2010 Edinburgh Fringe

Just A Minute review

Just A Minute. Nicholas Parsons. Copyright: Central Independent Television

Nicholas Parsons returned to the Festival once again to chair two episodes of Radio 4's Just A Minute...

Walking on at 2:15pm for the first recording, Parsons humours the crowd by chatting about the format of the show and telling a couple of anecdotes. He then introduces a superb panel of Gyles Brandreth, Shappi Khorsandi and first timer John Bishop with regular favourite Paul Merton. Whilst both shows had their own fun moments, personally I think this first show went better than the second. Merton stormed the recording with long speeches with hardly any interruptions. The primary aim of many of his challenges revolved around being funny, but equally they were correct and so he won points as a result. Bishop tried his best not to make an error, but he couldn't stop hesitating and repeating words after twenty seconds. The kind thing done for newcomers on JAM is that they're given a little leeway, and so this gave Bishop the opportunity to tell a couple of gags which were well worth it. Khorsandi had a good run in the show with regular jokes and some long un-interrupted speeches and Brandreth kept the crowd laughing with a constant array of great and speedy one liners. There was a funny exchange between Brandreth and Merton over a hamster. We'll have to wait to see if it makes the Radio 4 edit.

Show two at 4:15pm featured Paul Merton once again and he still had the energy to entertain a new crowd, this time with Fred MacAulay, Jenny Eclair and Stephen K Amos. I feel that this show was a touch down on the gags in comparison to the previous recording, primarily due to the fact it missed the frequent exchanges between Merton and Brandreth. However, this second episode quickly picked up pace. Amos tried again and again not to mess up but kept being buzzed. He struggled to form a couple of sentences and couldn't stop laughing at himself every time he got buzzed for simple mistakes. His laughter made the crowd giggle too. The best exchanges revolved around the fact Jenny Eclair revealed that, before the show, Merton had joked backstage that the panel shouldn't be petty with challenges. Eclair decided to take this little joke seriously and began buzzing Paul for silly challenges - starting a bit of a buzzer war, which was great fun for the audience.

A positive with a BBC show like this is that anyone can be part of the audience. So if you're planning to go to the festival next year with your family, this is an ideal show to add to the schedule. If you're lucky, you may even snag an autograph pre or post show too.

Just A Minute listing

Share this page