Terry Alderton: All Crazy Now | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Jay Richardson
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Terry Alderton: All Crazy Now

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Jay Richardson

'I write this show. But I don't make up the rules' Terry Alderton suggests after one particularly inexplicable episode in his logic-defying hour. Sustaining his experimental evolution, All Crazy Now has the schizophrenic-projecting comic giving even freer expression to the numerous voices and disparate ideas in his head. All the while, his bafflement at what's he's channelling seems genuine.

Seasoned comedy-goers will recognise several ingredients in the mix: The urban 'yoot' voice appealing to his sound man to give him some beats; the breaking of the 'fifth wall' as he pauses delivery to confide in an audience member while excluding everyone else; and the signature meta-commentary of his back-turning, diabolic alter-ego, albeit with the device used more sparingly than in previous years. No matter, these are just a few familiar notes in a cacophonous performance that's seldom less than surprising.

Alluding to the fact that as a mascara-sporting skinhead, he can flit between seeming both highly camp and aggressively intimidating, Alderton also bestrides the gap between lairy club comedy and chin-stroking Radio 4 humour, sending up and subverting both in the process.

After a deliberate initial mislead, he takes the stage with his regular collaborator Johnny Spurling as The Two Johns, a sort of Flanders & Swann meets Bon Jovi tribute act with a gauche dash of tartan for their Edinburgh hosts. 

Although Alderton is the more mincing, sardonically thin-lipped of the pair, both are luvviesh and prone to eruptions of anger, not least to the audience member who doesn't intuit the correct answer to enquiries designed to mislead. 

Introducing the first of many nonsensical ditties that have the self-satisfied, lyrical structure – if not content  – of chortling wit, the Johns over-estimation of their musical abilities is contradicted by Spurling's latent vocal talents.

Re-emerging as himself, whoever that might be, Alderton often surrenders to the music inside himself too, blurting out little songs, a catchy, music-hall tune about pointless things becoming an amusing running refrain. In between there's mime, impressions and some daft bits of business emanating from the backstage area, with each set-piece a non-sequitur to what went before. His closing, one-man dialogue presents an upside-down perspective on character comedy while being a new twist on the competing personas within Alderton.

The fluidity of his performance is as impressive as ever. But it indulges a fair few routines that are still coming together or simply don't work. And very funny as his admissions of failure and recourse to his not-so-well-hidden notes are, he can only lean so heavily on this being a preview, his suggestion that everything will be fixed in a couple of days patently unconvincing. 

Even so, it will be intriguing to see if this singular show finds its feet by the end of the Edinburgh run.

- by Jay Richardson

Review date: 4 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson

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