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Dan Nightingale: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

As the title says, this is Dan Nightingale taking us through 11.5 ideas for shows that didn’t quite come off.

Make that 12.5

For while Nightingale fears this might be a too industry-centric catalogue of in-jokes about the sort of ideas his comedy colleagues bring to Edinburgh,  the concept is very undeveloped. He has produced posters for all the options, but when it comes down to it, each putative show is pretty much the same: him talking gregariously about his life and worrying if he’s where he should be at 32.

Nightingale concedes at the start that he isn’t the first person to have come up with the ‘many-abandoned-shows-in-one’ concept. Much to his disappointment, he discovered only after he had submitted the idea to the Fringe programme that Lloyd Woolf – writer of the new Sky comedy Parents – used an identical conceit in 2008, though Woolf  properly presented mini-versions of each hypothetical genre show.

Instead, Nightingale admits defeat on all his hypothetical ideas: he’s too old and too bald to be a trendy ‘T-shirt and hair’ type of E4 comic; too apathetic to do a political show too unwilling to exploit his mum’s demise for one of the ever-popular ‘dead parent’ shows.

The one show he was going to do – until he realised all the pertinent points and funny instances would take just ten minute to recount – charted his brief career as a 20-year-old holiday camp entertainer; a miserable gig that he quit when he scored with an Essex girl, but nonetheless one that led him to jack in his degree course, and get a job at The Hyena comedy club in Newcastle, where he would go on to make his stage debut.

He’s now one of our best club comperes, quick-thinking and playful, but as many have found before him, excelling on the circuit and in Edinburgh are two entirely different prospects.

His hour bundles along amiably enough, thanks to his chatty good humour, keen self-deprecation and warm personality – but it isn’t actually much of a show. Even as an extended stand-up set, it’s way too loose, with no real stand-out routines or gags. So while it’s an unpretentiously enjoyable way to spend an hour, don’t expect this to make many people’s ‘best of the fest’ lists.

Review date: 5 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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