Arthur Smith: Arturart: Institute of Zoo Logic, Edinburgh, 2007
Arthur Smith: Cobbled Up Shambles: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2010
Charity Comedy Night: Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 2011
Arthur Smith’s Pissed Up Chat Show: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2011
The Greenwich Comedy Festival 2012: Greenwich Old Naval College, London, 2012
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2013
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (Vol 2): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2014
Arthur Smith: Oh Hazel: Southbank Udderbelly, London, 2015
Barry Cryer’s 80th Birthday Roast: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, 2015
Barry Cryer and Friends: An 80th Birthday Celebration: Palace Theatre, London, 2015
Loving Linda Smith Gala Concert: In Aid of Target Ovarian Cancer: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2015
Arthur Smith’s Festival of Socks: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2016
Arnold Brown’s 80th Birthday Bash: The Comedy Store, London, 2016
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen – The Final Tribute: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2017
Angel Comedy: Camden Head Pub, Islington, London, 2017
Arthur Smith: Syd: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2018
Arthur Smith In Conversation with Beyond The Title: Museum of Comedy, London, 2021
An Edinburgh Fringe institution and stalwart, I have seen Londoner Arthur Smith perform many times over the years. Smith has many strands: comedian, poet, playwright and exhibitionist. To date he has had two exhibitions at the Fringe, Arturart in 2007 featuring life paintings and Festival of Socks in 2016 featuring the history of stockings.
I saw his solo show Cobbled Up Shambles in 2010. Whilst I was queueing, Smith handed myself and the other people in the queue a rock just for attending. The performance was a series of jokes and songs most notably Arthur Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear with a person in a bear suit dancing next to Smith as he sang it. The show also memorably featured whilst Smith was deep in monologue to the audience a stark-naked woman who appeared from one side of the stage walking to the other at the start and end of his show. Smith made no reference at all to her which made the routine extremely funny.
In 2011 his Pissed-Up Chat Show featured Smith as host who was sober, and his guests were drunk. In 2013, 2014 and 2017 Smith present his trio of Leonard Cohen tribute shows. These featured The Smithereens who have since become a regular fixture with Smith singing the classic songs of Cohen with comedy asides. The shows, all of which I attended, were big hits at the Fringe.
In 2015, Oh Hazel was a very personal and poetic tribute to his mother with very poignant and funny prose building up a picture of her struggle with dementia and life.
In 2017, he made a guest appearance at Angel Comedy for a Christmas show where the old master conducted the audience in singing traditional carols with substitute rude words.
In August 2018, Smith’s show Syd told the story of his father who fought at El Alamein, became a Prisoner of War and ended up in Colditz Castle in Germany. In the 1950s his father became a Policeman patrolling the streets of London’s Southbank and meeting characters who evaded arrest. Smith told the story with poignancy, comedy and music and was backed by the ever-faithful Smithereens. The show was a touching tribute from a fringe legend to his dad.
Smith was the special guest for the Beyond The Title live podcast at the Museum of Comedy in September 2021. The comedy star chatted to comedian Phil Reid about his 40-year career for the podcast created by Josh Barry. Smith had a treasure trove of wonderfully funny stories and took questions from the audience (which included comedians Phil Nice and Steve Nallon) before completing a very entertaining afternoon with a five-minute set.
One of the best innovators and an absolute fringe legend, Smith has always delivered very rewarding and humorous shows at the Edinburgh Festival and beyond.