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Alex Horne: Seven Years In The Bathroom

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Another strong idea from one of comedy’s most dedicated geeks is meticulously put-together, quirky, warm and witty – even if the single driving conceit of the show eventually restricts what can be done with it.

Alex Horne has chosen to compress an entire human life into one hour, calculating how many months or years we might spend doing core activities such as housework, eating or having sex, and dedicating the appropriate number of minutes to that task.

With members of the audience roped in to help, always with charming good nature, he cracks through his list. There’s a lot to get through, and often a lot going on at once. At one point, Horne is talking us through a few years of life as a Rustlers burger is being microwaved, a punter is painting a portrait, statistics fly by on the screen (Horne is very good with graphics), and another volunteer is opening an onion with a screwdriver.

I forgot to take a note of exactly why that last bizarre activity was taking place, but Horne has come up with some distinctively offbeat ways of illustrating some of the ways years slip away from us. Few of the activities are particularly exciting – anything we do that might be thrilling takes up an insignificantly tiny part of our lives, as a sizeable list proves – but he’s come up with fun ways to illustrate the time we spend naked, on the phone, or checking out a potential spouse, among others.

This is a meticulously timed show, everything driven by that clock counting us down to death’s release at the age of 79. But there is one activity that slows the hour down… we spend a third of our life sleeping, and Horne has to address that.

He gets another willing volunteer to do the actual sleeping – it would be a very dull show if he did it himself – but at this point his inventive ideas run low, and it seems like he’s padding in contrast to the density of the rest of the show. As he sets up a few activities such as dreaming, he tells us a shaggy-dog yarn about his Uncle Joe, that has its purpose but is necessarily long-winded.

This aside, the cleverly constructed show is hugely entertaining and boasts plenty of silly moments. It’s not always hilarious, a fact Horne is happy to acknowledge, but it is a jolly, high-concept experience.

Review date: 19 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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