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Chris Ramsey: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Nione Meakin

Chris Ramsey might have been manufactured by a TV producer, so emphatically does he ticks all the boxes. He’s young, nice-looking, inoffensive, energetic and super-keen.

Bounding onto the stage, the 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee is confident from the off, ad-libbing impressively with the audience, making self-deprecating jokes about his hair.

After two years playing the Fringe in Portakabins, he’s excited to have finally come indoors; he never thought he’d make it this far – he’s just a lad chasing a dream. It’s starting to feel like an X-Factor audition.

But this is Ramsey’s jumping-off point for the show’s theme; luck. He’s lucky to be in comedy, we’re all lucky to be living in the relative comfort of the Western world, we’re lucky to be alive at all when you look at the odds.

However, the homely anecdotes that illustrate his assertions don't quite stand up to the grand theme though He talks sweetly about how lucky he is to have the parents he has; his dad’s a ‘legend’ who takes props to the pub for his practical jokes, his mum once left him alone in a pram with a breadknife in grabbing distance…but everything turned out fine.

He details a few (fairly standard) childhood accidents and jokes about his dad’s disappointment in finding the son he wanted to be a footballer straightening his hair in front of the living room mirror.

Ramsey’s delivery is a lot better than his material; he has an ability to work up a story that’s reminiscent of Russell Howard or Ross Noble – all description and atmosphere and pace. So it’s disappointing when he finally reaches his crescendo and the pay-off proves so weak; you feel you’ve ordered a steak and been served a chicken nugget. It isn’t helped by the audience members who decide to take toilet breaks just as he's reaching the reveal; Ramsay turns his obvious irritation into a joke, other comics might not have been so generous.

It’s a pleasant enough hour but rarely strays into anything more than that, despite Ramsey’s insistence on manufacturing a feel-good atmosphere. He’s an appealing presence who creates an easy rapport with the audience – it’s not hard to see why he's a regular on all the TV panel shows - but he’ll need the material to match that style if he’s to become a genuinely exciting stand-up.

Review date: 14 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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