In this show, the compères interrupt the comedians. Several times over. And every night, it’s a new set of comedians and a new set of interruptions.

Add to this the fact you’re in an intimate venue, it’s after 11pm, and many of the audience are ‘quite receptive to laughter’ or ‘a wee bit drunk’ and you have a promising recipe for success.

Jo Caulfield and Stuart Murphy are our hosts, and both have an assured, confident delivery, whether they are talking directly to audience members, or they are interrogating the comics about their stories.
Can I stop you there?

Murphy starts the evening with dialogue with the audience, asking questions and making gentle fun, before Caulfield joins him on stage and explains to the audience how the show works.

Tonight, four comedians go through the process of starting their routines, and then are interrupted with the phrase ‘Can I just stop you there?’, followed by questions from Jo and Stuart about the topics being covered.

And so we delve deep into the world of underpants. We explore swinging and ‘70s key parties. We discover the secrets of pork pies and pen knives. We imagine what the Olympics would be like if all the athletes were high on drugs or running on moving walkways.

We basically go completely off-piste from the comedian’s routines, and it’s impossible to predict where each night’s show is going to end up. And this is where the comic gold moments happen, as both the compères and the comedians are forced to think and talk on their feet, and explore the dark or more obscure corners of their humour in more detail.

There’s a focus and a joy in each exchange of dialogue, and the speed and wit of everyone on stage comes to the foreground. Part of the joy is that you just don’t know where anything will go, or how far it will go, and can’t predict what bizarre information you’ll uncover along the way.

You also get the advantage of getting a taster of the work of several comedians, and each finishes their piece with a generous ‘who, what, where and when’ plug from the compères, so you can choose to see more of what you like.

It’s fast, funny, weird and unpredictable – and it’s a great show to round off an evening at the Fringe. It’s also the perfect show to watch more than once, as each forms a never-to-be-repeated experience. Caulfield and Murphy are caustic but warm, and the hour’s entertainment flies by. The perfect late-night Fringe experience.

5 stars

Click to book for Can I stop you there?
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
11:15pm (1hr) Aug 22-28