Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Simon B Cotter
Snorri Hergill Kristjansson
Special guest who cannot be named
Stephen K Amos
Steve N Allen
The co-founder of Viz magazine, Newcastle-born Simon Donald turned to stand-up in 2005.
He set up the cult comic in 1979 with his brother Chris, where his creatings included Sid the Sexist. When Chris quit as editor in 1999, Simon took up the role of co-editor, leaving in 2003.
He has also been a stage manager, singer with a comedy rock band called Johnny Shiloe’s Movement Machine, manager of the indie band Hungover Stuntmen and presenter of a short-lived regional panel show, the Regionnaires, which aired on ITV Tyne Tees, in 2004.
His comedy act began as straight stand-up, but has recently evolved into character work.
Simon Donald Dirty Great Fringepiece
Viz co-creator Simon Donald returns to the Fringe with a show closely modelled on last year's format of character comedy plus reminiscences about his cult comic's heyday.
Donald has been performing since 2008 and says he has never looked back, given that the feedback from Viz was never as immediate as it is in live comedy. By the end of the show you wonder if he might take this assertion back, as he has endured a poor gig and he knows it.
Going from page to stage means more than having a list of rude words and phrases and dropping them, er, willy-nilly, across some very old-school and two-dimensional characterisations including the reprised Jeremy Jitler (Mr Logic meets stand-up), market researcher Barry Twyford and Bingo, another cerebrally-challenged joker.
Gratuity on the page has to be amplified but while projection is important in live performance too, the subtle use of language, even naughty words, is key to milking the humour out of them. Funny names or talking about testicles in various forms is not enough in itself and having two characters parody stand-up is a corner-cut.
Of equal importance is the ability to relax with your own material and acting capabilities. Donald is nervous throughout and there is a lack of conviction that hampers his material. In someone else's hands the re-working of mother-in-law and racist jokes to apply to ginger people, might have stood more of a chance.
At one point Donald refers to the show as ‘a work in progress’ which, with last year under his belt, can only really be true in the sense that a comic is always learning and shows are always evolving. The question is whether you get to a point where you know there's nothing you can learn that will make you any better – or indeed if you enjoy it enough to take on new information and instincts.
Given his contribution to comedy I can't see Donald giving up in a hurry but it would be wise for him to draw inspiration from characters whose definition goes deeper than those he previously nailed in pen and ink.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 9th Aug, '11|
Review by Julian Hall
Wednesday 26th Oct, '11- Newcastle Stand
Wednesday 11th Aug, '10-
I think Simon is outstanding. His characters are very original and very funny. More than what I can say about a lot of joke thieves around the place. Keep it up Simon.
Zack, you couldn't be more wrong! I watched this show within 10 miles of Newcastle and it was simply painful.
The inherent funniness and appeal of Simon Donald's act stretches far beyond the Toon and its environs. Got to see glimpses of one of his characters 'Barry Twyford' last year (the 'lunchables' shtick had everyone in stitches), great to see he's branched out into other characters too. Far more on offer here than just cut-out Geordie stereotypes - he can be both clever and crude with incredible ease. He clearly relishes awkward moments and tricks the audience into thinking he's lost the plot and then hits you with belly-laugh punchlines. One of the acts I always look out for at the Fringe.
Brilliant description of my act there from Zack there. There is literally nothing more to it than that. Keep up the good work, Zack, you're just what the comedy public needs. Love your work.
If you think being funny is talking in Geordie very slowly and repeat yourself continually then you'll love this. Awful. Only funny within 10 miles of Newcastle...
Simon Donald and Maff Brown
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Simon Donald Is Completely Hatstand
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Simon Donald's Dirty Great Fringepiece
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Heroes of Alternative Fringe
Simon Donald’s School of Swearing
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Simon Donald: Butch Straight Poof