Best Newcomer: Michael Piper

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Best newcomer? Only if about 87 other debut Fringe comics
die from some freak virus first.



Recently graduated Michael Piper is a barely competent open
spot, with few experiences to draw on, no comic timing or pace,
a muddled delivery and a love of the gross. As a quarter of a
compilation show, he'd be stretching it, for an hour it's torture.



The crux of the show is the anecdote of how he once masturbated
into a cup and got his housemate to drink it. It really is sophisticated
as that. Time and time again we return to the subject of onanism,
that's when he's not showing us crude sketches of Little Miss
Menstrual, complete with gushing blood, or simply a vagina in
close-up. Just horrible.



He has little else to talk about, other than moaning about
housemates in his shared student house, or playing video games,
student discos or a hack take on those Ocean Finance adverts.



He's perpetually apologising for his material, as well he
might, as it's devoid of wit, intelligence or charm. On the rare
occasions he does say something that could be construed as funny,
it'll be something that's basically been done before before by
other comics, only better.



And he has no idea when to stop. His dated Michael Jackson
routine, as requested by an audience that seemed to have a suspiciously
good grasp of his set list, is basically the near-joke: 'He made
such great music he should be allowed to molest anyone he damn
well wants.' After saying that, albeit in a more waffly way,
he just repeats it and acts it from marginally different angles,
sings a lot of Jackson choruses and pads it out to a good five
minutes, without adding anything to the gag.



When things are going badly, as they so often do, Piper refers
to his director. It's hard to believe that anyone's actually
worked on the structure or material to make it sharper. And the
photocopied programme we're given at the start reveals there's
not just an 'associate director' but also 'additional direction
by' credit.



The best direction he could possibly be given is to get back
on the train home and come up with a decent show rather than
subjecting us to this abysmal effort.



Steve Bennett



Review date: 1 Aug 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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