"The Comedy Reserve"

Poster for Pleasance Comedy Reserve at Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Chris Betts, Phil Jerrod, Evelyn Mok and Brennan Reece Pleasance 2130 until 25th August Reviewed 13th August £8.50 4 stars

Four strikingly different comedians pull together a brilliant night of broad-appeal comedy, sure to satisfy all comers. The Pleasance Comedy Reserve is a reliable evening that’s worth seeing either to catch future stars at a great price, or simply for an hour of belly laughs. Above all, it’s relaxing and inviting rather than aggressive comedy.

Brennan Reece is your compere of sorts, and he does a great line in charm and friendly patter. His best asset is a grin that just won’t quit, although by that I don’t mean to disparage his considerable comic talent.

Chris Betts is another amiable type. He’s laidback in his delivery, easygoing in his humour. Nobody’s likely to be offended or shocked, but that’s just fine by him (he’s Canadian).

Phil Jerrod, conversely, has a very tight and rehearsed set that’s grandly theatrical in its delivery. It unfolds majestically outwards in all direction rather than flowing linearly, as he paces and gestures and even joins the audience for a while. Starting from the simple idea of city life compared to the ruralia of his childhood, he takes us on a ruminating tour of his mind around that theme.

Evelyn Mok is the comedian I came to see. I was interested in how a Chinese-Swedish comedian could perform in English, and what kind of material she’d have. Although she cursorily acknowledges all that cultural and ethnic business, her performance is instead a character piece exploring, essentially, her vagina. There’s not a lot of depth to it, (the material, that is), but it’s hilarious and well-drawn and ever-so-deftly executed. There’s also the subtlest undertone of probing at male and female discomfort with her theme, which is well-appreciated.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of these comedians again in the future. Each of them has something individual and new to offer, with some very interesting takes on what standup can and should be. The development of that is an effort that should be applauded and enjoyed by all.

EU < Patrick

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