Andrew O'Neill: Mindspiders | Review by Steve Bennett
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Andrew O'Neill: Mindspiders

Review by Steve Bennett

Mindspiders, Andrew O’Neill tells us, are the random thoughts that get stuck in your head – the non-musical version of earworms.

In this entertainingly vagabond show, the daft transvestite metalhead gives an outlet for such notions, with no apparent concern for composition or segues – it’s just one silly thought after another. Even callbacks, which many a comic uses to give the illusion of structure, are here deployed deliberately out of context, providing a jolt to proceedings that’s funny for being so unexpected. It’s a technique Harry Hill probably uses best, but O’Neill comes a close second.

He keeps reinforcing the free-form notion of the hour, playing up the disjointedness. ‘I’m just dicking about. Let it wash over you like jazz,’ he tells us. It would be a particularly discordant type of jazz as non-sequiturs, mini-jingles, puns and song snippets all jostle for position alongside more identifiable jokes. Sometimes he’ll go for a longer routine, such as describing how dozens of Robert Smiths from The Cure infested his home; while other sketches, like the row with Sigourney Weaver over payment methods, are chopped up and scatted recklessly about the place.

Despite these odd premises, O’Neill is not wilfully surreal for its own sake, just silly, while the peripatetic nature of the hour brings an unpredictable fizz that keeps the energy up. He flits about the stage, and sometimes the audience, to match the fragmented nature of the material.

He drives the show relentlessly forward at a cracking pace, from the twisted version of If You’re Happy And You Know It that opens the show to a call-and-response theme tune at the end. Although occasionally he steps into a ‘voiceover booth’ at the back of the stage to deliver another unrelated one-liner.

There’s so much going on here that it can’t all be good, but the pace is such that even counting the duds, his laughs per minute would be up there with comedy’s most efficient writers. And he has plenty of pin-sharp gags, too. Don’t think too hard about what he’s doing, but sit back and go with the brilliantly inventive flow.

Review date: 25 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Whistlebinkies

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