review star review star review star review blank star review blank star

Matt Price: My Girlfriend Was Attacked By A Small-Time Wannabe Gangster And This Is What I Did About It – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Matt Price is a comedian, performing a show billed as ‘funny’ in the comedy section of the biggest festival of live comedy in the world. So you might reasonably expect this to be comedy. It’s not.

The subject matter – which you can probably guess from the title – is clearly too raw, bleak and personal for Price to slap on his happy face and crack gags about. It is, however, a thoughtful piece of storytelling by a man who finds it easy to connect with his audience.

Or at least most audiences. The piece starts with a tale of a gig he performed with fellow stand-up Ray Peacock in Broadmoor secure mental hospital, in front of patients so intimidating, it was his biggest stage death to date. His usual mantra is that ‘bad jokes bring people together’ – but that wasn’t enough to see him through that particular experience, which is only tentatively connected to the main story.

What happened is this. One night his girlfriend went to complain to her previously amiable upstairs neighbour about the noise, whereupon the man – a gym freak – smashed her head violently into the floor. Somehow she made it back to her own flat, where three thugs attempted to continue the assault. The attack left her badly injured, deaf in one ear, with the very real risk that she would lose her hearing altogether.

Price, naturally enough wanted revenge, and using some connections of connections, got in touch with enough members of the Glasgow underworld to populate a Guy Richie movie. Through meetings in restaurants and deserted car parks, he told what had happened and sought help and advice, learning he could have the man killed for £5,000 or seriously injured for £2,000. This redemptive story tells, as promised, exactly what he chose to do about it.

Not, as you see, exactly a prime subject for jocularity. Even when Price promises us before one particularly depressing segment: ‘You won’t laugh for four or five minutes, but after that you will.’ Only the first part comes to pass.

Some levity is provided by Price’s friend Steve Day, the deaf comedian and central character in the few light-hearted anecdotes in the hour, as Price recounts some o fhis joking around, using his disability to excuse mischief. But there’s always the threat of brutally menacing gangsters hanging over even the most innocent of anecdotes.

Price draws you in, though, with his easy charm and compelling story. The staging could help him more; the stage is lit in such a way that a man front row is brightly illuminated, while the performer is in shadows – while a PowerPoint projector is a redundant distraction.

It’s a prop Price doesn’t need, as his delivery of the tale is exemplary. Just don’t expect to laugh...

Review date: 20 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.