NICK DOODY Merging satire with daftness I”
A technical hitch during the previous show delays the returning Fringe comedian's show by 15 minutes. but soon the relatively substantial crowd sits in the dark watching Nick Doody's entree, a stereo slideshow of global news horror stories intercut with a creepy snapshot of Keith Harris and Orville, followed by a cue card reading: 'coincidence?’ It's mildly amusing. and as such its combination of political satire and daffy humour encapsulates the show quite accurately.
Happily, Doody swiftly brings it back. Some quick-fire scattergun gags warm the audience up. and before we know it he's running with an extended routine revolving around Gillian Gibbons. the British teacher in the Sudan who was threatened with 40 lashes for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammad. If the sets a little shaky, it’s more than made up for by Doody's raw intelligence and cheeky charm. That and a great onanism anecdote at the show's climax. (Miles Fielder)
I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 13), 7.30pm, £7 7—72 (£9. 50—70. 50).
TOM WRIGGLESWORTH Robotic set from Kitson soundalike ” ..
This nervously smiling beanpole from Shefﬁeld laments that ‘sometimes in life there’s nothing comedic to report'. Unfortunately a good deal of his material homes right in on those less than hilarious moments: his credit card company mistakenly blocking his account. kids on the bus playing music too loud or that holiday where the car insurance was a total rip-off. Rather than magically twisting the petty irritations of everyday life into comedy gold — as his soundalike Daniel Kitson might do — Wrigglesworth (who gets laughs when he describes himself as having ‘the
face of Postman Pat and body of Peter Crouch‘) is reminding his crowd why they came in the first place; to forget about those pain-in-the—bum moments and hopefully, get a sore tummy from laughing instead.
His ‘comically right-wing granny' and
f that time he soiled himself in Bangkok prop up weaker stretches of his set.
but Wrigglesworth — whose surname
would slot in very nicely to an episode : of Postman Pat — struggles to show us
the funny side of it all. (Claire Sawors) I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 72), 6pm, 88.50—89.50 (E7—E8).
; MARK WATSON
Lightning fast, likeable wit from not
‘ quite Welsh wizard 0000
Most 55-minute comedy shows. explains Mark Watson, use 50 minutes of material then allow five for laughter. But being a pessimist. the self- slagging. nervy wonderboy has
prepared an hour. Based on audience
for see non-Festival magazine
' reactions. the wiry. fake Welshman
should have aimed for nearer 45. Darting through the aisles as an ice-
breaker. then fast-forward walking on to ‘the biggest stage of my career', his
breathless. machine-gun delivery never lets up. Even when his shoelace comes undone. he carries on while a girl in the front row ties it up.
He's an enthusiastic perfectionist, famous for his 24 and 36-hour comedy marathons, and even though he looks like he might spontaneously combust any second. he‘s brought us another Rocky-style triumph. Discussing marriage (‘she could re- recruit easily; I probably wouldn't get another one'). JK Rowling envy and the stress-related chest pains that forced him to take it easy last year. his magnetic. engaging delivery makes him impressive and likeable at the
same time. If this is a race. Mark Watson seems on track for a personal best. (Claire Sawers)
I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 72), 8pm, 87350—05 (Em—£73.50).
E -_ ‘_ V. r, BRENDON BURNS Award winner is back and still pretty angry 000
What do you get when you take an aggressive Aussie comic with a history of psychosis, substance abuse and vitriolic rants about every sector of humanity and award him the if.comeddie main award? Gladiator costumes, Schwarzenegger impressions and a celebratory show that throws everything and a bucket of frogs at the audience, that’s what.
Brendon Burns calls this his ‘fuck you’ show and dispenses with high-concept narratives to indiscriminately pillory every minority, majority and everything in between while dressed like something out of Conan the Barbarian. His award-winning show last year rested on the line between jokes and persecution with the audience forced to examine their complicity in the matter. This year he claims to have thrown all sermonising out the window, piling up the Obscenities
24 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 7—14 Aug 2008
until at one point he’s just screaming one line over and over. This is rage comedy, as cathartic for both parties involved, and, incidentally, mostly very funny.
Yet there is method to the apparent madness. This is what happens when a raw, uncompromising and didactic comedian is given mainstream acceptance: he is inadvertently tamed. Sitting in the massive Assembly Ballroom, the audience is granted anonymity by their numbers; skirting round the edge of danger they watch smugly and complicit from their seats. The most interesting moment comes when the audience suddenly winces, finally reaching the topic they feel is beyond the pale. Tonight it’s Princess Di. This could be dismissed as an angry man shaking his ﬁst at the world but, despite his protestations that this show is all about him, Brendon Burns is still teaching us more about ourselves. (Suzanne Black)
I Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 24 Aug (not I I, 78). 8.55pm, fTi4-‘f‘76tt‘713—f75).