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Mark Felgate: Freelance Fool

Mark Felgate: Freelance Fool

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003

This year's Edinburgh Festival sees Mark return with his first solo full-length show. Follow the journey of a man attempting to join the coll and hip in society, ultimately realising that he is best being an idiot.

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Starring Mark Felgate

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Original Review:

As the title suggests, Mark Felgate is a man not afraid to look like a dick in the name of comedy.

As such, he'll proudly take us through his history of embarrassing haircuts - not just mildly unfashionable ones, but fully-fledged disasters - don some ridiculous prop glasses and delight in exposing his childhood inadequacies.

Showing off for a laugh is clearly a genetic trait, as he even roped in his parents to cross-dress and his grandfather to record a spoof advert, all in the name of a cheap laugh.

Yes, it's quite gimmicky, but above all Freelance Fool is a personality show. Felgate gets through it on the strength of his own character, rather than any clever insights or well-crafted gags.

He needed to employ that charm more than ever on this night, as the audience numbered just half a dozen, a box office mix-up sending almost 30 ticket-holders astray. But it didn't seem to matter; if Felgate was disappointed he never showed it, and his naturally chirpy demeanour meant the audience never felt intimidated or exposed.

The show tells the story of Felgate's life as an outsider and a bit of a loner, though the biographical facts may well have been sexed up for the purposes of comedy. At school, for instance, he probably wasn't the four-eyed transsexual with the voice of Barry White he claims.

Felgate's a gifted ventriloquist, too - another one of those gimmicks - and he uses it to good effect. A lot of comics use funny voices to illustrate their anecdotes, but when you're a trained vent, you can knock their amateur attempts into a cocked hat and employ all sorts of oral trickery, including holding conversations with unseen characters.

As a whole, the show's charmingly done, and while there may be few belly laughs, it does leave you with nice, upbeat feeling.

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