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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Stand Up & Slam!

Chatback Comedy / PBH's Free Fringe

Genre: Comedy, Spoken Word, Stand-Up

Venue: Cowgatehead


Low Down

Stand up comedy: poetry’s idiot relation, right? Performance poetry: comedy’s boring cousin, yes Let’s find out!



So, here’s Stand Up vs Poets at the PBH Free Fringe. The premise of this show is simple: team captains Rob Carter (stand up) and Oli Forsyth (poets) have two fellow artists each and battle it out to be the winning team. The audience vote after each round and one member of the crowd is appointed the adjudicator. Who wins? You decide.

Rob Carter did a great job of warming up the crowd leaving the admin to Oli Forsyth. Both hosts were funny and warm and exuded a real camaraderie between them. The comedians at the show I saw were Alasdair Beckett, King and Brennan Reece. Alasdair had a cracking routine about being a New Testament impersonator whilst Brennan really loves his mum. For the poets, we had the wonderful, if a little hoarse, Clare Ferguson-Walker, and the exceptionally talented and clever John Osborne. The first round went to comedy with Alasdair and Clare going head to head. Clare’s poem about her father was beautiful, funny and a little sad whilst Alasdair, a true red head, told of a world were gingers were mythical beast like unicorns. Round two went to the Poets with John telling a poem that only used words with the vowel E in. An excellent feat of language and wit.

The venue was a little rough round the edges, the stage was as  a single piece of ply wood and not quite big enough for everyone to be on at once. Add in an upstaging mic stand and this could have all been a bit of a disaster. It is a testament to the good nature and enthusiasm of the team captains that I forgot all about the slightly shoddy venue and settled down to be entertained with a very appreciative crowd. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of Rob Carter and Oli Forsyth in the future.

I tend not to see much Stand Up in the festival however the concept of comedy vs. poetry intrigued me and it was great to see people responding so well to the poets. I think this show combined the two elements and created something new and fresh. Some say that comedy is the new rock and roll but I think we will have some rock star poets in the not too distant future.

The teams change every night so that keeps everyone on their toes. There is a quickfire round, that each contestant had 24 hours to prepare for and makes every show different. For me the success of this show rest heavily on the shoulders of the team captains and they deserve a huge congratulations for keeping it all together and getting the crowd so fired up.

I really enjoyed this show. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into but I had a blast. It was witty, fast paced, and most importantly funny. On the night I went, Comedy won, with Rob Carter performing a great comedy song and Oli performing a poem about a gangster cat with an ASBO. For me, I felt like a winner just seeing this show and would highly recommend it to anyone that can find the venue – it is a challenge! Well done to this up and coming company and long may they battle!