tue 23/07/2024

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Tom Allen / Cally Beaton / Lauren Pattison / Trumpageddon | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Tom Allen / Cally Beaton / Lauren Pattison / Trumpageddon

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Tom Allen / Cally Beaton / Lauren Pattison / Trumpageddon

A happy anniversary, neural pathways, an assured debut, and a deflated Trump

Tom Allen is celebrating 10 years at the Fringe


Tom Allen 

Tom Allen is celebrating his 10th year at the Fringe, and he appears to be having a ball – and so do we. He bounds on stage full of energy and does a fantastically strong 10 minutes' interaction with the audience, and when he finds comedy gold in the front row with a management consultant, a nurse on a liver ward and a judge, he dextrously weaves details of their lives into the show.

Absolutely is more of the conversational comedy that Allen has honed over the past decade, and there's a pleasing touch of the television host about him (someone please give this man the TV show he deserves). He's interested in the minutiae of life and he brings stories to life with with exquisite attention to detail.

Long-term Allen fans will recognise that some of the material is well-trodden – he's back living with his parents in suburban south London, he has managed to pass his driving test, and he talks of “swishing around in silk dressing gowns pretending to be Noel Coward” when he was a child – and indeed there are occasional echoes of previously used gags. But no matter, there are so many of them that you don't have time to dwell. This is an hour that races by.

  • Tom Allen is at Pleasance Courtyard to 27 August

Cally Beaton

Cally BeatonCally Beaton has given her debut show a memorable title, Super Cally Fragile Lipstick – as befits a woman whose day job is as a senior media executive. She has even brought along a series of Venn diagrams, statistics and emojis to make her point. But there's nothing dry about this show, as they were all drawn up by her teenage son, who has autism, and there's an interesting chunk of the hour about the condition and such things as neural pathways – you'll be asking yourself if you are neuro-typical or neuro-diverse about all sorts of things after. Informative and fun.

Her son, like his sibling, has a Dutch father. “My kids are half Dutch – they've gone Dutch on being Dutch,” she says drily – one of many really nicely constructed gags in the hour as she talks about being a single mother, discovering the joys of sex with women as a fortysomething, working in the corporate world, and the perils of being a menopausal woman at the supermarket checkout. She has an original take on them all, and some clever runnings gags

  • Cally Beaton is at Grassmarket Community Project to 20 August; then The Caves 22-25 August

Lauren Pattison 

Lauren PattisonLady Muck is an assured debut hour from Lauren Pattison, an instantly likeable 23-year-old Geordie. Her story is very personal, charting as it does the after-effects of a relationship break-up. Having been with her boyfriend for four years, she thought she had found "the one" – note to all young women out there, if your boyfriend calls you “my princess” be careful that it's not you who gets turned into a frog – she was devastated when, after she moved to London to pursue her dream of becoming a comic, he dropped her from his life completely.

She tells us there was always a strange mismatch between her outgoing personality (perfect for a stand-up) and suffering from a crippling lack of self-confidence (not so good). As Pattison charts her journey towards being comfortable in her own skin (literally, it's a cracking tale), she tells some wickedly self-deprecating stories about, drink, drugs, sex and her Uber driver – and working in a branch of Boots, from which she was sacked. Alone and jobless, it made her feel empty: “I felt like a pumpkin,” she says, conjuring an image that's funny and sad at the same time.

The life-affirming ending is touching, if a little heavy on the cute, but this is a very well constructed hour of storytelling, and we will be seeing a lot more of Pattison.

  • Lauren Pattison is at Pleasance Courtyard to 28 August


TrumpageddonSometimes what sounds like a good idea fails to take flight, and this is one of those shows. Writer/performer Simon Jay's promising starting point was that Donald Trump won't be coming to the UK on a state visit this year, so he has brought us his Edinburgh show instead. Sadly, that's about as good as the show gets.

Trump, bright orange, and with a tie almost down to his knees, fumbles and bumbles his way through an hour without narrative and purpose. If Jay is making a meta – very meta – point about the chaos of Trump's presidency, that's fine (and rather clever), but could he put in some jokes as well?

The Q&A, with staged questions form the audience, ought to be more fruitful than it is, offering opportunities for Trump's fantastical replies, filled with downright lies, but even here the laughs are few. And while Jay nails Trump's verbal tics and mannerisms, it's not enough to sustain an hour.


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