Steve Furst: Celebrity Squares
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
Steve Furst, the man who brought you Lenny Beige, presents 11 brand new characters in a show about the cult of celebrity, directed by Ben Miller.
In Celebrity Squares, Lenny Beige creator Steve Furst has produced a loose format in which to showcase a wide range of new characters.
It's a mixed bag, certainly, but the best of the bunch are truly splendid creations, with enough major personality defects to fill a psychiatric ward.
Henry St Claire, an aristocratic member of a Seventies glitter band fallen on hard times, and Lynn Worrall Thompson, a demented and deluded celebrity stalker, are the most brilliant. Strikingly original, and brilliantly realised, they both have huge potential barely scratched upon here.
Other highlights include a clueless Notting Hill trustafarian; an Egyptian cabbie who taunts Mohammed al Fayed with his British passport; and Waltzer operator Ernie Vaz, who shot to fame in a reality TV show.
It's a mix of live monologues and filmed insets, such as the joyous Kinks-like theme tune, giving Furst time to change between skits.
A couple of the characters are weaker, relying on stereotypes of, for example, modern artists and motivational gurus, rather than entirely fresh characters. And the rock-star magician Odin, though very funny, is a little to close to Spinal Tap for comfort.
Whatever the character, though, the script is dripping with pearls - beautifully evocative turns of phrase, rich in detail and strong in metaphor.
Almost all the new creations are stronger and more three-dimensional than the cheesy lounge singer with whom Furst is so strongly associated, and hopefully this entertaining show marks the start an exciting new chapter in his career.
Colin Ramone - 19/08/2002
A fringe comedy with integrity. Effectively a sketch show with only one person in it. About 20 character monologues in an hour. All acutely observed, supremely well performed and very funny. There's a genuine compassion in this show towards these poor characters, although some, like the rasta public school boy, are just done out of sheer contempt, quite right.