Steve Furst: Behind The Net Curtains
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Brand new character show by Little Britain and Late Edition regular Steve Furst. From a 'nice' terrorist under house arrest to the husband of an enormously fat wife who hasn't been downstairs in years. Wickedly funny and, at times, very dark
if you have been to the cinema over the past two years, you will surely recognise Steve Furst from the Orange adverts that precede every film. But as a character comedian, he is skilled at conceiving and creating figures who – at least on the evidence of this show - are more interesting than they are immediately funny.
His structuring concept is a nice one. Introduced by troubled stuntman Dave Pike – randomly providing the audience with dubious stunt tips on video while Furst changes character – come five figures from the same suburban neighbourhood, the ‘cesspit of mediocrity’ as Pike describes it.
Although these streets of misfits mean comparisons to The League of Gentlemen are inevitable, Furst’s characters are less outwardly weird and more socially observed. There is occasionally a slight touch of the bizarre, for example in the upper class gothic character who, it is revealed, has previously been in prison.
This character also demonstrates the different layers contained within each creation. Furst often broaches your initial expectations by twisting each character in an unexpected direction. Just when it looks like he is lazily representing a chav, as so many have done before, he writes in a completely new aspect, making him both original and memorable.
There are many, many places for Furst to take his characters in a more extensive medium, and so this hour is more a showcase of potential rather than allowing any of the figures to develop or interact.
Almost none of Furst’s creations are initially hilarious. Instead, the audience are treated to introductory monologues, rather than deliberately inserted jokes. This type of comedy is, by design, quite subtle and so may not suit the Edinburgh one-hour format, but the possibilities are clearly visible.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Furst’s characters on TV, which would be a far more suitable medium on which to appreciate subtleties in Furst’s comic writing than the live stage.