Rob Deering: 12 Inch
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Where do broken hearts go? Who's that girl? Who let the dogs out? Things that make you go hmm.
There is not really a lot one can say about the unfailingly effective Rob Deering that hasn’t been said before.
He is clearly one of Britain’s finest musical comedians but, at the same time, he never seems able to push himself into producing a truly great full-length show. The same applies to this year’s offering in which he superficially offers a guide through the decades of rock.
From the Guns ‘n’ Roses introduction to the V-shaped guitar to having his own name projected behind him in lights, it seems that all Deering has wanted to do in life is be a rock star. This is reinforced by the fact that the beginning is more like a concert rather than a comedy show.
His comedy songs are regularly of the highest order, exemplified by an early spoof of guitar-based boy bands with lyrics so well written that the subject is concealed until the very last moment.
This opening musical montage is a very promising start to the show, which unfortunately trails off into the distance as he embarks upon a slightly jumbled – and superfluous - structure. Each decade is an excuse for Deering to play a selection of comedy cover versions and gather some nostalgic laughter by discussing different elements of occasionally ridiculous popular culture.
You cannot help but wonder whether he would be better off dropping the obtrusive concept altogether and simply making a compendium of his best new material.
When he wants to get laughs, he can get them effortlessly by playing a comedy cover – at times, his extensive knowledge of music and quick wit suggests that he could easily improvise songs better than most musical comedians – but he just does not seem able to adapt this talent into a full-length show. It is enjoyable, but slight, stuff.