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James Blood: Apocalypse Soon
James Campbell's Comedy 4 Kids [2007 Fringe]
James Dowdeswell: Wine
James Sherwood’s Somewhat Premature Review of 2007
Janey Godley: Tell It Like It Is
Janey Godley's Chat Show
Janice Phayre: With Occasional Showers
Jarlath Regan: Nobody Knows ... Jarlath Regan
Jarred Christmas: The Hero Show
Jason Byrne: Shy Pigs With Wigs Hidden In Twigs
Jason Byrne’s Telly Idea, Which May Also Work On The Radio…Show
Jason Cook: My Confessions
Jason John Whitehead: Pretending To Be Retarded is Impolite.. and other revelations
Jason Kavan: According To Jason - Chapter 1
Jay Foreman: 20 Songs for Free
Jay Sodagar: Confessions Of A Logical Mind 2 - Now I Have A Headache
Jeff and Nicko: Amateur Pro-Celebrity Karaoke
Jeremy Boutsakis: Thought Leader - A Conference For Sole Traders
Jeremy Engler: From James Bond to Alexander
Jerry Sadowitz: Comedian, Magician, Psychopath
Jessica Delfino: Songs About Vaginas
Jesus: The Guantanamo Years 
Jim Bowen: You Can't Beat a Bit of Bully 
Jim Bowes: Complaining
Jim Jeffries: 30
Jimmy Carr: Repeat Offender
Jimmy Tingle For President
Jimmy Tingle's American Dream
Jo Caulfield Goes To Hell
Jo Coffey: My Dad's Caravan is Rubbish
Joanna Neary's Little Moments
Jody Kamali: Backpacker
John Bishop: Stick Your Job Up Your Arse
John Gordillo: Free
John Hegley: Letters To An Earwig
Johnny Forgeigner Comedy Show
Johnny Miller presents ... Mike Gilhooly & Rich Luke
Johnson and Boswell: Late But Live
Jokes, Stories And A Different Guest Every Night
Jon Richardson: Spatula Pad
Jonathan Kay: An Audience with Jonathan Kay - Fool!
Josie Long: Trying Is Good
Jude Simpson's Growing Up Games
Juliet Meyers: Meyerspace
Just A Minute [Fringe 2007]
Just So Ever Slightly
Justin Moorhouse: Who's The Daddy
John Hegley: Letters To An Earwig
Festival regular provides jugular lunchtime serving of song, poetry and insect life. A feast of spoken worms and broken promises.
In the constant quest for the new, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the fantastic performers who come to Edinburgh year-in, year-out, always with top-quality shows.
He’s no Fringe spring chicken, but John Hegley’s Letter To An Earwig is one of the most wonderfully entertaining hours on the Fringe – and in the far-from-sought-after 1pm slot, faces very little competition for your time.
If you know him simply as the dry, sardonic poet, you’ll be impressed at just how many bits of ‘business’ are called into service in the name of comic entertainment. From the ukulele he strums at the start, improvising as he helps latecomers find their seats, to imagined letters from his grandmother towards the end, this is a rich, funny, diverse show.
Hegley has the air of an impatient schoolmaster, even when delivering the funnies. He peers disapprovingly over his glasses if the audience fails to react how he wants. He’s almost daring us not to laugh – how dare such flippery enter his venue? – but can’t help cracking a wry smile now and then when we do. Defined by this false tetchiness, his relationship with the audience is sublime.
As if to extend the classroom analogy, he recruits a couple of volunteers for an arts and crafts project to start the show, and delivers many of his sublime verses from behind a desk, as if taking the register. There’s even a playtime, when he takes to a swing for more poetry.
Not that any of these distractions are evidence of dumbing down. Hegley’s verses are as sharp as ever, and this is a show that celebrates erudition. At one point, a punter earns a round of applause for his ornithological knowledge; in many shows he’d be mocked mercilessly.
It’s not the only point Hegley encourages us to join in, and even the most reluctant participant with have their spirits raised by completing rhymes or providing backing singing to his songs
Some of his usual themes – glasses, dogs, Luton – are played down, though they do make their presence felt. Instead the theme to which he keeps returning is the 1923 emigration of his ancestors from France to the US, and there are some poignant moments in his family history to add texture.
These are slotted between the silliness in an hour full of bathos. From his A-Z of animal poems (in which not every letter is guaranteed to appear) to the crushingly insensitive translation of his book for the American market, there is genuine hilarity throughout, and always from a position of warmth.
Hegley doesn’t put a foot wrong in this delightful, joyous, genial, inventive hour of inspired comedy. It’s as simple as that.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
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