Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh Fest

Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh FestCombine Bulmers cider, a basement theatre and three British comedians and you're guaranteed a great hour of comedy.

It's got to be tough going first on a cold audience. Joe Rowntree took a little time to warm himself – and us – up, but soon enough everyone was laughing as he invented new kinds of sexually transmitted diseases and discussed his sexual fantasies in detail. It's mildly devastating that he's got a long-time girlfriend. But I didn't say that to my husband, who was lapping up Joe's bawdy humour.

Jimmy McGhie is a blonde, great-looking British rising star. I saw him last year at the Adelaide Fringe, and could see his development from then to now. He's more confident on stage and better at using the audience for our mutual amusement. Though things can still go terribly wrong. He decided to pick on a woman in the front row who had her shoes off – "What do you think this is, you're f%$^#&g living room?" The audience behind saw the rising crutches as he did, and his reaction was priceless. Yet he picked it up and ran with it, as a true stand up would. If you're going to heckle the audience, you sometimes have to pay the price.

For me they saved the best for last. The Geordie hobbit John Fothergill took the stage like he was walking into a café with a group of friends. His supreme comfort on stage makes him all the more endearing. This lets him get away with some of the cheekiest content of the night. If he's chatted to you before the show, don't sit down the front unless you're very sure of your sexuality, or if you didn't bring your partner. John delivers filthy jokes with his whimsical smile, laughing with us at himself as he goes. Never has sexism been so forgivable. What a talent.

The brilliance of this show is the comedians' ability to integrate improvised audience heckling and humour into their own acts, as well as pick up on what has come before them. Poor old "Oklahoma" sitting in the front row got a serious beating. He may just think twice about wearing his bowler hat when seeing stand up again. The show will be different every night as the boys play with the front rows and interact with the audience as a whole. Be prepared to wear your nationality proudly – it's guaranteed to take a battering.

Mary Tobin presents
Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh Fest

RMIT Capitol Theatre | 113 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne
The Hi-Fi | 125 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne (this is a licensed venue. Under 18s must be accompanied by a Parent or Legal Guardian.)
Dates: 29 March – 22 April, 2012
The Hi-Fi
Tue-Thu 7pm
RMIT Capitol Theatre Fri & Sat 7.45pm, Sun 7pm
Duration: 75 minutes
Tickets: Full Fri & Sat $33.50, Concession Fri & Sat $30, Group (10 or more) $30, Laugh Pack Fri & Sat $30, Full Tue-Thu & Sun $28.50, Tightarse Tuesday $26.50, Concession Wed-Thu & Sun $25.50
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 | At the door

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