londonites?' we hear you cry. Don't you worry, for those that couldn't make it to Scotland, most of the nominees are bringing their shows to London.
Best Comedy Show
Time Out's review of 'Befrdgth'
The latest show from Doctor Brown, aka American mime artist Phil Burgers, creeps up on you. There’s no big opening, no voice-over introduction; in fact the show has begun before the audience even knows it.
Burgers is a silent, physical minimalist; his black-gloved hands, raised in the surrender position, are his props, helping to transform him into silly, occasionally dark characters in scenes of bullfighting, parental abandonment and unnerving sexual encounters.
The intensity builds steadily throughout, and so do the laughs, until the final act, where the true magic happens, in a celebratory finale that has the audience in hysterics. Thrillingly unpredictable and gloriously funny. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See Doctor Brown in London
Time Out's review of 'The Telescope'
This is ‘difficult theatre’, insists Claudia O’Doherty, ‘It’s not a comedy, so don’t laugh’. Sorry Claudia, but I couldn’t help myself during this mad, brilliantly inventive show.
Having given up comedy, she starts by introducing her piece of confronting theatre, ‘The Telescope’ – a tale on suicidal monks, computer hackers and time travel. Very quickly, however, she fumbles, gets out of synch with the backing video and sound effects (she doesn’t trust a techy, so has pre-programmed all the cues) and begins trying to distract us from the play’s bizarre events which continue around her.
O’Doherty’s panicky delivery is wonderfully convincing; she tries anything from guessing punters’ PINs to some dreadful butcher-themed improv to fill the rest of the hour. Delightfully offbeat and packed with laughs, upsetting theatre’s never been so funny. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See Claudia O'Doherty in London
Time Out's review of 'Prompt'
It’s a risky strategy, to immediately de-energise a room, as James Acaster does with his understated entrance. But quickly this whimsical comic proves we’re in safe hands.
The Kettering-born comic has a knack for turning seemingly flippant remarks into slow-burning, wonderfully offbeat routines. He strides past the point where most comics would end a joke, stretching each section to ridiculous lengths, and keeping the laughs flowing throughout.
Rather than simply an hour-long compilation of stories, ‘Prompt’ is a beautifully structured show, with smart, unexpected callbacks and clever resurfacings of earlier material. A lot of effort has gone into this intelligent, low-key show, and it’s paid off – ‘Prompt’ is one of the best pieces of straight stand-up at this year’s festival. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See James Acaster in London
Time Out's review of 'Romance and Adventure'
Since the 2010 general election we’ve seen Josie Long, via her shows, learning about politics and becoming more politically active. In ‘Romance and Adventure’, she’s as passionate as ever about her love of social justice, but the queen of whimsy is more mature here than in her previous offerings. Yes, the Tories are the ‘baddies’, but Long is now happy to admit that she occasionally contradicts her beliefs.
The show’s a little less powerful than last year’s, but it’s also less preachy and arguably funnier. Plus, I can practically guarantee that no other performer at the Fringe, or anywhere else, is imagining Ed Miliband as a mobster boss – a particularly hysterical highlight in a superbly funny show. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See Josie Long in London
Time Out's review of 'Pappy's Last Show Ever'
Fringe favourites Pappy’s have really hit the mark with their latest offering – a tightly written, beautifully structured hour of silliness.
The show sees the trio as three elderly versions of themselves, trying to recall what happened in the Pleasance Queen Dome back in 2012 that made it their last show ever. We’re treated to a bunch of brilliantly absurd songs, ridiculous characters and a narrative that skilfully hooks all the elements together.
There are moments of creative brilliance – the relationship-from-first-encounter-to-death is marvellously staged and surprisingly poignant – and although some skits aren’t don’t quite keep the quality as high, overall, this show is a real treat. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See Pappy's in London
Time Out's review of 'Maximum Nonsense'
We’re assured ‘Maximum Nonsense’ in Mr Tony Law’s latest and he sure delivers on that promise. From the get go he’s straight into commenting on his own comedy and ridiculing stand-up protocol, and it’s all flippin’ funny.
The Canadian loon plays with stand-up stereotypes; giving both audience banter and observational comedy a Tony Law twist, and attempting to merge genres (musical shock-comedy, anyone?). There are a few lulls, but Law quickly bungees us back up to hysterical lunacy, and his finale is brilliantly silly. (Reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe)
See Tony Law in London