The Falkirk Herald reporters are out and about bringing you their verdicts on the comedy festival shows.
Mark Watson: The Information - Falkirk Town Hall - Tuesday, July 31
Following appearances on ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I got News for You’, Mark Watson was one of the most hotly anticipated acts of the Funny in Falkirk festival and on a gloomy Tuesday night he didn’t disappoint.
Billed as a Fringe preview - albeit a very last minute one seeing as his run in Edinburgh started the following night - the show was already tighter than two coats of paint. Watson is a natural comic and word smith with ‘The Information’ using the loose theme of how readily available everyone’s information is to cover subjects including hacking, parenthood and why he can’t get a mortgage. Watson interacted with the audience via text, email and Twitter and his set - which included minimal swearing or controversial topics - was nothing short of refreshing. Proved you don’t need to shock to be hilarious. Supported by the superb up-and-coming young comedian Matt Richardson - a man with more nervous energy than any human should be capable of producing.
Best gag: “I’m a terrible cook, I just haven’t a clue. The recipe said to separate the eggs - what does that mean? In the end I put them in different rooms.”
Still Game - Falkirk Town Hall - Friday, July 27
Not many people know - but BBC television show ‘Still Game’ started life as a theatre production. And now, more than a decade after it premiered, the show has made a welcome return to the stage - playing to a sold out Falkirk Town Hall at the weekend.
The jokes were more risqué than the ones the Jack and Victor everyone knows and loves make and the swearing was borderline excessive but the show was absolutely brilliant. Set in the OAPs high rise, the young cast were believable as grumpy old men and gave an energetic performance. The script, although showing slight aging with references to the Millenium, video cassettes and Carol Vorderman presenting ‘Countdown’, was fresh, original and very funny.
Most noticeable difference from the television show was the role of Winston - the character was not a secondary one and the butt of all jokes but instead as important as Jack and Victor. A truly fab show and the highlight of Funny in Falkirk for me so far - if you didn’t catch it you’d better hope Sonic Boom Productions get the rights to put on an extended run.
Best gag: “Pah, boxer? You’re no boxer - closest thing to a boxer you’ve got is patting Big Tam’s dug.”
Fred MacAulay: Legally Bald 2 - Behind the Wall, Falkirk - Monday, July 23
Self confessed ‘nice man off the radio’ would have turned the airwaves blue with the stand up routine he performed at Behind the Wall. Thinking Fred would be a family friendly show I took my mum along - only to face some uncomfortable moments when he started talking about the differences in female waxing techniques over the years and having his son mistaken for his lover. Watching Fred doesn’t feel like watching a routine - in fact he warned at the start of the show there was no show yet but he hoped to have one for the fast approaching Edinburgh Fringe - and is more like going to the pub for a chat with your mate, who also happens to be hilarious.
Fred MacAulay plays the venue again tonight, tickets from www.funnyinfalkirk.com
Best gag: “With the independence referendum looming, expect to see ‘Braveheart’ on TV every week. The film ends ‘In the Year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland - starving and outnumbered - charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets...’ Fought like poets? No wonder they kept losing, turning up to battle with a few odes only to be faced with spears.”
Best of Scottish Comedy – Behind the Wall, Falkirk - Saturday, July 21
Behind the Wall was packed last night for The Best of Scottish Comedy.
Three acts took to the stage, with formidable compete Susan Morrison holding the show together.
Dour-faced John Gillick impressed with a bag of one-liners and James Kirk’s unusual anxious delivery style was a joy to watch.
Scottish comedy stalwart Gary Little was the highlight of the show, his easy, conversational style and un-PC humour makes his one of the most popular comedians on the circuit.
Best gag came from John Gillick: ‘My dad was a taxi driver and he really loved his job.
‘He actually got the Glasgow A-Z tattooed on his back.
‘Aye, so you always knew where you were with him.’
Gary Little: It’s All True – The Corbie Inn, Bo’ness - Friday, July 20
Glasgwegian comedian Gary Little had the packed out Corbie Inn eating out his not-so-little hands within minutes of taking to the stage.
After a recommendation for anyone easily offended to head for the door, he launched into his easy, conversational routine and had the Bo’ness pub in stitches with his anecdotes and tales of being single at 40, living with a pensioner parent and the perks of looking like a ‘Glasgow psycho’.
A real gem on the Scottish comedy circuit and an art worthy of filling far bigger venues - one to watch.
Best gag: ‘Anyone been to Edinburgh Zoo to see the pandas?
‘They should be the emblem for Glasgow, forget the Lion Rampant. Nothing says Glasgow like two fat lazy guys with black eyes.’