Count Arthur Strong's Forgotten Egypt
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
The remarkable Count Arthur delivers an instructional talk on the mysteries of Ancient Egypt - with spectacular slide show! The Sphinx! Sir Elgin Marbles
This character piece is a fine showcase for Steve Delaney's talents, as his famed Egyptologist declines from a slightly eccentric old-timer into a full-scale alcohol-fuelled breakdown over the course of the hour's show.
The last ten minutes are quite splendid, as Count Arthur rails against the world that is collapsing around him - combining the manic aggression of Basil Fawlty with the hopeless despair of Johnny Vegas.
It's a wonderful performance, as the subtle tics become increasingly violent and he curses his unseen understudy, attacks the props and berates life in general.
But the show does seem quite drawn-out, with the character not quite complex enough to fill the timeslot.
Before his ultimate collapse, Strong's humour comes from his absent-mindedness, his maladroit metaphors and his Tourette's-like outbursts at various imagined demons.
This can be very funny, and it is brilliantly executed, but the comedy is simply too limited to be sustained for the entire duration.
It's a shame, as Count Arthur has the potential to be a great comic creation - just in smaller doses.
Lorraine Allison - 23/05/2003
Superb. I want to have his children.
Quin Hughes - 14/05/2003
Saw Count Arthur at Edinburgh and he was bloody excellent - a tour de force! Will definitely be booking in for his forthcoming biblical odyssey.
Cathie James - 21/02/2003
The comedy of his 'lecture' has a slow burn, cumulative effect and, though chortlesome at the time, I found myself tittering long after the show. Exquisite.
Karl Havard - 11/02/2003
Saw the Count again, this time at the Leicester Comedy Festival. Comic genius is an understatement. This character has massive potential. He sould tour the UK. The quiet moments whilst the Count regains his train of thought are a masterpiece.
Karl - 20/01/2003
I have never laughed so much in years. Definitely an acquired taste.
T Stom - 10/01/2003
Bloody marvellous. I was in pain from laughing too much.
Count Arthur Strong - 02/09/2002
I like the sound of Wendy Allison.
Wendy Allison - 28/08/2002
Smaller doses of 30 seconds would be bearable.
Microsoftie - 22/08/2002
I'd travel across continents of piping hot deserts to see this man perform (shame I couldn't make to Edinburgh however!).
Craig Bird - 11/03/2002
Have just returned from the Leicester Comedy Festival Preview show - and my first encounter with the count. This is an act you either click with or you don't. Personally I thought he was fantastic, I had tears of laughter running down my face as the Count played both parts in his Dracula movie. The character is acutely observed and probably suffered from playing in such a big venue (as did a couple of the other acts) but there is no doubting this comic character is having the potential to become a classic, given the right opportunities. Fantastic.
Sandra - 30/11/-0001
The worst show I saw at the Fringe this year - and I saw quite a few. A fine idea for a character but the script was bloody dire.