Steve Hall: Vice Captain Loser
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
We Are Klang's least memorable member does a stand-up show. If.com Nominee, another prick in BBC3's The Wall, Barry Award Nominee.Show title actual quote from actual dad.
Steve Hall bills himself as the least memorable member of the superlative We Are Klang, but his solo Edinburgh debut is a world away from the manic excesses of that vigorous sketch trio. Instead, it’s an hour of low-key, self-conscious stand-up about humiliating moments in his life, recalling those times when he acted as a shameful idiot or pitiful loser.
This is a very self-effacing hour, but is it any wonder given that his confidence was eroded by the relentless teasing of his undiplomatic father? This show’s very title came from something Dad insensitively told him as a teenager, suggesting that the young Hall would even fail at being a failure.
However clearly the memory of that jibe still sticks in his mind, it’s obvious Hall bears his father no malice, crediting him with a keen – if aridly dry and abrasively sarcastic – sense of humour. A lot of that seems to have rubbed off.
His stories here are engaging enough, and there are plenty of wry lines and smart observations in the mix; but the show never becomes more than the sum of its parts. The energy and pace never waver throughout the hour, which means the presentation falls flat. The show does have its touching payoff, but while the slightly gauche Hall finds it easy communicate the story to the audience, getting the emotions across is harder.
Using the slightly childish language Hall sparingly employs, the message, if there is one, is that we are all prone to ‘moments of pure wally-ness’ – and that they should be celebrated. This is a solid, rather than spectacular show, which can’t help but be a slight disappointment given the genius of his Klang work.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett