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Peter Buckley Hill and some Comedians XV

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011

Recommended anarchy

Edinburgh 11 – The Cannon’s Gait – 01 – 28 August 21.30

Peter Buckley Hill

Peter Buckley Hill comperes this evening of comedy on the free fringe. Upon taking to the stage he cuts out the introduction track before it has finished and the audience are fully seated.  Thankfully he acknowledges the mistake calling it ‘the first act of consummate unprofessionalism tonight’. At first it is unclear whether acknowledging mistakes is a good idea in front of the rowdy predominately Scottish crowd at The Cannon’s Gait. However, it quickly becomes clear that the majority of the room are already (as he puts Peter Buckley Hill puts it) ‘part of the freemasonry of the the show’.

Peter Buckley Hill is as accomplished as one could expect from a compere.  He is an entirely shambolic performer but years of experience cover for this.  Not afraid to digress (by the end of the evening he is making jokes about Bertrand Russell’s Paradox) and with a back catalogue of very funny songs (Adolf Hitler’s sexual preferences are the subject matter of one) he has enough control over the room by the end of his introduction to encourage the crowd to make noises and sing his songs (many know the words already).  By the time the first act (Gordon Brunton) takes to the stage the audience is very warmed up – perhaps a bit of a liability too.

This does not phase Gordon Brunton who (as he tells one heckler) ‘has played pubs in Glasgow’.  This experience shows and he addresses the crowd early, partly reading out horoscopes but mostly dishing out abuse.  This improvised audience interaction forms fifty percent of his act the rest being solid material that deals with his family life and work as a bus driver.  It quickly becomes clear that he is an experienced and talented performer – taking on a crowd this rowdy and coming out best is not a easy thing to achieve (within five minutes of starting his act he has been loudly called a ‘c*nt’) and yet he does so with relative ease.

Danny Bevins follows – he tells us that he is: ‘an average American, … very poorly educated’.  His style is less confrontational than Gordon Brunton and there is a immediate worry that he may lose the room with his laid-back delivery.  Thankfully his material is very funny and he trusts in it with good results.  His set is dark and based upon his life in America touching upon his religion and family.  It’s also accomplished and well observed  and effortlessly impresses.

After a short interval, Peter Buckley Hill takes to the stage again.  He plays a selection of songs and does some more improvised stand-up for about twenty minutes.  The reason for this impromptu set he explains at the end of the evening: ‘if you’re wondering what happened to the third comedian…well, so am I’.

The evening is finished off by Yianni (he doesn’t use a second name).  He is Australian and moved to the UK following advice that: British people ‘drink a lot and may find you funny’.  By this stage in the evening the crowd are certainly demonstrating the former but seem initially reserved about the latter, a situation that is not helped by some benign but persistent heckling that spoils his early material and a faulty microphone that cuts out at crucial points.

Initially Yanni is in a tight spot, however, he works through it well by acknowledging the problems and finding the humour in them.  The crowd is ultimately benign and he keeps them laughing throughout both the digressions and with what remains of his material.

Initially it seems that he will rescue the evening  but little more. However, after ten minutes of hard work his sharp wit and good nature has got the crowd onside, and shortly after this his set has become a triumph.  By the end of the evening he is describing it as one of the best gigs of his life.  It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration, having been put under unrelenting pressure he has a great success, all from the strength of his talent.

Like the compere, Peter Buckley Hill’s and some Comedians XV is shambolic but excellent and very highly recommended.

Cast Credits: (alpha order): Danny Bevins – Performer  Peter Buckley Hill – Performer.  Gordon Brunton – Performer.   Yanni – Performer.

Company Credits: Writer – uncredited. Director – uncredited. Technical Operator – (none). Producer – Peter Buckley Hill . Company – (none). Website – http://www.buckers.co.uk/

reviewed 18 August 21.30

(c) George Maddocks

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