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Scott Agnew’s Scottish Breakfast Chat Show

Thursday, 25 August, 2011

Edinburgh 11 – Cabaret Voltaire – 01 – 28 August 21.30

Scott Agnew opens the show by addressing the eleven or so people who are watching.  Upon not getting the reaction he wants from a couple in the front he brands them; ‘a bundle of joy’.  At 13.00 (‘Fringe breakfast time’ as he describes it) such criticism runs the risk of being alienating but he is a fairly warm performer and broadly keeps people onside.  He then serves “Scottish breakfast”.  This is advertised as being Irn Bru and a sausage roll.  What is actually served is just Irn Bru (allegedly the council wouldn’t let him serve food).  To make matters worse he doesn’t have enough Irn Bru to go round a half empty house and what he does hand round is flat.  Its a poor start thats sloppy and unprofessional.

The first act is Rachel Juhasz – a singer performing in ‘My Judy Journals’ – a show that mixes the music of Judy Garland and excerpts from Juhasz’s diaries (it is at The Jazz Bar Venue 57 at 19.00), she has a rich and soulful voice and captivates the room for the short time she is performing.  Following this she has a interview with Scott Agnew.  The interview reveals little and Agnew clearly doesn’t know much about her act.

Following Rachel Juhasz is Tiffany Stephenson who is performing her standup show ‘Cavewoman’ at The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 12 14.25).  She is invited onto the stage and Agnew retreats to leave her alone with the microphone.  A painful moment then ensues when she asks Agnew if she’s ‘doing standup then?’.  Agnew indicates that she is not obliged to and so instead conducts a interview with her.  Without Stephenson’s having been bothered to do any of her act its hard to know why we should be interested in the interview and she keeps talking about how hungover she is which is a further irritation.

Following Stephenson is The Silky Pair, they have the decency to perform a song from their act.  Clad in fluffy leopardskin coats over silk slips they sing a song about their landlady that brings to mind Kate Bush.  Its well performed with Kathryn Bond singing and Lorna Shaw singing and playing guitar but the lyrics are not very amusing and the parody alone is not enough to carry the song.

Finally, Nazeem Hussain takes to the stage – he is a Australian comedian.  He starts his set by observing that ‘there are a lot of white folks in here today’ its not entirely clear what else he was expecting and like the rest of his short set it doesn’t get a laugh.  His material is without exception to do with both race and religion, very weak and in some places questionable – one section in particular where he is impersonates a Indian in a call centre is uncomfortably close to racism.  His set is a embarrassing failure but perversely his interview shows Scott Angew at his best, ‘welcome to my sofa’ he says ‘you just died on your arse’.  By being frank and chatting briefly with Hussein about what its like to fail onstage he goes someway towards bringing a good feeling back to the room. It is his best moment.

I feel obliged to disclose that early in Scott Agnew’s set I was singled out for some of Agnew’s material because I was reviewing the show.  I didn’t much appreciate it but I’ve tried not to let it affect my judgement of this lazy and amateurish show which should be avoided.

Cast Credits: (alpha order): Scott Agnew – Host. Rachel Juhasz – Performer. Tiffany Stephenson – Performer. Kathryn Bond – The Silky Pair.  Lorna Shaw – The Silky Pair.  Nazeem Hussain – Performer

(c) George Maddocks 2011

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