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Gerry Howell's Incubation Hour - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

How well done do you like your eggs? Gerry Howell seems to like his premature and completely overcooked.

There is no way Howell is ready for an Edinburgh debut this year, he is still honing his character and short set in open mic spots around the country, and it was a massive mistake to try to stretch this surreal 15-minute spot over an hour, let alone the extra 20-plus minutes that he over-ran.

Howell is an exciting and promising new circuit act who provokes and pushes with his off-the -wall style. Completely bizarre mutterings, which sometimes can raise a chuckle, soon get tiresome and go from being fresh and inventive to just plain odd very quickly. It is difficult to tell if he is trying to be the next anti-comedy hero or if he is trying to emulate Izzard, but at 80 minutes in you really have just stopped caring what he is trying to do, you just want him to stop.

There is an ill judged attempt at a play in two parts, the concept and twist is good (as it was when Idiots Of Ants deployed the same technique in their 2008 Edinburgh show) but the delivery fails and the audience’s faith is so low by the time the point of the piece is made clear that he gets no response at all and is left on a silent stage. Much better to place the two segments together to keep the flow of the piece and try to gain some momentum.

It is exasperating watching a promising act damage his confidence and reputation by trying to run before he can walk. There is desperation about his delivery that suggests he is well aware that what he is doing just won’t meet the grade. He lacksthe experience necessary to just get off the stage after a bad gig and forces us to sit through another half an hour in the vain hope he will end on a laugh. Disrespectful to the audience, the venue and the other acts sharing the room and the clearest beacon that he is not ready for this experience.

Review date: 22 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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