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Broccan Tyzack-Carlin – Don’t Bother: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Don’t Bother may seem like a strange title for a show, the first full show a performer is undertaking, almost as if Broccan is challenging the audience not to come. For those that may have fallen at the first hurdle, or done as they are told, what they missed was an hour of comedic poetry, or poetic comedy, delivered by a performer who may be at the start of his career but was at the top of his game.

I have seen Broccan perform many times, as an open-micer and headliner, at various poetry nights in the Manchester area. Each time, he has presented poetry totally different to the political, personal, nostalgia-driven – not to say phenomenal – norm. From poems about the Queen in panto, absurdist logical conclusions derived from outdated t-shirt slogans to pigeons, Broccan has a sharp focus on the comedic gravitas, with a delivery and talent for subverting the forms of what is expected akin to Stewart Lee. And normally I detest describing one performer in terms of another but there is no way I can convey what was experienced in that room at the King’s Arms in Salford that night.

It was a delight to see Broccan stitch everything I had seen previously together into a narrative. In reality, Broccan’s call to ‘Don’t Bother’ is in the face of trying to find an overarching narrative, a series of interconnected themes that weave through the set. I have sat with tables, Venn diagrams, pundits in search of a narrative. There is one there, but I’m sure as hell not going to give it away in this review.

This is a set that has been wonderfully constructed, the introduction of each poem being very clearly defined and well-performed, building and subverting the expectations of what is to come. This is not your typical poetry, and I will bang that drum til the cows have got up for work the next day. The set is interspersed with sections about human endeavour, in the context of Neil Armstrong, this narrative building beautifully to its own, and the show’s, denouement.

As much as I can talk about the excellent wordsmithery, the intelligence of the writing, the variation of moods and atmospheres blended seamlessly together through the entire hour, honestly, my favourite part was the fact Broccan wore the same outfit for performing as he wore on the poster. As some of you may know, I have seen and reviewed literally hundreds of shows of all types in the last five years, and that is the first time I have seen that.

Ignore the title of the show, Do Bother. And buy the man a pint after the show, unless he’s doing Dry January, in which case buy him two.

Broccan Tyzack-Carlin – Don’t Bother

King’s Arms, Salford – 24/11/18

Another performance at LEAF, Portland Street, Manchester

18/01/19, 1930

For info and tickets,

Hannah Moss: Meadow by Meadow – A Review

Opium Bar, 6.15, 4-11th August

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hannah Moss’s character-comedy ‘Meadow by Meadow’ is her solo debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and its fantastically unsettling.

Moss is a highly physical performer, and though her level of audience participation is well out of the average person’s comfort zone, her ability to break the ice without breaking character is both fascinating and exciting.

To quote the show’s tagline,, “the rules are: there are no rules”, and within minutes this is evident. The show twists and turns, leaving you clueless, and sometimes a little apprehensive as to what’s coming next, but Moss delivers each and every time.

The show proves Moss to be a risk taker, and its pays off in her remarkable sense of authority as a performer, as she draws the audience into her wild shenanigans. Meadow is a brave and audacious character, and for much of the time you don’t know whether to think her sinister or silly. Moss’s delivery confirms the balance brilliantly.

For anyone who likes dark comedy combined with edge-of-seat uncertainty, Hannah Moss is absolutely one to watch.

George Dimarelos: George Michael Is Greek – A Review

City Cafe (Venue 85), 8:20, 2-12, 14-26 August

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

George Dimarelos has taken his show, ‘George Michael is Greek’, to Peth and Melbourne. This is, therefore, a well-travelled show, with a host whose charisma and ability to charm an audience is unavoidable. He has a certain cheeky, laddish sense of humour which is lapped up across the room.

The George Michael stunt doesn’t hurt either, as Dimarelos appears on stage costumed with a white shirt and leather jacket. Appealing to the inevitable George Michael fans misguidedly expecting a tribute act, you could say there’s something for everyone in this show.

Dimarelos is perhaps not the most original comedian of the Fringe – his comedy is somewhat predictable and not overwhelmingly unique, while the charm of the cocky schoolboy vibe doesn’t last all too quickly.

That being said, Dimarelos is fairly entertaining, and his vaguely self-effacing cheeriness wins him many points with the audience. His well-timed comedy carries with it a particular appeal that will undoubtedly strike a chord with many.

Tom Taylor: Abridged – A Review

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Laughing Horse @ City Café, 16:55

As a first impression, Tom Taylor comes across with the mannerisms of an awkward teenage boy trying to impress a girl that he likes – self-conscious, slightly uncomfortable and likable, in a very funny way. A cross between Jon Richardson and Tim Minchin, Taylor’s demeanour is lively and characterful, whilst giving the impression of being endearingly ill-at-ease.

His comedy is delightfully silly whilst being remarkably clever. Taylor’s timing for an unexpected pun is flawless, and although his comedy sometimes seems a little random, it is never once to the show’s detriment.

The intermittent appearance of the keyboard is a nice aid to the laughter. Though a slightly eccentric trademark, it never appears too gimmicky, but offers perfect accompaniment for sharp one-liners.

Between this, his self-aware comedy and his peculiar charisma, Taylor has the show down to a perfect formula, which manages to stay original and unpredictable throughout. ‘Abriged’ is a rare, unusual and intelligent show.


Henry Paker: Man Alive – A Review

@ The Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156), 17:10

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Comedian and cartoonist Henry Paker exudes creativity on many levels in this fantastically imaginative show. His visual accompaniments showcase charming talent, and instantly captivate the audience, as he takes us through a visual exploration of his career.

With his observational humour, his takes on marriage (and its trials), holidays, arguments and middle class life take confessionalism to the next level, as his analysis of the mundane and everyday aspects of life is delivered with simultaneously astonishing realism and bright humour. Paker is matter-of-fact without veering into cynicism, with an approach that, no matter what, feels vivid and lively.

The show often ranges into the absurd but never fails to be brilliant. Aside from his sharp, witty stand-up comedy, the show also includes a handful of surprises sure to delight any audience.

‘Man Alive’ is daring, funny, fascinating and entirely original. Proving a brilliant mind and unique talent, this is comedy of remarkable quality.

David Tsonos: Walking the Cat 2

@ Bar Bados (32), 19:00, 4-14, 16-25

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

David Tsonos, comedian and apparently professional cat lover, presents the follow up to his solo show ‘Walking the Cat’. Featuring many, many new cat tales (pun intended), his tame but likeable comedy coupled with his awkward charisma makes for a consistently entertaining show.

Tsonos’ humour is upbeat, and his storytelling shows a sympathetic, amiable character. There’s a certain self-consciousness to his manner which only adds to his comedic timing.

Although Tsonos can hardly be considered one of the big risk takers of this years Fringe, there’s little to find disagreeable in his inoffensive anecdotal comedy. He keeps the laughs coming fairly steadily, and although not particularly groundbreaking, the show is nevertheless enjoyable.

Altogether, the show is at the very least, a cat lovers paradise. Anyone looking for a few laughs, and some lovely cat pictures is in very good company with Tsonos.

Sooz Kempner: Super Sonic 90s Kid – A Review

Bunbury Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sooz Kempner’s ‘Super Sonic 90s Kid’ feels like a wonderful trip down memory lane for anyone who considers themselves a 90s kid. Aside from the nostalgic exploration of her love affair with Sonic the Hedgehog, the show feels equally like a beautifully put-together collage of Sooz herself, in such a way that you can’t help but find her totally lovable.

There’s a certain sentimentality to the show that, coupled with Kempner’s magical sense of humour, is bright, imaginative, and completely captivating. Her visual accompaniments are matched by a comedic timing as smooth as clockwork, never overly relied upon but perfectly punctuating wickedly funny storytelling.

A woman of many talents, she also demonstrates her remarkable theatrical skills with a handful of musical numbers. The show is a uniquely orchestrated array of gifts, brave and adventurous but always thoroughly charming and entertaining.

However, the show’s most striking aspect is just how immersive it is; its combination of personal history, 90s retrospect and giddy comedy has you utterly invested right through to the final moments.

Altogether, ‘Super Sonic 90s Kid’ demonstrates Kempner to be perhaps one of the most original voices in comedy. A show in a league of its own, it is perhaps one of the year’s Fringe essentials.

Globe Bar (Venue 161) @ 13:00, until 26th August

Kate Smurthwaite: Clit Stirrer

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

For those perhaps previously unfamiliar with Fringe favourite Kate Smurthwaite, she introduces herself to us via her reputation as “provocative”. No stranger to the label, this show celebrates her ability to shock and outrage. ‘Clit Stirrer’ is a diverse collection of brutal, challenging, but important stories, punctuated with Smurthwaite’s unique and ingenious humour. Presenting a show no more predictable than the woman herself, she wears the world’s horrors on her sleeve with such originality and wit, that there is simply no arguing with it – she is brilliant.

Even the most dark and uncomfortable realities she addresses are presented in such an honest and accessible way, that no matter how dark it gets, you can’t help but leave with a sense of optimism. Smurthwaite exudes a passion and self-assuredness onstage which is both infectious and empowering.

Between storytelling, sketches, one-liners and reflections over her career, Smurthwaite emerges, politically and comedically, as a force to be reckoned with. Her refreshingly outspoken comedy will undoubtedly leave you hanging on her every word.

‘Clit Stirrer’ is at The Banshee Labyrinth @ 7:30 until August 26th.

Sarah Iles: Ghosted – A Review

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sarah Iles is an absolute treat to watch. Her show ‘Ghosted’ recalls her tales of online dating which will resonate with any 21st century singleton. Her self-deprecating humour is framed perfectly with her bubbly and endearing personality.

It is with this same sweetness that she savages the suitors in her tales. Her foray into the world of online dating may not have been fruitful, but in the stories emerges a hilarious and heartfelt individual, with a relatable perspective, as she explores the modern epidemic of “ghosting”

She tells us at the beginning of her show that her newly-divorced status has led her to her fresh search for love. She recounts each and every tale with the gift of hindsight, and her welcoming persona makes it feel almost like girls’ night – you find yourself laughing along, whilst nodding your head going “Oh god yeah, been there, done that!” and “Oh my god, no way!” in equal measure.

Although these are stories that will strike a chord with every woman that’s ventured into online dating – from the freakish online messages, to your tinder date’s weird fetishes – Iles has such an appealing stage presence that absolutely anyone will inevitably enjoy this show. Sarah Iles is quite simply very, very funny.

Sarah Iles: Ghosted @ The Counting House, Venue 170, 12:05 until August 26th.

Mr Hennessy Worries His Parents

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mr Hennessy tells me his background was in stand-up comedy, but that he much prefers what he does now, and he is undeniably marvellous at it. ‘Mr Hennessy Worries His Parents’ is perhaps unlike anything you will see at the fringe this year – in fact, you will struggle to find much like it at all.

From the off, Mr Hennessy is relentlessly energetic. From the one man sketch show aspects, to the improvisation, the show is entirely unpredictable, leaving its audience in constant anticipation, always climaxing perfectly.

The show’s spontaneity means that no audience member is safe – thankfully, Mr Hennessy’s ability to enthral them is unparalleled, and in no time at all the whole room buzzes with energy and enthusiasm for the show’s visual vivid physical comedy.

To call him fearless would be an understatement – there are some risky gags, but each and every one really pays off. The show fires off at top speed, non-stop, but never once leaves you behind. Its entirely chaotic, thoroughly ridiculous, and utterly enjoyable.

If you’re after rambunctious, inventive and unprecedented comedy, this is an absolute must-see for the Fringe.

‘Mr Hennessy Worries His Parents’ is at Bar Bados (Venue 32) @12:45, 4th – 25th August. PBH’s Free Fringe 2018.