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Andrew Clover's Birthday Party

Andrew Clover's Birthday Party

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002

Perrier newcomer nominee Andrew invites you to his 6th birthday party for jelly, games, presents and wild laughter.

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Original Review:

Every performer wants the audience to love them. Few go that extra mile to hand around jelly chews to the waiting queue.

But now might be a good time to remember your mother's warning about strange men and sweeties. Otherwise you might find yourself trapped in Andrew Clover's new show.

This year, the larger-than-life Clover is using his boundless exuberance to stage a birthday party. Clearly, the idea is for some unadulterated, innocent childhood fun - complete with hats, poppers and games.

But the events are sometimes uncomfortably sexualised. Though we are all supposed to be nine-year-olds, there's talk of a girl with prematurely developed breasts, and one man is coaxed into wearing a giant rubber penis.

And vulcanised genitals are pretty much the most sophisticated piece of humour on display here.

For though Clover is brilliantly effective at whipping the up-for-it crowd though into a frenzy of no-brainer fun, there's absolutely nothing of substance in this show.

Watching it felt like being in the studio audience for Night Fever. Sober.

It's obviously great entertainment for boozed-up morons - but then so are traffic cones and shopping trolleys. And Clover's limitless energy would surely make him a great Club 18-30 rep. But as a comedian his subtlety rates alongside Timmy Mallet.

The show climaxes with shaving foam and water-pistol fights, hapless audience members bashing each other with giant inflatable hammers in an orgy of mess and stupidity, a level of comedy on a par with Noel Edmonds's gunge tank.

If I can mix my Saturday morning kids' TV hosts, there's clearly an attempt here to recreate the anarchy of Tiswas - but for me (and, admittedly, I was in a small minority), this was little more than lowest-common-denominator pap.

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