Carey Marx: White Night
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
White is the colour of wedding dresses, white flags and other white things. It is considered to represent peace and innocence. "Bullshit" says Carey. White consists of all colours. Sure it sometimes peaceful, but it is also frequently angry, and even spasmodically grumpy. If you think you know white, you are in for a big blue shock.
As concepts go, this is something of an odd one. Carey Marx has decided to colour-code his show, so observational material is flagged up blue, silly gags with pink, and nastiness with yellow.
It is, he explains after an elaborate audio-visual set-up going through the spectrum, an attempt to ensure he's not misinterpreted by audiences or critics. He felt he was unfairly judged on his previous shows, about hating albinos and trying to find a bride, and this system will make it easy to understand his motivation. It's odd, of course, that any comic should be so sensitive about being judged, after all that's pretty much what they do for a living themselves, but we'll let that lie.
This bizarre presentation is merely decorative garnish on a straightforward stand-up set, the upshot of which is that his gags, anecdotes and observations are all told amid moody visuals. So Marx's face appears licked by the flames of the projection behind him during a 'red' routine, then later his first attempt at a comedy song is illustrated by the hypnotic rustling of green stems. It's very atmospheric.
As promised by his rainbow system, the hour is, in turns, stupid, cruel, entertaining, confessional and vulgar. Tonight, with a smaller-than-he-deserves midweek audience, he's very laid back, playing loose with the material and being especially conversational.
The best moments are honest anecdotes. Anything that starts 'I upset a midget once' is always going to go well, and an exaggerated tale about the first time he took Viagra, are memorable. His life is that of a road comic, so stories of hotel rooms, sex and drugs abound.
But we also get harsh one-liners, where you laugh because they're so well-written, while hating the sentiment behind them, a bit of magic trickery, and couple of delightfully daft little films in which he first persuades the residents of a rest home to take up robotic dancing, and the second when he sees how many Londoners he can get to jump through a hoop for no reason whatsoever.
For all the high concept set-up, this is little more than
a decent hour of uncomplicated stand-up with a few jolly diversions
thrown in to keep the pace lively. And sometimes that's exactly
what you want.