Robin Ince Knew This Would Happen
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Robin Ince has been reading too many books about things and watching too many old documentaries with tweedy gentlemen pointing at pyramids and holding up ancient skulls. This means heís got big ideas, now he just has to work out what they are.
Robin Ince Knew This Would Happen is about how evolutionary advantages become disadvantages Ė the creature with sugar lust has enough energy to outrun that big scary bear but a few million years down the line thatís also why it now has to be cut out of its bed by fireman when it needs to go to the toilet.
Itís also about trying to be an individual in a world that wants you to be in a gang and just how long it takes us to work out who we are.
Looking at Robin Ince I canít decide if heís a young Old Bloke, or an Old Boy. Heís got all the energy of youth, he positively crackles with it, but his pedantic, pernickety fussing about proper usage, is pure grumpy old man.
From the cod portentous voice-off introducing the show, ĎIn the beginning was the word Öí, to references to Tycho Brahe, Darwin, genetics and theology, you know youíre in the presence of a formidable intelligence. But the belly laughs come from his pinpoint accuracy with wordplay, why Ďtrendyí is a mum word, why being wriggly isnít manly, but can save your lifeÖ
He has the knack of selling an idea to you as funny, his enthusiasm and brio kept me and the audience with him throughout. Itís a well structured show, with variety in the pacing, so youíre not hypnotised by speed and rhythm, and you have time to catch your breath.
The snippets of personal information Ė his attending six funerals in a year, his wifeís pregnancy, his clerical forebears - help make him seem more humane . You might otherwise feel youíre in the presence of a fine comedy technician and an eloquent communicator.
But thereís not much warmth. Itís as though comedy is his second language. Heís expert in it, youíre impressed by his fluency but it feels as though heís acquired the skills by sheer hard work and application rather than possessing funny bones.
Itís a good show, I came out wishing I could retain even half of his ideas. Heís more clever than funny, but thatís not an insult when youíre as smart as he is.
Reviewed by: Julian Chambers