Andrew McClelland's Somewhat Accurate History of P
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
With one hand on his book of comedy and the other chopped off and replaced with a hook, Professor Andrew shows that when it comes to pirates truth is funnier than fiction.
Andrew McClelland got a roar of enthusiasm from the full house audience just for his entrance: an extraordinary, lively, confident stride across the stage to his podium.
This show, supposedly a lecture to university students during Freshers' Week, b is a tour de force of comic writing and performance which starts amiable and ends riotous.
With constantly changing, relevant PowerPoint images and animations projected behind him, Australian McClelland brilliantly creates and maintains a fully-rounded, classic, 'mad' TV presenter in the mould of Patrick Moore or David Bellamy.
An enormous amount of research, thought and detailed creative work has clearly gone into this show. All of it successfully.
Well-paced, very physical and visually exciting (so unlike most stand-up shows) both the script and the performance are works of near-creative genius. It is 1066 And All That mixed with a hint of Python.
McClelland is a brilliant comic actor with mastery of his historical subject and control both of the stage and his audience. His characterisation extends to body movements, mood swings and wild yet believable eccentricities; he even smoothly succeeds in the risky business of bringing punters up on stage and integrating them into this character act. His skill extends from acting to scripting to minor ad-libbing and improvisation.
His show is a perfectly realised comic masterpiece: intelligent, funny and fast paced, delivered in a wide range of perfect English accents and tailored for a Scottish audience. If he can duplicate this with other subjects, he has almost limitless TV, radio and literary possibilities.