Chris Addison: The Ape That Got Lucky
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
Critically acclaimed la-de-da smartypants Chris Addison is back with his new show The Ape That Got Lucky. He's spent two years explaining away the foibles of the English nation to sell-out audiences around the world in the hit shows Cakes And Ale and Port Out, Starboard Home. This year the subject is Mankind itself.
Addison packs a hell of a lot into his show. A relentless stream of jokes, rants, throwaway asides and well-researched facts bombard the audience, with sentences and ideas bundling over themselves in a frenzied scramble to get from comedian to audience.
He may admit to looking like a weedy ponce, but Addison's performance packs more than enough punch - breezily launching into an effective array of characters from Neanderthal cavemen to the quintessentially tea-and-biscuits English chap to give extra power to the material.
Delivered like a science lecture on fast-forward, Addison crams several millennia of homo sapiens evolution into 60 minutes. It's a format that allows him to talk about a vast array of keen observations on almost any aspect of human behaviour, topped and tailed with a reference to our species' prehistoric past to give a strong narrative core.
There are some really lovely gags and ideas in here, and they are never milked dry. Well, perhaps his Daily Mail-hating rant is, but it is funny and shows that even polite liberal comedians can sometimes muster a fire-in-the-belly spirit.
Instead, the main risk is that of gags being lost under the torrent of top-rate material - a very nice position to be in. In fact, the delivery style also enables him too liberally drop in references understood by only a minority of the audience, letting several smaller laughs combine with each other like an elaborate chord.
Assured, confident and likeable, his stage manner only enhances the strong material, making for a rich feast of comedy. Definitely recommended viewing.