The Edinburgh Previews

Vikki Stone / Markus Birdman / John Robins / James Acaster
Showing at Unity Theatre
23rd and 24th July 2013

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

Edinburgh Previews are a chance for comedians to try out their new material on a live audience before they head to their shows at the festival in Edinburgh, and as Unity had scheduled two nights back to back with two comedians on each night, Liverpool’s comedy lovers were in for a real treat.

First on the 23rd July was Vikki Stone, a musical comedian whose cheeky songs and clever wordplay had the audience eating out the palm of her hand. She was instantly likeable with a real sense of playfulness about her. Her humorous songs about boyfriends and camel toes had the audience roaring with laughter and I have no doubt we will soon see more of her, as she is without a doubt a star on the rise.

Next on the bill was Markus Birdman, unlike his predecessor, he was slower to win the audience round with his show about love and loss, however with his comedy brimming with real life experience and having a slight edge to it he was soon lapping up the applause. You could tell his comedy came from real pain and by the time he has finished the audience was howling with laughter.

For our second night on 24th July, first out of the gates was John Robins, billed as an alumni of Russell Howards Good News, I was expecting good things. Unfortunately he massively disappointed. With stale jokes and forgotten punch lines it seemed like the most under rehearsed comedy show there had ever been. The final nail in his coffin was when he started to explain a joke he thought deserved more laughs. Uncomfortable to watch.

For our final act we welcomed James Acaster to the stage; his set seemed chilled out and almost low key. At first I wasn’t sure his style catered to the audience in that night, but luckily the crowd warmed to him and by the time he got round to the end of his set he was getting laughs and applause. I felt a different crowd may have appreciated him more.

Overall a mixed bag for an Edinburgh Preview, but to some extent all comedy is enjoyable at some level; if for nothing else than a laugh about it on the way home!

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