Edd Hedges: Wonderland | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Edd Hedges: Wonderland

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Edd Hedges has been biding his time. It’s taken him four years between winning So You Think You’re Funny? and making his solo Edinburgh debut. Compare that with the winner the year before him, Aisling Bea, who’s already a familiar telly face.

In that time he’s been working on his storytelling skills, for Wonderland is one long tale about a major drama that happened when he visited his parents in their Home Counties village last year. 

After setting up quite a bit of tension and intrigue surrounding that event, Hedges backtracks for context – context which turns out to revolve around that favourite Fringe theme of masculinity and father-son relationships.

For Hedges was, no surprise for a narrative festival comedian, a quiet beta-male who was be bullied at school and preferred books to sport. In contrast, dad is a tough silverback of a geezer, good with his hands, bad with feelings; the sort of fella who'd never admit pain, neither physical nor emotional, and whose short temper made him a brutal father to delicate Edd.

Hedges sketches the situation in fine detail, building up a picture that’s pregnant with anticipation to where it’s heading – especially when the family go on a trip to a visiting fair, and little Edd only wants to play the coconut shy: a story whose perfect tension is released in a fine comic payoff.

Hedges has clear aspirations to be a Daniel Kitson brand of storytelling comedian, and while he hasn’t got yet enough jokes to satisfy the second part of that description, he does have a gift of language to effectively convey a dark whimsy.

The yarn is not perfectly spun. He rushes some sections, fumbles some of his wry asides and jumbles some key points - but the core story is certainly powerful enough to overcome this.

The foreboding tale only stumbles at the end – where it matters most – as there’s a big ‘that wouldn’t happen’ hole which casts aspersions on the credibility of an account he insists is 100 per cent accurate.

But you’re also so invested in the story, you’ll want to turn to the internet to see if it’s as true as he says. (But Google won’t help you here; if it is true he’s obscured the key facts)

Nor does Hedges have the neat tie-up he hopes for in the tale, but that's OK as life rarely delivers its messages in handy packages. He does, however, have a great story, that's a few polishes away from being a brilliant one.

Review date: 4 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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