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Simon Munnery's AGM09 - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

Simon Munnery has made a career out of his own brand of slightly awkward, uneasy humour that edges on the surreal. His AGMs have become an Edinburgh tradition, which most Fringe devotees attended at least once in their six-year history.

Munnery is never an easy watch, there is the sense that the AGMs are not really planned, leaving chance and luck to rule the success of each individual show, even though there are set pieces, such as the well produced, slightly surreal and comedically questionable videos that he shows us, seemingly just whenever the mood strikes.

He seems happy to place conventionally structured material which gets the biggest laughs alongside indulgences that leave the majority of the audience completely bewildered, such as the opera Twilight Of The Supermarkets, which features Munnery, Mac the drummer and Chris the technician donning buckets on their head and zapping each other with price guns.

It is a real mixed bag in terms of content, style and quality and defies conventional review. Small sections of five-star lines are uttered in the same breath as material that bombs as Munnery reads what appear to be genuine excerpts from his diary. There is a medley of poems nestled alongside Bruce Springsteen impressions, all delivered from a comic who can transform from a confident, showy performer to a man that looks on the edge of a nervous breakdown from one line to the next.

The challenges to boundaries and convention do not end with the material. There is an interval during which the audience can table motions – by dropping suggestions into a bucket – which are then discussed at the pub over the road when the show reaches the allotted finishing time in the venue.

The AGM is a true Fringe experience, and while the quality may not be consistent, and the performance often baffling – the one guarantee this show offers is that it will definitely be memorable.

Review date: 11 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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