Ed Gamble: Lawman | Review by Steve Bennett

Ed Gamble: Lawman

Review by Steve Bennett

Ed Gamble’s enjoyable sophomore solo show is about how he’s a stickler for the rules, and he certainly adheres to the comedy rule of start strong, end strong.

But in the middle it coasts a little; with some contrivances to comply with a theme that was only ever an arbitrary device to link routines together, not a compelling idea needing to be shared. Still, even these have plenty of amusing quirks, for even though Gamble could probably coast on boyish charm alone, he puts some effort in.

The spark for the hour came from him moving in with his girlfriend, an Odd Couple relationship made real, with her messiness is anathema to his structured life. The situation has built up a head of pent-up frustration, which he releases in some lovely stand-up of petty annoyance and grumpy observation at the head of the show.

He plays the ‘straight-laced square’ well, spinning this out to be censorious of any minor misdemeanours, from the blatant drug-smoking of music stars to the flouting of public transport etiquette. His first-hand witnessing of these feeds his comic indignity, though when he exaggerates in a way that doesn’t ring true, it dulls the potency of the punchlines, even though we know the fact that this young duffer can’t really be getting this wound up over L’il Wayne’s lyrics is a big part of the joke, too.

Him challenging Bruce Wayne for his vigilante ways is a delight, but calling Batman to account for his traffic violations is a little more straightforward. Similarly imagining a gritty cop movie about a New York police officer who *always* plays by the rules feels a little too obvious as a premise. Although there are some nice touches about such flights of fantasy, don’t always transcend their formulae because they’re not unique to him.

However a nice running gag involves the consequences of a ‘happiness quota’ he’d like introduced to tip the balance back against those already blessed with wealth or good looks – and sometimes Gamble can surprise with an enduringly silly image to make a point. I can still picture Donald Trump as a peculiarly dressed dentist…

But at the end, when he’s back to his relationship, he starts to ponder whether he may be getting broody, and the gags step up a gear again. It’s always more fun finding out about Gamble and his many man-child idiosyncrasies than hear him ponder less specific material.

Oh, and get there early: It seems like the Canon’s Gate entry system has been designed with his love of rules in mind, requiring a ‘token’/playing card to be picked up anything up to an hour before the start of his heavily-oversubscribed show.

Review date: 19 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Canons' Gait

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