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.
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.
Mandy Jones - 22/08/2002
Andrew Clover not only has the ability to make his audience do what he whatever he wants - no matter how bizarre - but makes them feel like it's their idea. He's sharp, gorgeous and unmissable!