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Urgent and Confidential: Dean Cameron\'s Nigerian S
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Urgent and Confidential: Dean Cameron's Nigerian S
Please help me! I am beneficiary to a fortune of 30 million dollars!!!"
You've seen something like that in at least one e-mail a week. You've deleted it immediately or you've read it and wondered what was going on
It's the type of time-sapping spam every inbox endures: the plea from the relatives of some recently dead Nigerian bigwig, wanting to smuggle millions out of the country with your help, and promising you a sizeable commission in return
No one would ever reply to such an obvious con, with the very real risk of having a bank account drained, would they? Well actor and comic Dean Cameron did. But only to take the piss.
Adopted the guise of a camp, lonely old millionaire living in Florida with a Filipino houseboy his two cats, Mr Snickers and Joe Joe The Dancing Clown, Cameron stretched out the communication over 11 months, always dangling the promise of money, but parting with no more than $4 to an increasingly frustrated scammer.
The result was a diverting website (www.spamscamscam.com) now made into this hour-long show. And for something comprising little more than the verbatim exchange of emails, the live version is surprisingly entertaining, too.
It's Cameron's alter-ego that takes the credit, gradually becoming more stupidly unpredictable as the correspondence continues, increasingly revealing bizarre little details of his life, from his spastic colon to the chintzy décor he favours. The breathless missives impishly tease with deliberately silly misspellings and creative stabs at the Nigerians' names indeed, he seems to think they are Mexican most the time.
He leads the crooks a merry little dance, professing his love for the widow, getting a pal to call from the agreed meeting place in Amsterdam and a brilliant wheeze this playing them off against another conman who spammed him. Their unsubtle response is hilarious.
The Nigerians act as the perfect straight men to Cameron, sleazy international crime gangs not being known for their sense of humour. Occasionally the correspondence comes out of hyperspace, and the mix of bewilderment and frustration in the phone calls as they try to extract their money from a man more obsessed with his feline companions is a delight. That this whole prank serves as a comeuppance of sorts is a bonus.
Cameron's a slick performer, as is his supporting actor Victor Isaac, but even they cannot overcome the show's only real problem: that even at a little over 50 minutes, it feels too long. The practical joke may be excellent, but it is just the one joke, not quite enough to sustain the duration, despite the best efforts to jazz it up.
Nonetheless, it's an engaging, witty tale, offering something a little different from the norm.
If you receive emails on a regular basis you are going to relate with this so much that you can't help but fall out of your seat laughing. this was probably the funniest thing I have seen in a very long time.
I give it five stars. this is a refreshing change from all of the boring stand-up Bush-bashing and self hating comedians at the Fringe.
Very very funny and the website is seriously distracting me from my day job.