Laurence Clark: Jim Fixed It For Me
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
In 1990, teenager Laurence Clark reluctantly appeared on Jim'll Fix It. Over a decade and a half later, with the spectre of Mr Saville still haunting his dreams, Laurence has decided it's time to look back at his past, recounting stories about telling his host to get lost on TV and his experiences on the show, alongside recalling being taken to Lourdes, through to the more modern-day challenges of using urinals when in a wheelchair and the biggest challenge for any man - becoming a father.
Directed by Alfie Joey
The Guildford Four, The Birmingham Six Now it's time for long-overdue justice for the Jim'll Fix It One.
After 16 years, Laurence Clark is still smarting. In the Eighties, he and his classmates got a Fix-It sorted by the 'patronising old git' himself, but in a cruel twist of fate were denied their precious badges. Now this is his chance to unburden himself of all that pent-up frustration.
The power of his misdirected rage, and the ridiculousness of the show make for strong comedy fodder. The other lifelong dreams made real on the episode Clark appeared on included a child who wanted to make cheese and another who wanted to be a cinema manager. It's easy to mock these cut-price aspirations, so we do. And it's very funny.
This show is, presumably, Clark's attempt to move away from being defined entirely by his wheelchair. He has cerebral palsy, which he addressed is his previous, politically-driven show Jim Davidson's Guide To Equality, and he attracted the sort of press money can't buy earlier this year after Cherie Blair joked that he must be a 'sit-down' comedian.
It's interesting, though, that some of the material about disability is his weakest. Comments on Lourdes pilgramages, for instance, are fairy predictable, especially a tired and contrived comparison to Blackpool. On the other hand, when he does inject something of a political viewpoint or just plain silliness into his routines, they are among his strongest. His mockery of the personal ads in Disability Now, a subject that's surely too un-PC for a non-disabled comic to tackle, is wonderful based solely on the ridiculousness of the source material.
Clark is a big fan of the pun, some of which are groaning great for their sheer audacity, some of which die a terrible death. But they are not as ill-judged as a couple of filmed sketches, featuring Janice Connolly and Alfie Joey, which are stilted, unfunny and unnecessary, interrupting the flow of the show.
Clark, who has an engaging, likeable, style, is best when he's just chatting, maybe with illustrations in the background. His bit on his son, for instance, is touching and funny making the audience go from an adoring 'aaaah' to a painful 'ooh' in a beat. He also talks about a disability more debilitating than his CP his addiction to Dr Who in a winningly self-deprecating theme that runs through the show.
The hour may be patchy, but Clark brings it all together nicely in a heartwarming message about wish fulfilment and miracles all being codswallop but mainly in a silly stunt that leaves everyone with a smile on their face.