Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

The good people at Sweet Venues have found a time-efficient way of promoting their shows. Round up some journos, round up some performers, shove ’em in a lift together, give them the journey from the ground to the fifth floor of Sweet Grassmarket and back again to plug their shows. The metaphorical “elevator pitch” taken very literally.

This is how our editor Robert Peacock, Nick from The Stage (late supersub for The Scotsman’s Kate Copstick who had reviewing duties elsewhere), and venerable comedy blogger John Fleming came to be trapped in a lift with some very verbal performers.

Since we might not be able to review all the shows themselves, we thought we would review their pitches, and help give you the gist of what they’re about.


Bentley Browning: Tinder Rehab, Sweet Grassmarket @ 19:00, until Sun 20 Aug 2017

Hits us straight out the traps with “TED talk crossed with the Generation Game”.  Good hook. Strong eye contact while telling us how interactive the show is. Promises the audience will leave their show “buzzing their balls off”, which is a plus, but loses marks trying to plug his other show too (The Rock ‘n’ Roll Relationship Show at Espionage) ★★★★✩

Jody Kamali: Hotel Yes Please, Sweet Grassmarket @ 14:55, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Is this actual Apex Hotel staff? No, it’s Kamali in character as hotel manager Fernando. He explains his hotel has “tickle rooms” and “dark rooms” where we can “let out all our shit”. Tempts us, without fully explaining. He’s probed into revealing he does other characters too – Jeff the Chef, Steve the Actor – and sums up as it’s “Willy Wonka if he managed a hotel”. Consummate pitching. ★★★★★

Cacophony, Sweet Holyrood @ 19:30, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

This duo have a line – “one woman, no voice, minor cartoon violence” – but not sure what it means. There’s talk of mime and sound effects. Maybe one of those you need to see to understand. They seem like nice folks and this is their first Fringe and according to a stapled List quote it’s “impossible to forget”, so who knows? ★★★✩✩

Identity, Sweet Holyrood @ 15:45, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Ouch. He’s got me. Met this chap at Meet the Media, but he’s done his homework since. Hits me by asking how Katie & Gus’ wedding was and telling me to say hi to my mum Sue. Got the gen on my fellow lift inmates too. No finer way to demonstrate his show, which is about the data we reveal about ourselves online. Nice touch. ★★★★★

Alex Martini, Martini Dry, Sweet Holyrood @ 20:10, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Italian comedian who looks the part. Gets his background and experience straight out. Tell us his material is about food and drink, and lazy stereotypes and combatting nationalism. Goes for the sympathy vote – he could use some extra audience. Can believe he’s good, but don’t get a sense of his style of comedy, so as a pitch it’s ★★★✩✩

Reformed Whores: Grand Ole Cuntry, Sweet Grassmarket @ 21:50, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

They’ve come prepared – southern country gals in full costume. “Flight of the Conchords meets Dolly Parton” sums up perfectly. One gives birth in the lift.* They do a cheeky song, leave. Left in no doubt about the idea. Forget to give us a flyer until asked though so as a pitch it has to be ★★★★✩

Gloria Hole presents The Clinic, Sweet Grassmarket @ 23:10, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

So easily summed up, the pitch could be over before we’ve reached the second floor. “Late night comedy drag show” which is “vaguely controlled chaos”. Need no further info. Would’ve been nice to hear a bit more about what makes it different, so only ★★★✩✩

F*ckboys For Freedom, Sweet Grassmarket @ 21:30, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Chap does a rapid-fire explanation of what a f*ckboy is. We hear all the words, but we’re still none the wiser. His partner explains it’s a weird, absurd coming of age thing, between a play and a sketch show, which henceforth has been named a “pletch”. Even less the wiser now. Pricks the interest, but for vagueness it’s ★★★✩✩

Joe Jacobs: Ripe, Sweet Holyrood @ 17:00, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Ballsy pitching style. “Which one of you’s Robert? I’ve sent you e-mails.” The average Fringe reviewer gets a press release every five minutes throughout August, so haranguing’s not a good tactic. “Yeah, but I’ve got you in a lift now.” Admire the chutzpah. Expect his show to be similarly in your face or it’d be a let down. ★★✩✩✩ for the pitch, ★★★★★ for the attitude

Simon Caine: Laughter is the Best Placebo, Sweet Grassmarket @ 17:00, until Sun 27 Aug 2017

Comedian whose brainchild this elevator pitch idea is, so no surprise he’s prepped. Gives us an overview of career to date, how he took a year off last year, this is his second solo year, do we have any questions? Yes, and he answers. Theme of show is: has comedy improved or ruined his life? He’ll be narrating himself through it. Finishes bang on the ding of the lift doors. All in the timing. A tight ★★★★★

Details of all these shows and more can be found on Sweet website

* No spoilers here – see the show for more.