There ain't no justice... just me, to be perfectly frank IAN SHUTTLEWORTH: CRITICAL MASS (COMIC GENIUS - THE INDEPENDENT)

The ultimate Fringe survival guide!

Some damn critics are just never satisfied. A few years ago a bunch of them directed plays on the London fringe, and then one of the bleeders actually performed in Edinburgh. You’d think I’d know the saying: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; those who can’t teach, criticise.”

So what on earth possessed me, Ian Shuttleworth, to write and perform Critical Mass (“Comic Genius” – The Independent)? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time – midnight in the Assembly Rooms Club Bar a few years ago, after several pints.

Actually, it was a good idea. With 1278 shows on the Fringe when I first performed it in '97, you needed some kind of guide to slashing through the stunted undergrowth towards the clearings where you can find the decent stuff.

Now, reviewers can only say so much on the page – they can’t actually come out with the truth, like, in some cases, “You’d have more fun getting stitches removed from the roof of your mouth without anaesthetic than sitting through this crock.”

Now THIS is more like it...But, freed from the shackles of newsprint decorum, I gave my intrepid audiences the complete low-down... and believe me, it could hardly get any lower.

I recently did some totting up and found that, over the last twelve years, I have seen over 1000 Edinburgh Fringe shows. (Why? Er... pass.) I've covered the Festival for the Financial Times and OK! magazine simultaneously; watched Hungarian women in perspex tanks and 3 a.m. slide shows in the street; and checked out more chippies and bars than you’ll have hot dinners and hangovers up here. And I'm still standing... well, swaying gracelessly. If anyone knows what’s what, I do.

And thus, O dearly beloved, I took to the stage to share my wisdom with those hardy enough to venture into the Pleasance Upstairs theatre in Edinburgh. And I didn't mince words – I took a bleedin’ great cleaver to them. In one short hour, I explained:

And that was just for starters.