Impromptu visit to the Junction on Tuesday to see two comedians previewing their Edinburgh Festival sets and using the opportunity to generally finetune and work out timings and which bits of their material need sharpening up. Actually, both of these sets seemed pretty much nailed down already. Catie Wilkins presented a well-structured, if slightly tentative, set based mainly on her childhood and her relationship with her parents. She was very likeable and managed to find interesting angles on what you might think is a well-worn subject, along with some funny and engaging anecdotes, but you got the sense that she’s relatively new to stand-up and hasn’t yet developed the attack mechanism a comedian would need if faced with a more restless or beered-up audience than this one. Definitely worth watching though.
No such issues with Richard Herring however, who blasted his way through an hour and a quarter of his new show What Is Love, Anyway? at high speed – very impressive, given the lack of any overlap of material with his previous one Christ On A Bike, which he only finished touring a few weeks ago. The new stuff tends more towards the personal, with several heartfelt but still very funny stories about his family and some imaginative flights of fancy spinning off conversations he’s had with his girlfriend (the Ferrero Rocher pyramid routine is a particular highlight), and his delivery is as robust as ever – there weren’t any hecklers in the house, but you sense that anyone trying to destabilise the show would have been minced quite mercilessly. I’d expected something a lot more formless and improvisatory than this – I’ve got a feeling he’s going to slay them in Edinburgh.