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Obie: Using The Force

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Marissa Burgess

Fair play to Glaswegian comic Obie for managing to work one of the most awkward rooms in the fringe. Often venues have the inconvenient pillar obscuring the view for a few seats but The Lizard Lounge in Espionage is a small room with four booths, meaning that you either have to sit in two semi circles very near to the act or not be able to see anything at all.

Obie however is undeterred and works the room admirably, bobbing back and forth out of the corner where his mic is set up to address each of us directly. He’s a supremely personable chap who manages to put you at your ease despite the intimate venue and awkward seating arrangements.

This is the Free Festival and like many of the performances there it’s a one man band, so Obie does his own on stage announcement, ‘we’ll be starting in five minutes, two minutes, 17 seconds…’ then gets us to vocalise the A Team theme tune for him as he can’t use the CD player, while he nips to the back of the room for his grand entrance.

It’s all endearing stuff, which is what carries him through the gig. He’s been performing stand-up for 11 years but you get the impression he’s not looking for a career here. Instead he does it because it makes him happy and you can’t knock that.

He’s clearly in his element. The material is pretty much the same as last year’s show, he’s just doing what he does and the Free Festival has given him that opportunity.

Much of the material isn’t fantastically funny and at points he cuts close to the bone such as his disparaging descriptions of a fat bird he pulled. But he’s so self-deprecating regarding his own attributes that he (just about) gets away with it. Plus there are a few uncomfortable moments as his description of his boss getting off on giving him a disciplinary, given how close he is to his audience.

However there are sparks of brilliance namely when he strays off into the surreal, his impersonations of trees at the end are sublimely daft.

Review date: 27 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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