A festival mainstay for 10 years now, the always worthwhile Comedy Club 4 Kids should be on the schedule of any self-respecting, chuckle-loving young Fringegoer. It does exactly what it says on the tin, giving pre-teens a chance to sample the raucous, taboo-challenging, free-wheeling atmosphere of a good comedy club without any (really) rude words, adult material, or heavy drinking (unless you count Fruit Shoots).
Organiser and compère Tiernan Douieb is a rambunctious, assured host who knows exactly where to hit kids’ funny bones – his interaction with young punters, challenging their natural pedantry by wilfully misinterpreting their words, glorying in the hilarious non-sequitirs that often fly back at him (one child tells us that he’s from nowhere, and “appeared from the atmosphere”), is a joy to behold.
Every act on the bill today has a well-received adult show at the Fringe with the exception of eight-year-old Samson Read, a graduate of Douieb’s children’s comedy workshops whose self-possessed stage presence and well-crafted, if bonkers, flights of fancy belie his tender years.
Elsewhere, Beta Males stalwart John Henry Falle, aka 'The Story Beast', brings an air of menace to proceedings as he imagines the implications of the song 'Teddy Bear’s Picnic'—“every bear that ever there was”? Literally?—with horrific but rib-tickling results. Private eye Butt Kapinski drops in to solve a murder, hilariously asking one girl to impersonate a knife (a challenge that she rises to admirably) and the heavily tattooed Jim Smallman closes the afternoon with some cute tales about his young daughter and a spirited finale that sees 90% of the young audience coming down on to the stage to impersonate a “whirlpool” (who needs a reason?). An essential treat.