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The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) (Edinburgh Fringe)

The Reduced Shakespeare Company are back, doing what they do best

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Reduced Shakespeare Company is best known for its, well, reduced Shakespeare - their Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) ran for nine years in the West End.

Now, having also widened their reach to God, America, books and sport, they're turning their hand to comedy. Beginning with the all-too literal birth of the artform, back with the cavemen, the show focuses on the mythical "Art of Comedy" – sort of like Sun Tzy's The Art of War, just funnier and written by his brother.

There are 13 chapters of the book, the final one of which has been lost – cue the cast becoming more and more desperate as they attempt to find the missing pages.

The cast, which comprises writers Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin as well as Dominic Conti, are clearly seasoned performers, and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, even if it does feel forced and a little tired in parts.

A highlight of the show involves Tichenor on a ukulele singing a song dedicated to all of his favourite comedians, including a perfectly executed tribute to Robin Williams.

Overall, it's good to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company doing what they do best, even if the material can't quite sustain the whole time.

The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) runs at Pleasance Courtyard until 25 August