David von Jones- Beautiful Ducks

Where/when: Free Sisters Staff Room, 14.45

The Edinburgh Festival is a wonderful thing; thousands of fans of art, theatre and comedy descend on the city to devour as much culture as possible. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to remember this. Particularly if you’re one of five audience members in a tiny stand-up venue.

These were the conditions present at David Von Jones’ Beautiful Ducks in the Free Sisters’ Staff Room. It can be hard for a comic working a room with less people than most boybands, jokes that would get a big laugh in front of a hundred will get silence and others get almost more awkwardly only one person’s laughter but Von Jones responds to this admirably. He keeps going, improvising around the conditions well and managing, as much as possible, to ease the awkwardness.

His written material, based around a book on breeds of ducks that shares it’s title with the show, is often clever, punchlines coming from nowhere and delivering unexpected laughs. Some jokes fall flat, a section on babies on airplanes is unlikely to get much of a laugh anywhere, but there is always something to bring it back, or at the very least the offer of free biscuits being passed around.

Routines on whale hunting, punchlines without set-ups and the logic of Disney shows provide smiles and giggles that with more people would translate into big laughs, and the show is enjoyable for all it is awkward.

In all, Beautiful ducks is a clever and often funny show with a charismatic performer, but could benefit from a little bit of a polish and the presence of an audience.

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