Carl Donnelly reviews his reviews

The chatty stand-up averaged four-stars from the critics at the Edinburgh Fringe. But what did he make of the write-ups?

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell’s review

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘He has his own brand of pub wisdom, which he brings to bear on the good old days (never existed), allotments (“all the hassle of a garden, but it’s not at your home”) and the marvels of the socially sanctioned all-day drinking session (aka weddings). Four years into his Fringe career, Donnelly knows his game, knows when he can loll around a bit and chat with the crowd, and knows how to get a bit gnarlier.’

Carl’s review of the review

  • Rated as: 5/5

‘A simple glance at this review gives a clear indication as to why Maxwell is known as “Mr Brackets”. When he burst on to the scene no one risked using more than one set of brackets per write-up. But Maxwell tore up that rulebook and whacked it into a lovely set of brackets. His devil-may-care attitude changed the face of reviewing for ever. Some think his work is mainstream, as brackets are now so commonplace. But they shouldn’t forget who was the first to spray them across the page.’

The Daily Telegraph

Dominic Cavendish’s review

  • Rated as: 3/5

‘Carl Donnelly has just broken up with his partner of 11 years and in those circumstances deserves a medal for surviving the bedlam of the Fringe and delivering a show that’s far from a shambles. But an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination? Really? (Bridget Christie has since won it.) Donnelly has charisma, presence, promise and a waspish eye but despite a new (Russell Kane-ish) look, he’s not firing on all cylinders here.’

Carl’s review of the review

  • Rated as: 3/5

‘Cavendish is a man who doesn’t mince his words and this should be commended. However, some argue that his constant namechecking of other comedians is his biggest fault (he actually holds the record for this, having once mentioned 40 different comics in a 200-word review of Richard Herring). Some have begun to suspect that Cavendish is subtly moving reviewing in a more surrealist direction, where the focus is shifted from the subject to a totally unconnected person. If so, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on, but for now he needs more focus in his work.’

The Scotsman

Jay Richardson’s review

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘There’s a chuckling good humour and no-bullshit quality to his storytelling that convinces you he rarely embellishes or contrives his anecdotes. So when he explains that he recently converted to veganism, not for conscience or health reasons, but because he is paranoid about what animals are plotting, you absorb and accept this bizarre thinking, assuming, incorrectly, that the subsequent stories will support the logic.’

Carl’s review of the review

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘The edgy man of British comedy reviewing returns with another barnstormer of a review. His no-nonsense approach (swearing within the first sentence) instantly lets you know that you’re there to sit back and listen to what he has to say. Straight to the point with little to no waffling means you’ll always walk away knowing you got your money’s worth. However, there is always the sneaking suspicion he is capable of more. With a bit more work he could become a legend.’ 

The Skinny

Vonny Moyes’s review

  • Rated as: 5/5

‘The show breezes by, and feels a lot like a big fit of the giggles; his knack for storytelling and physical expression are a killer combo. Chuck in his throwaway remarks and the constant banter, and there’s a ludicrously funny hour here. It’s effortless and utterly captivating.’

Carl’s review of the review

  • Rated as: 5/5

‘Moyes is part of the new wave of reviewers trying to stamp their mark. Early signs show she has all the skills necessary, with a flair for language and impeccable taste. Perhaps Moyes has praised the show too much and Donnelly (me) will struggle to live up to such lofty expectations. But don’t let that put you off. Donnelly (again, me) has promised to try his (my) best.’

See Carl Donnelly live in London

Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin: Work-in-Progress

Chatty stand-ups Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin – who also co-host a podcast together, and are pretty much BFFs – workshop new material.

  1. Pleasance Theatre Carpenter's Mews, North Rd, N7 9EF
  2. Mon Feb 8
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