Hal Cruttenden : Climb Every Molehill
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
'A circuit god' (Time Out) and former Perrier nominee is back after three years away.
You’d be hard pushed to find a more likable performer on the Fringe this year. Hal Cruttenden is desperate not to be seen as the jolly, effeminate man that he can’t help but be. He would rather be a dark, political shaker like Mark Thomas; he just can’t be bothered to do the reading.
Cruttenden is irked by the small annoyances in life, some of which are universal and some of which are very specific to him. He delivers all his gripes and moans with confidence and joy, despite having some of the most disagreeable audience members in who continually hinder a sterling performance with ridiculously badly timed heckles and obtuse answers to Cruttenden’s questions. It is remarkable the man didn’t step off stage to slap them considering how easily enraged he claims he can be.
But it is clear he is not that kind of a fella. He admits he is not a manly man and bemoans the fact that even though he is married with two kids, his mother still insists that he is gay and even tried to set him up with his own best man. He is charming, warm and very funny with a gleeful take on the mundane and a sharp and barbed tongue disguised by a cheeky smile and unassuming friendliness.
There is some fantastically written material with keen observations on parenthood and marriage, but there are lulls and sections where you are left waiting to laugh. There are too many references to his campness which, although entertaining at first, becomes a touch repetitive. His audience banter is stilted but this may be due to the fact that the vocal members of the audience tonight were truly abhorrent and spread liberally throughout the room. Cruttenden managed to come up with some cutting and hilarious put -downs but it just seemed to take a little too long to find them.
This show has four-star potential but some of the slower sections of the need some pep, the obvious James Blunt gags need to go and Cruttenden must have more confidence in his finale for him to pull it off convincingly.
It is, however, a very entertaining show from an incredibly talented comedian. A molehill rather than a mountain, but one worth climbing.
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw