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Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams 
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Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Goes To Hollywood
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She's Not Just Quiet... She's Dead
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Susan Calman: The Last Woman On Earth
Simon Brodkin: Still Not Himself
Outstanding character comedy: 4 inspired creations from the star of ITV1ís Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder. Expect a feast of character comedy, packing harpoon-sharp material.
Simon Brodkin: Still Not Himself Ė Fringe 2009
Any punters who bought tickets on the strength of this character comedianís appearances on Al Murrayís Multiple Personality Disorder may have high hopes of Brodkin, since he is one of the best things about that show. While that TV vehicle is disappointing this Fringe show is quite the opposite.
Adhering to the tried and tested Ďfour characters, four quartersí recipe Brodkinís first ingredient is H-Bomb, aka Hugo, a misguided middle-class revolutionary whose lamentable grasp on international affairs makes Alan Parker: Urban Warrior, to whom Hugo must pay a debt, look like Che Guevara.
While Hugo is well-meaning but dim, Brodkinís next character, footballer Jason Bent, is a devil barely disguised. Encapsulating all that is bad about English football, Bentís money-grasping and anti-social behaviour are delightfully exposed at a press conference, orchestrated by having selected audience members with questions on cue cards.
There are those who have misgivings about Brodkinís next character, Dr Omprakash, one that requires him to darken his face with make up. The main reservation here though is that he is the least funny of the four characters on show. However, the bar has been set high and there are still some choice moments, and what is clever about Omprakash is that he teases patients about their life-threatening conditions without ever seeming like the bad guy.
Finally itís the turn of Brodkinís best-known creation Lee ĎNelsyí Nelson, the almost loveable but ultimately villainous lad whose attitude to childcare and to women leave a lot to be desired. Aware that the spotlight is on the ĎAsbo generationí Nelson tries to get some relative perspective on it using the carnage of the two world wars to vainly attempt to contrast his own generationís misdemeanours. The clunky analogy brings out some dark humour from this double-edged creation.
In this case four quarters are short of making one whole five-star review. Nonetheless thereís heavenly stuff here, contained in one of the quickest and most enjoyable hours on the Fringe.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 18th Aug, '09|
Review by Julian Hall
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