Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Friday comedy show review

PUBLISHED: 12:55 05 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:55 05 August 2017

Sara Schaefer

Sara Schaefer

Archant

Comedians Sara Schaefer, Tiff Stevenson and Pippa Evans all took to the stage at the largest arts festival in the world.

Tiff StevensonTiff Stevenson

Pippa Evans - Joy Provision - Pleasance Cabaret Bar 14.40

****

Times are tough, what the hell is going on? Pippa would like to know and let’s face it, so would we all. The answer is, of course, no-one has any clue, it’s all too weird, so why not just sing instead?

One of the stars of Radio 4’s The Now Show has been coming to Edinburgh for over a decade and is now an absolutely consummate performer. Her show this year is a joyful antidote to the bleakness of the times, being a little bit of decent stand-up, and a lot of funny and clever songs. She’s got a great voice, two supporting musicians, and has that air of someone who is in full command of her artform. You won’t see better musical comedy than her last 20 minutes, as she draws all threads of the previous 40 together in a hilarious extended coda. Just very, very entertaining stuff that absolutely lifts the heart.

Pippa EvansPippa Evans

4 Stars

Tiff Stevenson - Bombshell - Gilded Balloon Sportsmans 17.30

*****

Now marking ten years as a stand up, Tiff comes to the Fringe this year with her most political show yet as a response to the crazy times we find ourselves in. An important and hilarious mixture of self deprecation and honest confession, all wrapped up in down-to-earth feminism, she takes on the issues of 2017 wide-eyed and head on. She’s a fearless performer, just as you would expect anyone who takes to the stage to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ to be. This is accessible, elevating, adult comedy, at times silly, at others, sober, indeed, the one informs the other. This is no mere left v right, progressive v conservative cliched rant-a-thon. There’s something deeper, and more nuanced driving Tiff’s comedy, these days. She’s saying what needs to be said in trying to address the conundrums of our times, and in doing so is becoming an important comedian who casts light into darkness, even as she pulls her emotional tripe out on the stage. This is superb, almost noble comedy.

5 Stars

Sara Schaefer - Pleasance Courtyard - That 19.00

*****

Here’s a tip for any Fringe newbie who turns up in Edinburgh and wonders who to get a ticket for: go and see an American comedian.

Why? Over my many years here, I’ve always noticed how fully-formed, smooth, shiny and hilarious Americans who make the effort to come here are. You always feel like you can relax because they’re always super professional and well-honed. It’s like they’ve been to comedy university.

As they’re, by default, part of the intellectually curious 20% of the country who have a passport, this pretty much always means they arrive here with liberal progressive values. Sara is, in one way, no exception that. But she has also had a religious upbringing which she exploits for huge laughs. Well measured, well written and with an artful understanding of the light and shade of comedic delivery, Sara is a fantastic comedian destined to find a huge audience this side of the pond.

Playing in a typical Fringe ‘hot box’ she delivered a show which brought the house down. I say house, I mean, shipping container. One of those comedians that you just love from the first minute and you’d have to try very hard not to find her hilarious. Unless you’ve had your laughter gland removed, Sara is an absolute must-see for 2017.

5 Stars

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