Three Men And A Giant
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Despite being tucked away in a small side-street venue, Three Men and a Giant proved one of the most compelling new comic shows on the Fringe, showcasing four different yet complementary styles of stand-up.
Greg Davies, the eponymous giant, made a friendly and innovative compere. He addressed his 6ft 8in height for a minute before playing a funny, unsavoury 'Would You Rather?' game.
"Ill-fitting wig or hooves for the rest of your life?" he asked the crowd, most of whom cheered for the latter. Two latecomers then arrived. "Wig or hooves?" he enquired, revelling in their looks of bemusement before introducing the first act.
Rhod Gilbert displayed an easy and thoroughly surreal wit, reminiscing about the fictional escapades of his Welsh childhood. Tales of playing Buckaroo with a ferret and football with his grandmother's pancreas were related with well-judged timing, every nuance and deadpan pause raising a laugh. Gilbert also staged a successful audience participation section, making previously-written lines feel spontaneous.
A self-assured 'Catholic in a Jew's body', Steve Hall tackled the most contentious subjects of the evening with aplomb. Religion, racism and bulimia were all explored, then intelligently dismissed, while Hall's 'stretchy faces' and sweetly venomous banter with Davies contrasted well with his dry, subtle
gags. Unafraid to make fun of all aspects of his life from parents to racial heritage, Hall's honesty was occasionally uncomfortable but always entertaining.
Ed Petrie had the most endearing, likeable persona of the four. He also seemed the least confident unnecessarily so, as his material was strong and audience-friendly. Topics such as the falseness of Friends Reunited segued seamlessly into Saddam Hussein's whereabouts, while Petrie's public school education and self-confessed immaturity (aided by sketches and a can of Special Brew) provided a fun, feelgood end to the evening.