Carey Marx: The Afterwife | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Carey Marx: The Afterwife

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Carey Marx had a fight on his hands in this gig, with huge pockets of the audience chatty, disengaged, drunk – or most likely all three – as he tried to pour his heart out about how he reacted to the collapse of his 11-year marriage.

The break-up triggered a midlife crisis and an obsession to learn to play guitar well enough to be able to perform Let It Go from Frozen, his warped logic thinking this would make everything right somehow, the instrument becoming his safety blanket.

His issues in the room for the first half of the show were surely exacerbated by his ropey, listless string-strumming, replicating his cack-handed early efforts with the instrument. With so many great musicians on the Fringe, it’s a bit painful to hear an enthusiastic but untalented newcomer give it a bash. 

Meanwhile, the introspective navel-gazing casts something of a depressing pall over the comedy, which wrapped his strife into a separate tale about seeing a woman with a monobrow and stumbling into a lamp-post not once, but twice – a story that aims to put some levity alongside his misery. His first personal low came when he found himself fighting a seagull, though that inherently hilarious image helped turn the show around.

Things picked up big time around the midway point, mainly because the troublesome elements left, but also because Marx seemed to find more purpose in his story, his guitar-playing improved, and the impishly provocative glint returned to his eyes. 

He’s an excellent joke-writer, mixing silly puns with more transgressive ideas and evoking a ‘dirty cherub’ look when he knows he’s being naughty (and there really is no other word for it than ‘naughty’). His story kept spiralling down, taking him to Australia to escape his woes, but he found the funny in it, his playful spirit returning as he regaled us with darkly enjoyable songs which he now performs properly.

This isn’t Marx’s best show, distractions or no, but he’s incapable of putting out a bad one. His sharp gags and mischievous sense of silly break through what would otherwise be depressing anecdotes, showing he’s more than willing to mine his own misery for laughs.

Review date: 16 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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