If you're looking for a couple of hours of great music to round off a day at the fringe, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than joining the audience at Rich Hall's Hoedown.
Rich Hall's Hoedown, Edinburgh
Every night the lugubrious panel-show regular and sometime documentary man (last year's Inventing The Indian was stellar) follows his stand-up show – which runs directly before at the same venue – with a set of country, blues and bluegrass music featuring a full band. Hall mixes up well-crafted comedy songs with spontaneous compositions inspired by audience suggestions, and also throws in a few bizarre covers – his extraordinarily affecting and particularly inappropriate country version of Dr Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit is a real delight. One of the greatest things about the show is the way it discards the attention-seeking, hyperactively ambitious vibes of so much of the rest of the festival and adopts a wonderfully mellow, who-gives-a shit atmosphere instead. There's no campfire (it would be a bit of a safety risk, given that the whole thing takes place in a tent), but you can almost smell the woodsmoke.
Assembly George Square Gardens, Sat & Sun
Bobby Mair: Obviously Adopted, Edinburgh
A lot of young comics experiment with shock material. What they don't realise is that while it's extremely easy to offend an audience by saying something appalling, it's much harder to make them love you for it. Canadian Bobby Mair has the knack of coming out with the most obscene and taboo-busting thoughts, but doing so in such a way that even the most liberally-minded members of the crowd can't help but take him to their hearts. Part of the secret is his natural offbeat charm – although he looks like he has had his hair cut by the Unabomber, he comes across as a sweet-natured, vulnerable younger brother than a menace to society. This show is his fringe debut and it's a bona fide tour de force, tackling everything from tramps defecating in the street to masturbating in front of your dad.
Just The Tonic At The Tron, Sat & Sun
Mike Wozniak: Take The Hit Edinburgh
Moustachioed former doctor and creative stand-up Mike Wozniak begins his latest fringe show by announcing his commitment to the glitzy values of showbusiness. It's an artfully false steer, because Wozniak's stand-up is about as un-showbizzy as it gets. He sticks with his usual shtick of a gruffly terse delivery as he guides the audience through a cheerfully oddball hour of comedy. While many other comics in Edinburgh have crafted a carefully themed hour on some subject dear to their hearts (having kids, for example), Wozniak openly explains how ructions in his family life have prevented him from coming up with anything much at all. The result is an inspired show, featuring discussions of his own procrastination and a sustained attack on the character of his mother-in-law.
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