Addy Van Der Borgh
An Audience With Peter
Angie Le Mar
Anthony J Brown
Afie Brown's first stage credit was when he was 15 in Harry Hill’s stage show Wild Horses. The son of Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens, she started performing stand-up at the age of 18 in August 2006. He has appeared on BBC2’s The Grumpy Guide to Teenagers.
Alfie Brown: Fringe 2012
Running into one industry bigwig in a late-night bar at last year’s Fringe, Alfie Brown was told: ‘Advice: Be funny, not clever. Nobody cares how clever you are.’
This is caustic, intense and intelligent hour-long riposte to those unsolicited words of wisdom which doesn’t entirely come off – inevitably enough, because he too often puts the smarts before the laughs. But his uncompromising stance is fascinating to watch and if he masters the route down which he is intent of travelling, he could become one of the most important, incisive comedians of his generation.
Soul For Sale is essentially about the corporate packaging of culture – which, given how many comics slag off vacuous TV shows and manufactured pop, might not sound entirely original. But Brown has a rare authenticity, projecting the strong impression he would never rejig these thoughts into gags that would suit shiny-floor Saturday-night entertainment shows, just for the chance to nuzzle at the teat of fame.
It’s no surprise, then, that he has little time for Made In Chelsea or Justin Bieber, or vacuous local radio DJs. In one memorable routine, he berates one for praising a Rihanna song for not containing any bad language – even though, as Brown passionately contests, it certainly contains plenty of bad influences.
That’s one of the many contradictions of modern life that this 25-year-old grapples with. And ‘grapple’ is the right word, as he doesn’t always score a victory over his difficult arguments, even thought they are always fascinating.
His hard delivery, too, ensures a certain tension pervades the entire set, and the audience can never entirely relax. And when he sprints into the moral minefield of paedophilia with a recklessness/bravery that would do Chris Morris proud, it proves too much for a couple of locals who were already finding Brown’s stand-up dissertation a little hard to follow – and left, very vocally, disturbing the already delicate balance of the piece.
Yet just as tellingly, another punter who bristled as the controversial topic being raised, did eventually see what Brown was getting at beyond the understandable kneejerk reaction.
The cornerstone, though is the in-depth response to that promoter’s unsolicited advice. It’s almost inescapable that he channels Stewart Lee for some of this sarcasm-laced routine, intrinsically parodying his own repetitive catchphrases or commenting; ‘That’s not a good bit, is it?’ But he makes his point.
On laugh count alone, this would only be a three-star show; and is certainly not recommended for those who don’t want to hear a comedian delve into genuinely uncomfortable territory. But the same could be said of Lenny Bruce – a man of whom Brown’s promoter nemesis may well not have heard – and how much would you give now to have experience him in his early days?
Brown’s not in the territory of the greats yet, as the show is just too uptight, but he’s going the right way about it.
|Date of live review: Saturday 11th Aug, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Tuesday 1st May, '07-
This man is the future.
A very funny man and very watchable too. He's one of my favourite new(er) acts and a guy who I would say to keep an eye on. When he finds his voice I think he'll be unstoppable.
Saw Alfie at the Fringe 2009 - very talented, one to watch!
Quirky without trying too hard to be so, often very poetic and elegant in his delivery. Enjoyed his not being afraid to talk about the fact that he was performing comedy while performing it. Some of the longer pieces anti-climactic, but very, very funny! 4/5.
A very talented boy!
The Lunchtime Club
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Alfie Brown And Ivo Graham
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Alfie Brown: The Love You Take
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Alfie Brown: Soul For Sale
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Alfie Brown: The Revolting Youth