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Philberto's Animal - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

Roughly a third of the audience at this show appeared to be drunk – very wise. It seems to have been designed for the enjoyment of those whose senses have been dulled, as it is completely free of any complicated ideas, subtlety or humour that operates on more than one level.

Our host is a Portuguese fisherman's son who is here to tell the story of how he was transformed into an overnight sensation thanks t the the reality show Live On The Floor For A Month.

He loves being a celeb here in the UK, we are told but has had to learn how to blend in when in the capital – cue some rubbish rapping about the right side to stand on escalators on the Tube and abusing estate agents to curry favour with the locals.

  He babbles on about the TV show for a while and then throws in a sob story about how his father always preferred his brother Umberto, even when Philberto returned to Portugal a star. Umberto duly arrives on stage, a mop-topped, deaf, staring mute. Like I said, you don't need to concentrate too hard on what's going on: it's all painted in nice, bright, cartoonish colours.

Then there's some teenage humour about watching porn when stoned, a stupid song about Cockneys and an 'intense' spotlit poetry reading which turns out to be pretty crass in content. Really, who'd have thought?

Milo McCabe’s creation resembles an overindulged child, high on Smarties and showing off in front of his parents. Perhaps that's the idea (seems a rather too thoughtful characterisation, mind) but it's tedious stretched over an entire hour.

It's difficult to get away from the sense this is just bad stand-up masquerading as character comedy to avoid heckling. It is telling that the best part of the show came from an unexpectedly enthusiastic bit of audience participation.

If low-grade pantomime is your thing, this will hit the spot nicely. Otherwise, best get on the beers.

Review date: 26 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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