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Edinburgh Fringe 2008 (733)Edinburgh Fringe 2009 (773)
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See Less »
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Negative Aptitude + The Postman
Neil Delamere: Crème Delamere
New Art Club's Extra Ordinary World
Nice Tight Opening with Harry and Lou Pickles
Nicholas Parsons Happy Hour 
Nick Doody: Tour of Doody
Nick Mohammed Is A Character Comedian
Nick Pettigrew: Obsessive, Compulsive, Disorderd
Nick Revell: Sleepless
Nightingales: The Midnight Shift
Nik Coppin: Stuff
Nina Conti: Evolution
No Comedy For Old Men
Northern Humour: Southerners Welcome!
Not Everything Is Significant
Nick Revell: Sleepless
Revell combines machine-gun rhythm, gag-dense routines and hypnotic stories to cover a wide range of subjects from the topical and satirical to the surreal and back again.
Nick Revell’s show – his first stand-up in four years and only his third in 16 – is supposedly about the things that keep him awake at night, a very unconstricting premise that gives him free rein to talk about whatever he wants. Apart from the occasional ‘…and another thing that keeps me awake is…’ afterthought, you’d never know there was a theme at all.
But that’s a good thing; testament to Revell’s eloquence and fluidity. He can talk engagingly across a wide range of subjects, always holding the attention without resort to artificial structure to prop him up. He can glide from Bosnian warlords to British barbecues without any jarring gear-change
An alternative title to the show might have been Maybe I’m Being A Bit Too Harsh But…, as Revell is a corrosive cynic, delivering brutal home truths that belie his nice-guy presence.
He’s well-read, and his incisive comedy is driven by the never-ending stream of current events that get his goat. Some of the gags are hot off the press, with references to the day’s headlines, while others might be of slightly more suspect topicality – the Danish cartoon protests, for example. But even on this he’s got a fresh, pin-sharp gag that you don’t feel has been cracked a thousand times before.
There’s clearly a ferocious intelligence at the heart of everything he does, not to mention an unflagging desire to highlight injustice.
This does mean that there are sections of the hour – sometimes quite lengthy ones – that seem to exist because he feels the issues demand attention, rather than because he’s written brilliant jokes about them. Civil war, torture and famine are not obvious gag-generators, and even Revell has trouble making subjects such as Darfur funny.
But while these agenda-led material is raising awareness more than laughs, Revell mosty manages to dodge charges of preachiness.
Perhaps that’s because for all his liberal, socially responsible views, he’s not so tied to political correctness that he can’t crack an old-fashioned joke at the expense of others. Some are decidedly cheap – that Americans are fat and loud, for instance – but then he can savagely mock the stereotypical French or Italians with the best of them.
He delivers like an orator, showing a real fire in his belly for subjects such as the grubby Commons deal that allowed detention of terror suspects for 42 days without charge that transcends any need to quip about it.
He’s also skilful when it comes to illustrated his heartfelt monologue with little comedy sketches, showing a rare gift for accents and allowing him a change of pace from his normal, authoritative tone. His tour-de-force calling-card closer – about what the dawn chorus really means – is conclusive evidence of this, even if it is a leftover from his last Fringe show.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
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