Dave Longley: A Clever Title
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
A show about change, how we can overcome the pressures that surround us. It's also about promiscuous rodents, fingering, racism, the media and fingering
The gig starts informally, Longley pops himself down in his seat on stage before all of the audience have come in and banters off mic to a few people he knows in the crowd.
Once he gets started properly, he’s frank with us. He hates the fringe and he’s abandoned his show. You begin to worry about him, he certainly looks a bit jaded. Is a breakdown in the offing? But he assures us he has got some stories to share and tells people to feel free to leave if they don’t like it – especially as it appears few have paid to get in.
Albeit honest, all this negativity threatens to suck the life from the room.
The tales he tells about his life are interesting and engaging, but they’re not hilariously funny. The first examines racism, telling how his classmates found the name Pooja funny – but they weren’t necessarily racist. He draws lines between bullying, teasing and racism, draws a comparison Jade Goody debacle and argues that the insidious use of politically correct language can actually disguise racist sentiment.
He then moves through thoughts on cultural differences, Indian call centres and the instinctive human response to a bomb or a bargain, before a final section that begins with a disturbing wet dream scenario, but ends up being about how we judge people.
There are some nice ideas here and Longley has promise, but at the moment it’s more like listening to an interesting friend who has a witty way with words than a full-on stand-up gig. Maybe this just isn’t the arena for Longley’s musings. Maybe there’s a book here instead.
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess