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Maff Brown: Looking After Lesal

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Jay Richardson

With Des Bishop and Russell Kane earning plaudits for their emotional renderings of their relationship with their fathers elsewhere on the Fringe, Maff Brown’s more light-hearted account of reconnecting with his dad Leslie (his family all go by variations on their actual names) in the wake of his mother’s death still has its moments.

Not that you’d immediately intuit this was his aim, as the seasoned compere flits from subject to subject, his father one of many topics he alights on, alongside anecdotes from his time in professional football and warming up for ITV’s Loose Women, the pattern of his old man’s approval or otherwise emerging over time. Featuring the delightful, self-penned Eulogy of his mother performed by an actress and dialogue between himself and an angry South African dwarf conducted at his Outside the Box comedy club, Brown’s solo debut finds him on assured form, totally at ease.

The downside to this is that he coasts a little. Mention of famous acquaintances such as Keith Chegwin and Gary Lineker lends his stories an air of authenticity, but he undermines this with elements that are simply too perfect or too pat, alongside a few too many deliberate malapropisms, cheap tricks detracting from the poignancy he would have you take from his performance.

Moving en masse to his brother’s place in Australia after the funeral, his family has to realign itself, his father developing the maverick notion to shack up with a 23-year-old Ukrainian girl in Korea. There’s appeal in the fond mockery that now develops within the Browns, but if you’re looking for more profound familial insight you’re advised to look elsewhere.

Review date: 30 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson

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