Beyond the fringe. 29.7.18

Looking to host an interesting blend of comedy suitable for all styles of humour ‘Before the Fringe’, the Alphabetti theatre’s pre-Edinburgh Festival warm up, hosted over 25 comics in the space of 70 hours.  Early on Sunday, Gavin Webster, already a huge name on the North East scene, brought us ‘I am stand up’ his own blend of self-deprecation and alternative comedy.  Making light of comedy, culture and most noticeably, himself, Webster takes us through tales from North Shields, growing up with a desire to be a comedian and the bravery it takes to admit to being a comic, even when you’re reasonably unknown.  Insightful and humorous, the crux of ‘I am stand up’ rests on the ability we all have to create a vision for our lives, find out who we really are, and then be brave enough to live that life.  This is a unique and interesting way to look at self-empowerment and, through humour, ends up being more impactful than most classic ‘motivational talks’.

Another North East well-known, Katherine Tanney, brings ‘Composter syndrome’ to the stage later on Sunday.  Never trying to position her show solely on clever ideas, or big payoffs, Tanney focuses her style on one continuous weave of comedy with few large ‘bada boom’ endpoints to her stories.  The humour is in the stories rather than at a particular destination.  A natural performer, with a way of gaining empathy from the crowd, Tanney is relatable in her way of capturing moments and sharing honest experiences.  Smart and intelligent, Tanney’s tales of relationships, holidays and Thundercats are humorous in her sharing of a wisdom gained from living a certain lifestyle.  It’s a shame that ‘Composter’ is not heading to Edinburgh as the piece is well-written and well performed.

Great work by the Alphabetti for looking to do something different and shining a light on some great works of comedy.

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