sat 22/06/2024

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Hal Cruttenden / Zach Zucker / The Delightful Sausage | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Hal Cruttenden / Zach Zucker / The Delightful Sausage

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Hal Cruttenden / Zach Zucker / The Delightful Sausage

Divorce the nice way, Las Vegas showtime, and an hour of silliness

Hal Cruttenden plunges into marital relationships


Hal Cruttenden, Pleasance Courtyard 

Hal Cruttenden is the kind of observational comic who talks about his home life a lot, so when his wife announced recently that their marriage was over it could have meant a quick swerve away from the personal stuff. But as it's an amicable break (they're still living in the same house) he can talk about it on stage.

In It's Best You Hear It From Me Cruttenden details the pitfalls of long marriages, advancing middle age and now the awful prospect of being back on the dating scene. He poses the important questions of who gets the house, who gets the dogs, and where do his grown-up daughters' loyalties lie?

But it's not at all bleak as he makes his personality traits responsible for his woes, and gets great mileage out of geeing up couples – newly established and long-term – in the audience. And there's a very good running gag about his agent.

On the night I saw Cruttenden, there was an overly refreshed member of the audience who objected loudly to the comic's views on Brexit and the Tories before he stormed out. Cruttenden handled it with some aplomb, even managing to work into his response some of the earlier crowd work he had done with the front row. A pro.

Zach Zucker, Monday Barrel 

Zach Zucker introduces himself as “the only Jew who can't make it in Hollywood”, which kicks off the very knowing and often hilarious Spectacular Industry Showcase – supposedly the American's shot at the big time, as he hopes that agents and producers have flocked to this subterranean space to discover him.

It's not just Zucker – who looks if he should be performing in Las Vegas, circa 1980 – on stage, but other characters who live in his head, too, including the rubbish rapper Lil Penis Johnson and Spanish lounge lizard Tony Baloney (real name Antonio Balonio), although there's no sign of Jack Tucker, the washed-up comic Zucker has appeared as in previous Fringes.

There's the same manic energy though, and a wealth of ideas that fizz before fizzling out just as quickly as he's on the next gag, as well as lots of audience work as Zucker runs up and down the aisle in his spangly shirt open to the waist, looking for a playmate. On the evening I saw the show, one very blokey bloke would not play along with the camp fun but Zucker turned it into a triumph of ad-libbing.

This is a very good show, chock-full of jokes (many of them groaners) and bombastic music, performed at a frantic pace.

The Delightful Sausage, Monkey Barrel 

What a joy to be back with Amy and Christopher-Louise, the former holiday camp entertainers who are now “Yorkshire's most available act”. Desperate for a breakthrough, they don't think twice before accepting an invitation from “celebrity agent” Cedric L'Shay to his island, surrounded by, as the title has it, Nowt But Sea. What follows is a surreal adventure that explores niche OnlyFans fetishes and the inner workings of Victoria Coren Mitchell's mind, among much else.

But disaster strikes and Chris and Amy are soon alone on the desert island, down to eating their clothes to survive – "Let me suck on your button" – and when they do eventually find Cedric they discover he is not all he seems.

Paul Dunphy is a good sport as Cedric, but the necessary third element does somewhat dilute the very real chemistry between Amy Gledhill and Chris Cantrill, who spark off each other to great effect.

But the show is packed full of gags, many of them visual or wonderfully childish (Amy whiles away her time on the island knitting a penis-shaped scarf) and Gledhill and Cantrill – never far from going off script or breaking the fourth wall – appear to be having as much fun as we are.

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