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Simon Brodkin is Lee Nelson
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Steve Williams: The Ultimate Worrier
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Simon Brodkin is Lee Nelson
Winner Edinburgh Festival Writers' Guild Best Newcomer. Character comedy at its brilliant best: an hour with Lee Nelson (star of BBC3's The Wall and Radio 2's Out To Lunch).
Skilled character comedian Simon Brodkin has focused all his energies into chav charmer Lee Nelson - a creations he’s spent years honing into a sharp, credible and fantastically funny character – for this third Fringe appearance.
Nelson is announced onto stage with a list of his accolades, expulsions, ASBOs and criminal charges. He dons the chav’s uniform of sports gear, baseball cap and bling which is only outshone by the cheeky twinkle in his eye.
With the threat of mugging and a guarantee of a ‘dissing’, this is not for the faint of heart. Nelson directs questions, threats and amorous advances to anyone that catches his eye, he zooms in on any trait from which he can glean some comedy, from age to youth from baldness to scruffy student hair. What seems to interest him most is clothing, wallets and watches which he covets and periodically removes from audience members sometimes under the guise of making them look cooler, sometimes through brute intimidation.
This is not as scary as it sounds, for every insult and every threat there is a roguish grin, a high five and the knowledge that its all just a bit of a laugh.
The audience interaction is perfect, he is not scared of building tension or creating truly uncomfortable, cringeworthy moments grabbing his groin inches from someone’s face as he gives a masterclass on ‘how to get the birds’. This awkwardness only goes towards heightening the laugh when we are released from situation with massive punchlines and another one of those cheeky grins.
It’s not all banter. Mingled with the conversations with the audience is some solid gold material. Nelson covers the expected topics, drinking, smoking, unplanned pregnancies and run ins with the police and although they are clearly fabrications, it’s easy to suspend your disbelief, making the gags all the more funny.
This is a beautifully balanced act, fresh and exciting, tense and unpredictable but always very, very funny.
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw
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Lee Nelson [Edinburgh 2013]