Rhod Gilbert And The Award-Winning Mince Pie
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Nominated for the 2008 if.comedy prize
The multi award-winning Welsh Misery returns with his hilarious new show following sell-out hits in 2005, 2006 And 2007.
A service station somewhere. Christmas 2007. About 2.40am.
Rhod Gilbert finds himself standing in the coffee shop bit, armed with a travel pillow, a flask and a very powerful torch, aggressively demanding to know more about an 'Award-Winning Mince Pie' on display on the counter.
Suddenly aware of what he is doing, Rhod is forced to acknowledge that he may be having a very mild nervous breakdown.
How did it come to this? He doesn’t even like mince pies. The pressures of living in a tedious, pointless and absurd world surrounded by idiots have finally taken their toll.
Perhaps he should never have left his fantasy world of Llanbobl in the first place.
This is the slightly ridiculous story of how one mince pie broke the camel’s back.
Rhod Gilbert’s always been a good stand up, often a great one. But this year he’s made an evolutionary leap that could propel him into comedy’s super-league.
He makes great play about how he has abandoned for good his fantasies of Llanbobl in favour of no-nonsense observational stand-up about the real world. Only it turns out Gilbert doesn’t interact well with the real word, and becomes increasingly outraged at every petty irritation.
The result is a relentless white-knuckle ride through the raging torrents of his frustration. Here is a man who takes everything at face value, thinking way too much about it, then letting his rage burn with the incandescence of a million candles at the stupidity involved.
The scale of his ever-escalating indignation is clearly ridiculous compared to the supposed crime committed, but as with Basil Fawlty you can empathise entirely as to how the never-ending irritants of the world could have driven him to such extremes. But Gilbert makes Basil Fawlty look as serene as the Dalai Llama, so emphatic does he get when making his valid points he just couldn’t let lie..
All this pent-up anger was released during a trip to the Knutsford service station near junction 18 of the M6. You can’t imagine many stand-ups getting 40 minutes of material about the toilets, canteen and tat-selling shop of a dreary Cheshire stop-off, but Gilbert elevates the ‘everything’s crap’ school of comedy into an artform, creating huge expectations from the most trivial things, then expertly describing the crush of disappointment when reality doesn’t live up to his self-generated hype.
The story is bookended with a couple of largely unrelated routines, one about the Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale, which isn’t the glitzy rival to Las Vegas you might expect, and another about how his aging body increasingly lets him down, especially during sex. The latter might be a common topic among comics turning 40, but Gilbert’s got an hilarious new angle on it, delivered with impeccable style.
In fact, the laughs never let up for the entire hour he’s on stage, belting out material at full emotional pelt in a virtuoso performance. Every moment is exhilarating, passionate, and sparklingly funny.
Don’t be surprised if the mince pie isn’t the only thing in this show to attract the attention of award judges.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Sean Prower - 08/03/2009
I saw Rhod Gilbert at the Stockton Arc and he said it was one of the nicest audiences he has played to and I was pleased to be part of that crowd. Started at 8, finished at 11.20 with one 20 minute interval. His show is a non-stop marathon of hilarious rants and stories, all about him trying to survive in the real world. Worried about being in his 40's, how annoyed one person can be from Knutsford motorway services and entertaining the troops in Afghanistan just to avoid his girlfriend. While these are irritating, they don't stress him to the levels of finding an award-winning mince pie and not knowing what it won. The way Gilbert delivers his stories and jokes are superb. His appearances on TV have really boosted his name and rightly so. A great show and I will definitely see him again if he tours close by. And if there are any Welsh people in the crowd, let him know, it'll be worth it.
Karen - 11/08/2008
Easily the funniest and best show I saw at Edinburgh this year. I took six friends and we all laughed the whole way through. The show is well-crafted, as are the jokes and Rhod's persona is excellent. The energy he put into the show was amazing. Can't wait to see him again.
Spiky Mike - 09/08/2008
He previewed this show at 5 of my clubs. Even by the 5th time I was still crying with laughter. Breathtakingly brilliant. Surely that i.f. award must belong to him.
Anthony - 08/08/2008
Great show, very clever story so you know he planned the show which makes it value for money. Very enjoyable.
Adrienne - 08/08/2008
I concur with every word of Steve Bennett's review. Rhod has stepped up to a higher plain comedywise. My face hurt from laughing for the whole hour long. A brilliant show. Give this man the award!
Pip - 06/08/2008
This is a fantastic show! Rhod Gilbert gets funnier every time I see him. Pure class.
Layla Churcher - 10/07/2008
I am still hurting from the laughter caused by this welsh lunatic! Just hope he is in our area again soon, maybe with a story of a Cornish Pastie! Loved him.