Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Sol Bernstein: Still Standing at Just the Tonic at The Tron (Venue 51). Review by Kate Copstick
I HAD the great, great pleasure and privilege of having what was – but for the presence of Owen the Researcher from the Mervyn Stutter Show – a private performance from one of the most respected elder statesmen of the Fringe, Mr Sol Bernstein. For younger readers, I shall explain that Sol Bernstein makes Barry Cryer look like a newbie.
Come and sit at the feet of the man the Mexicans loved so much they named a beer after him and listen to his tales of how his talent, nurtured in the fields of the Ukraine, took him to the Catskills and old age homes across two continents. You will be amazed when you hear of how he seems to have worked with all the greats from Sinatra to Elvis to Coltrane (John, not Robbie) and Miles Davis. As he reminisces about his times jamming with the greats of American jazz, I am thrilled when he produces his “axe” – the name given to serious musician’s instrument – and I am even more thrilled when he doesn’t play it.
Pausing only for the occasional, contractually obligatory commercial for the aforementioned beer, Sol powers through an hour pretty much packed like a good salt beef sandwich with laughs. I should have expected no less. This, after all, is the man who taught Hitler everything he knew about stand-up comedy.
One-liners fly thick and fast, he suggests a solution to the situation in Palestine and ponders 2,000 years of Jew hating, we are treated to little clusters of old Jewish jokes and, talking of clusters, some revealingly personal insights into the problems of growing old with special reference to the haemorrhoids (from which he suffers terribly) and what Sol refers to in his endearing New York twang as “jerking off”. The room gave him a richly deserved standing ovation.
You really should see him soon, he is not getting any younger and you do not want to miss him.
Until 24 August. Today 9pm, more info
Originally published in The Scotsman