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Fringe comedy round-up

Oldies but goldies on the Fringe circuit

Vlad 2016 portraitWe have reached the midway point in the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe.  Traditionally, this is the time in the festival when at least one comedian goes into total meltdown, due to low ticket sales in the first two weeks, and the prospect of a further fortnight of playing to single-figure audiences and partying too hard into the night. 

This is invariably a younger comic on their first visit to Edinburgh.  We old stagers know that the Fringe is a marathon and not a sprint and we pace ourselves accordingly.

While many Edinburgh comedy-goers are on the lookout for the next big TV name and are lured by the hype surrounding the “boy band” comedians, many of the more seasoned acts in the programme offer much better value-for-money.

One comedy promoter friend of mine reckons that the largest demographic group visiting her venues are middle-aged and elderly Scottish people.  Despite, what one might think, there are several comedians of their generation appearing on Edinburgh stages this month.

Apart from my own show, which is a story about touring Scotland on my newly-squired bus pass, there are several other over-sixties treading the boards this year.  Here is a small selection of the best of them.

IVOR DEMBINA

Stand 5, York Place  6.15pm  Until Sunday 28th

Londoner Ivor Dembina has over thirty years experience of performing on the stand-up circuit, and is one of the most well-respected comedians in the business.  This show is a masterclass in the art of dry, laconic Jewish humour.

MAXINE JONES: NOW WE ARE SIXTY

Sabor, Cowgate 4pm  Until Saturday 27th

Making her fourth trip to the Fringe, Maxine Jones dresses the issue of her age, having reached the age of sixty this year.  In this warm and witty 50-minute show, she confesses to finding her “bewildering”..I know exactly how she feels.

CHARMIAN HUGHES:  SOIXANTE MIRTH

Cowgateghead, Cowgate  3.30pm  Until Saturday 27th

Quirky and charming Charmian Hughes is another comedian who makes her age the subject of her solo show.   I have known and worked with Charmian ever since starting out in comedy.  She is charming and hilarious both on stage and off.

BOB DOOLALLY: THE MAN WHO PUT THE LEG INTO LEGEND

Stand 3, York Place  Friday 19th at 10.05 pm  Monday 22nd-Tuesday 23rd 8.35 pm

Nobody knows Bob Doolally’s age, as he is a totally fictional character.  The star of BBC Scotland’s hit series Live Floor Show which was nominated for a BAFTA well over a decade ago, Doolally still draws a huge hard-core following of Scottish football fans.  Book early for this, as he is only doing three nights this year.

LYNN-RUTH MILLER: THIS IS YOUR FUTURE

Just The Tonic At The Caves, Niddry Street  9pm  Until Sunday 28th

American octogenarian Lynn-Ruth Miller is not only a remarkable personality, she is a sheer inspiration to all older people. Not content to being doing one show, this Fringe she is doing three.  As well as this one, she is also performing  I Love Men, at 6.20pm at C Nova on Bakehouse Close, and has just finished her run of a short play at The Stand.  All at the age of 82.  Incredible !

TWO AND A HALF OLD MEN

Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn, Grassmarket  2.40pm Until Sunay 28th

Every year, Glasgow-based sixty-something comedians Rod Hunter and Les Sinclair bring a show to the Fringe.  In past years, they have had a different guest act daily, usually someone of a similar generation.  This time around, they are joined for the entire run by the marvellous Raymond Mearns, a mere “child” of fifty.

Vladimir McTavish is appearing in his solo show “Scotland in Sixty Minutes” at Stand 5, York Place at 7.30 nightly until Sunday 28th August

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