23rd June 2015, Edinburgh Previews at the Funny Fort, Fortescue Plymouth. Steffan Alun, Phil Cooper, Becky Brunning and Bethan Roberts.

“Once more unto the brea – er basement, dear friends, once more. Or close the wall up with our English dead.”

Sorry to come over all Henry the Fifth guys, but it felt like someone had been closing the Fort’s walls with the dead before the beginning of this gig. Yet another beautiful sunny evening had taken the punters elsewhere and it was looking for a while that the gig was only going to be the four comics, Frankie the organiser and the two of us! However, Phil and Steffan our first two comics, took on the heroic task of rallying more troops from upstairs and disappeared for several minutes, finally enticing a few “willing punters” downstairs by a megaphone announcement in the upper bar, and the gig got underway.

Phil Cooper is embarking on his second trip to Edinburgh, this time for a shared hour with Steffan Alun. I can’t find out much about their show (sorry boys, I’ve prostrated myself to the Great God Google, but it’s not giving me any rewards re your Fringe info!)

We last bumped into Steffan and Phil at Machyllneth in May as we were about to go into Nell Frizzell’s show – they were trying to get in but it was sold out and they were disappointed.

Frankie came on stage and, due to the late start, wasted no time in bringing on Steffan.

It took Steffan a few minutes to get into his stride but with his softly spoken Welsh tones and easy, style, Steffan is a bit of a sneaky stealth bomber because before we  knew it, we were really enjoying ourselves at his slightly whacky observations.

Steffan bears a definite resemblance to a certain religious figure and I was waiting for some reference to it, which came up in a story about people finding images of his face in their pancakes!

Onto Phil’s half of the hour. What a laid back soul he is. With woollen slouchy hat and cheeky grin, I could listen to Phil’s rich Welsh accent all day, even without the funnies! And he is funny! As befitting the preview element  Phil was referring to notes as he went along, and one of our lady audience members was giving some excellent feedback to his asking us about various elements of the show. It got even funnier when Phil made reference to eating Space Raiders, with several of the punters, (me included), not having a clue as to what they were. When he explained that they were a poorer version of Monster Munchies, a rather poshly spoken women at the back confessed that she wasn’t sure what they were either – and had to have some more clarification. We decided that crap snack food definitely has an age range and several of the audience were well above it!

After the break we had yet another two comics sharing their hour , this time two acts both new to us, Becky Brunning and Bethan Roberts.

Bright and breezy Becky, seemingly, at least to us, full of confidence, as would be expected of someone who had made it to the final of Funny Women Awards in 2013, and the Bath New Act in 2014 to name just two. Becky came on “stage” and after some intro about the preview and a little audience banter, swung into her set proper. A lot of Becky’s material is working well; there was a piece of audience interaction around things that make her seem cool, or not cool (or hot?) Most of this worked but I think the “hot” labelling was definitely confusing some of our punters! However I’d take a big punt myself that Becky is definitely someone to look out for in the future – I’d love to catch her again!

Our last act of the night Bethan Roberts was another surprise. Going by tonight’s evidence, Bethan is more of a one or two line gagmeister, although, to be fair, there were some longer pieces too. Mucky mouthed (and who doesn’t like a bit of smut occasionally – we aren’t complaining!) and full of modern woman naughtiness, Bethan’s timing, according to Dave, was spot-on and he really enjoyed her set.

Becky and Bethan can be found in Edinburgh at Just The Tonic At The Caves (venue 88a) at 6.15pm.


Becky, Steffan, Phil and Bethan

Becky, Steffan, Phil and Bethan


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