Best of the Edinburgh Fest [FringeTIX]
Jason Cook, Jariath Regan, Mike Wozniak, Eddie Ifft @ The Governor Hindmarsh
7:45pm, Fri 27 Feb 2009
Escaping the city and its opening night crowds, I popped out to The Gov for one of the Fringe regulars – the (maybe fancifully named) Best of the Edinburgh Fest. Now, I have grave suspicions as to the legitimacy of that title; but it matters not, because a great time was had by all.
Jason Cook is the MC for the evening, and – quite frankly – was absolutely fucking brilliant. His loud, but affable style gets everyone on-side from the outset, with charming crowd banter (and the requisite mocking) and a real feel-good delivery. Tales of hometown gigs, conversations with other Poms in the audience, and crowd warm-up exercises were brilliant. Usually, the MC at these shows is the weakest link; not in this case, however. Even his return interstitials were exceptional; he completely won me over… I’d pay good money to see him in his own show.
The moment Jarleth Regan (or is it Jariath? I don’t know, so I’ll use both) comes onstage, the energy level drops substantially. Much more reserved than Cook, he takes a while to warm the crowd up, breaking through with tales of parental tech support (his Dad’s first photo message from his phone is a corker). He closes out his set with a quick run-through of some of his greeting cards, which really are piss funny. All-in-all, a really well paced set from a likeable guy.
Looking – and sounding – like a moustached David Attenborough on speed, Mike Wozniak blasted through a fast-paced set, tackling risqué topics such as medectophobia and mega-foreskin with a clean, clinical approach that, combined with his manic style, was bloody funny.
After a short interval (and more banter from Jason Cook), the “headline” act appeared: Eddie Ifft. Now, Eddie was the only one of these comics that I had seen prior to tonight, and I remember him being a bit crude – but in a good way. Unfortunately, a lot of the more… ummm… socially unacceptable rough edges have been filed off his act, replaced with bog-standard “wacky shit about Adelaide” stories. Sure, he still dips into the gloriously obscene (“people often ask me why I quit drinking. I tell them ‘because I’d get drunk and FUCK KIDS.'”), but moments where you consider checking your laughter because of the social implications are sadly few and far between.
None of that really matters, though, because Jason Cook carries the night. Even if the other comedians present had been dead weight, his efforts would have still made this a quality show; the fact that they all had moments of pure hilarity just makes Best of the Edinburgh Fest a gem.