The Dresser, Duke Of York Theatre, Ken Stott, Reece Shearsmith. 

Regarded as Ronald Harwoods greatest creation The Duke of York Theatre was mostly full as we took ou seats to enjoy “The Dresser” set in WWII we follow a Shakespearean theatre group as they tour the country spreading the word of this country’s best playwright ever! 

Set back stage in the changing room, of the theatre much consternation is in the air as tonight’s performance of King Lear hangs in the balance as Sir is in hospital.

The character introductions are charming and slick the absence of sir in itself causes tension, 

Sir enters as his wife ‘Pussy’ and Norman are discussing the situation there is a tension between these two as they both care about Sir. 

Sir enters Ken Stott delivers a powerful pompous and gentle performance as one of the last great Shakespearean actors coming to the end of his career reluctantly he is regarded as carrying the other actors indeed, his own wife, who is close to quitting both the theatre, and her husband. 

The Co-dependence of ‘Sir’ (played by Ken Stott) and ‘Norman’ played by Reece Shearsmith betrays his feelings toward him in a time when you would never open up about your sexuality you tend to pity Norman through this play and toward the end you understand his angst.

Reece Shearamiths performance is energetic and powerful the play ends with him poignantly broken and by the end of this play I wanted to see the movie with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Anthony Hopkins, this production benefits from the moveable stage which is expertly used to provide unique angles of the actors performing to an out of view audience this was clever usually you see such uses of stage movement at small fringe venues but it was lovely to see it at the Duke Of York.

Yes this strictly wasn’t a comedy but it was worthy of a review
Coroners Rating 5 Stars


Comedy Awards latest:

The winners of the 36th Edinburgh Comedy Awards were announced today at a ceremony at the Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh.
The Awards were presented by last year’s Best Comedy Show winner Sam Simmons and 2016 Best Newcomer, Sofie Hagen.

The nominees for Best Comedy Show are:
Al Porter: At Large
James Acaster: Reset
Kieran Hodgson: Maestro
Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud
Randy Writes A Novel
Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do
Tom Ballard: The World Keeps Happening
Zoe Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning

The Award for Best Comedy Show goes to
 Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do

The nominees for Best Newcomer are:
Bilal Zafar: Cakes
Brennan Reece: Everglow
Jayde Adams: 31
Michelle Wolf: So Brave
Nath Valvo: Happy Idiot
Scott Gibson: Life After Death
The Award for the Best Newcomer Prize goes to
 Scott Gibson: Life after Death

Nica Burns, director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards said: A record- breaking year for Scotland with a double Scottish win as Best Comedy Show is won by Richard Gadd from Fife and Best Newcomer by Glaswegian Scott Gibson. Richard Gadd’s highly original, extraordinary show combines hilarity and heart and Scott Gibson is a brilliant stand-up who can make a near death experience funny. The first Scottish winners since Arnold Brown in 1987.
The Panel Prize goes to:
 Iraq Out & Loud: Reading the Chilcot Report in Full
An idea originated by comedian Boothby Graffoe and produced by Fringe personality Bob Slayer with his co-producer Sorcha Shanahan, involving many of the comedy community. Read at a table in a purpose built shed; the first readers were comedians Arthur Smith, Nish Kumar, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Thomas. So many people wanted to take part that some had to be turned away. 6,000 pages, 2.6 million words, 24 hours a day, the reading ended on Saturday 20 August after 284 hours & 45minutes of continuous reading.
Nica Burns said: This was a big idea, of the moment and of huge importance involving a large part of the comedy community. It truly captured the spirit of all that can be possible at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Awards and prizes are:
· Best Comedy Show with a cash prize of £10,000
· Best Newcomer with a cash prize of £5,000
· Panel Prize with a cash prize of £5,000
The winners and nominees can be seen at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards Show on Sunday 28 August at 15.30 (17.00) at The Grand, Pleasance Courtyard.
The Fringe Comedy Awards Show will be at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London on the 17, 24 & 31 October. Tickets exclusively available at

Press enquiries:
Anna Arthur at Arthur Leone PR
020 7836 7660 / 07973 264 373
Joanna Hawkins at Arthur Leone PR
020 7836 7660 / 07910 920207
Twitter: @comedyawards
Notes for Editors:
Over 650 comedy shows were eligible for the three awards and the judging panel and awards team attended over 1700 performances over the three weeks of the Festival.
The 2016 judging panel were:
Alice Jones, Arts Editor, I (Chair)
Sam Michell, BBC Comedy Editor
Laura Riseam, Assistant Editor, Comedy; Channel 4
Claire Smith, Reviewer and Feature Writer, The Scotsman
Dominic Maxwell, Theatre & Comedy Critic, The Times
Saskia Schuster, Commissioning Editor, ITV
Susan Provan, Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Niki Di Palma, Public Panel Competition Winner
Jim Johnson, Public Panel Competition Winner
Sam Haslam, Public Panel Competition Winner.

Comedy Awards Shortlist Announced

24 August 2016
Shortlists announced for the 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Awards

The nominations for Best Comedy Show are:

Al Porter: At Large
James Acaster: Reset
Kieran Hodgson: Maestro
Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud
Randy Writes A Novel
Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do
Tom Ballard: The World Keeps Happening
Zoe Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning

The nominations for Best Newcomer are:
Bilal Zafar: Cakes
Brennan Reece: Everglow
Jayde Adams: 31
Michelle Wolf: So Brave
Nath Valvo: Happy Idiot
Scott Graham: Life After Death
Nica Burns, director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards said: “Two great nomination lists! 2016 reflects the breadth and quality of comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe with eight nominations for Best Comedy Show for the second year running. Four outstanding stand-ups, a female comic performing in character as Dave, a novel-writing puppet, a wonderful story teller and a comic who is as moving as he is funny. An international list with four UK artists, three Australians and a Dubliner.
“The six nominees for the Newcomer award are equally international with an Australian and an American, and the vibrancy of the Scottish stand up scene is reflected in the nomination of Glaswegian Scott Gibson and the Best Show nominee, Richard Gadd.
“Our hard-working judging team made over 1400 visits to shows. Congratulations to all the comics at the festival for a brilliant year of comedy.”
There will be a press call with all the nominees on Thursday 25 August at Assembly Checkpoint, 3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY at 9.45 am.
The winners will be announced on Saturday 27 August at Dovecot Studio, Infirmary Street.
The Awards and prizes are:-
•Best Comedy Show with a cash prize of £10,000
•Best Newcomer with a cash prize of £5,000
•Panel Prize with a cash prize of £5,000
The winners and nominees can be seen at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards Show on Sunday 28 August at 15.30 (17.00) at The Grand, Pleasance Courtyard.


Mark Thomas wins prestigious The Stage Special Award
Mark Thomas will be presented with the prestigious The Stage Special Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Friday, August 26, 2016. The prize, part of The Stage Edinburgh Awards, celebrates sustained excellence at the Fringe. Previous winners of the Special Award include Chris Goode and Pip Utton.
Thomas is a comedian, theatremaker and activist. His Special Award win will be added to multiple prizes for his work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including three Fringe Firsts. He will be presented with the award by The Stage’s reviews editor, Natasha Tripney, and interviewed by Thom Dibdin, Scotland correspondent for The Stage, critic and member of The Stage’s Edinburgh review team.
Tripney said: “Mark Thomas is a deserving winner of The Stage Special Award. His work has always straddled comedy, theatre and activism. His presence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has often made a significant impact and his current show, The Red Shed, is one of his strongest to date, revisiting his political awakening while also exploring the stories we tell ourselves and the ways in which we tell them.”
Thomas’ 2016 show, The Red Shed, is inspired by the Wakefield Labour Club of the same name. In his review for The Stage, Thom Dibdin called it “a wide-eyed tale that has truth at its heart and the need to find the stories which will help shape a better future in its head.” The Red Shed has also been awarded a Fringe First award, his third after Bravo Figaro! (2012), about his opera-loving father, and Cuckooed (2014), about corporate espionage.
The Stage Special Award will be presented at a Q&A with Thomas at the Traverse Theatre in a public event at 2pm on August 26, 2016.
The Stage Edinburgh Awards are in their 21st year and celebrate acting talent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Special Award, presented to a performer with a significant history of excellence at the Edinburgh Fringe, was introduced in 2014.
For further information, please contact reviews editor Natasha Tripney.
About The Stage

The Stage is the performing arts industry’s trade publication and The Stage team will be reviewing more shows than any other national publication over the course of Edinburgh Fringe. 

Check The Stage website for reviews, comment, picks and podcasts throughout the Fringe.
The Stage Media Company Limited provides news and services for the UK entertainment and performing arts industry. Established in 1880, The Stage is a must read for those with an involvement or interest in the performing arts industry in the UK and beyond, offering theatre news, reviews, advice and more. The newspaper is published every Thursday and is available to purchase for just £2.30 from selected newsagents around the country. It is also available for download as a digital edition. The website ( is read by more than 500,000 unique users a month. The Stage also publishes an annual list of the 100 most influential people in theatre and the performing arts, The Stage 100, and runs The Stage Awards, recognising the best organisations operating within the UK theatre industry; The Stage Jobs has the biggest selection of performing arts jobs in the UK. 

Samantha Baines: 1 Woman, A Dwarf Planet and 2 Cox

Samantha Baines hosted the sold out Pleasance This venue I even saw some people hanging around near the queue waiting for anyone wanting to give up their tickets they should come back tomorrow! plus extra shows have been added, She starts by introducing herself by trying to convince us she looks more like Snow White rather than Alan Rickman in Harry Potter (both uncanny resemblances) 

She explains that she loves science and the arts but as a young woma at school, she was pushed into the arts simply because of her gender she informs us of a fact, 3500 women graduates of Science courses will not choose science as a career due to sexism, indeed she was a victim of sexism herself when starting out in comedy having to deal with offensive comments and becoming known as “One of the lads” because she nervously laughed those kinds of questions off, all this proves that the male dominant paradigm is everywhere, including Corporations where Energy and tech companies had campaigns to promote women in sciences using patronising hashtags #prettycurious #hackerhairdryer clearly these were devised by males, her self deprecation and one liners are sharp and clever she is such a talented writer her monologue is both funny and thought provoking , there would need to be 420 more women astronauts in space for there to be equality in that field which is a stark fact, with all this info (I took 4 pages of notes compared to my usual 1 page) it wasn’t preachy it washilarious and informative especially her description of her initial obsession with Prof Brian Cox (her hubby chose him as a fave too) she tweets him each show and she did this show too, she even introduces him as a guest.

No wonder this show is selling out each day, her message is funny thought provoking and profound, Samantha Baines is one of the best comedians on the circuit male or female! 

Coroners Verdict: 5 celestial Stars Comedy Awards 2016

This year’s shortlist for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards will be announced on Wednesday 24 August at approx 14.00The press call with all the nominees is on Thursday 25 August at 9.45 at Assembly Checkpoint, 3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY
The winner be announced on Saturday 27 August at a lunchtime ceremony at Dovecot Studio, Infirmary Street.
The Edinburgh Comedy Awards are judged by an independent panel who see every show eligible at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Awards are:-


– Best Comedy Show with a cash prize of £10,000

– Best Newcomer with a cash prize of £5,000

– Panel Prize with a cash prize of £5,000


Previous winners and nominees include some of Britain’s best loved comedians who perform constantly all over the UK and are regular fixtures on our TV screens. Past winners include: 2013 Bridget Christie, 2001 Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead (Richard Ayoade, Matthew Holness & Alice Lowe), 1992 Steve Coogan.

A full history of the winners and nominees, eligibility rules and everything to do with the Awards can be found at:

Amy Howerska: Smashcat

Returning for her second year Amy makes a dramatic entrance to Queens “I want to break free” I wouldn’t mention the intro music normally but she was dressed as Freddie Mercury as the housewife in the video it was very accurate, she quickly decanted her black wig to an audience member who duly wore it.

Amy’s delivery, timing and knowing looks have the audience in the palm of her hands, as a Londoner I enjoyed her description of the violence of Tooting Bec, (which was a swan head butting a terrier….good job she never ventures to Tottenham) Amy’s self deprecation  is hilarious, causing cackles all around we are witnessing a comedian at the height of her powers and deserves all the success which inevitably will come her way.

Coroners Verdict: A silky 5 star performance

Cheekykita: Tittitutar  Town Sweet Venue Grassmarket Apex 15:50

Welcome to Tittitutar Town a place that’s completely upside down, I have a soft spot for absurdist comedy and this show doesn’t disappoint. a well attended Sunday afternoon showcased cheekykita’s talents from performing energetic oddball characters in this dark world where humans and animals have interbred we are witness to an exorcism and a rebirth as there is a small man living inside her and we must help release him from her, but beware, he must find a new host body and it could be you! fun and laughs are thick and fast and her facial expressions, accents and costumes even the lighting and sound are well used to convey the dark atmosphere, make sure you pay a visit to Tittitutar Town

Coroners Verdict 4 Scary Stars

Erin McGathy: Love You Loudly. The Counting House 2pm

Erin Starts her show by looking for a boyfriend for the show, a vague friend, and the ghost of her mom, the short play between her chosen beau and herself sets the scene for her monologue delivered with such energy and honesty, it was a touching tale of relationships from a young woman in her teens all up until her seven month marriage, to a respected television writer, her obsessions and her passions are clearly explained in what must be both cathartic and draining endeavour during the fringe to be reliving those feelings daily, and at the end her explanation of the title of the show was emotional  and thought provoking.

Coroners Verdict 5 Stars 

The Singing Psychic. The Street bar Venue 239 2b Picardy place. 

In the basement bar of the busy Broughton part of town of an evening you can experience Marysia Trebecka’s The Singing Psychic.

She comes out on stage with a curly blonde Afro and evening dress and introduces herself as someone who can hear the music in your heart even in the buildings she performs readings by choosing members of the audience to whisper their date of birth in her ear then she sings excerpts of songs, with some personalised readings of advice and funny one liners many of which resonates with the audience some of which burst out in laughter as the readings came, where the audience member was perhaps quiet their friends confirmed the readings and within these moments the singing psychic has the audience in the palm of her hand, she weaves a story of her fathers disapproval and the life he wanted for her coupled with her spirit guides of both Maria Callas and Edith Piaf with conflicting voices in her head causing her to not stick with a singing career was well written in between readings at the end she sings a song with pointed advice to her audience culminating in the whole room singing along and she even offered readings upstairs in the bar.

Coroners Rating: A stunning 4 Star Performance