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Fear Of A Brown Planet [Edinburgh 2011]
Festival of the Spoken Nerd
Fin Taylor and Jared Hardy - With Full Orchestra
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Funny Women 
Established stand-up comedians Alex Hawley, Chris Dangerfield and Tim Shishodia plus guest MCs.
A three-man stand-up show, Funt is a fairly standard compilation show of new acts stretching themselves – and occasionally the audience’s patience – into performing 20 minute sets, rather than the shorter slots usual on the open mic scene. It’s a reasonable enough way to pass an hour – especially for the price of a modest donation – but nothing to make the ‘must-see’ list of any but their immediate families.
They hit all the new act clichés, with jokes about masturbation, Down’s syndrome and internet porn in the first few minutes, though there’s often feeling that something better is trying to get out.
Host Chris Dangerfield is an interesting one. Cutting a seedy spiv of a character in distinctive red pinstipe, he tries to emulate Russells Kane and Brand with elaborate, overacted camp gestures illustrating his tales of depravity, which don’t really seem convincing.
But once he cast such received theatrical quirks aside, he proves more than capable of holding an audience’s attention as he offers a vicarious peek into his amoral world of prostitutes, ladyboys and third-world exploitation, all eased with a Jack-the-lad charm that leads you to forgive his incorrigible behaviour.
He’s a good storyteller, if not a good human being… and we all know which is most important in comedy.
Against such exploits, Kiwi Alex Hawley is sure to pale by comparison. His defensive approach – button-down dinner-jacket, one hand aloofly in pocket, offers little personality, and his lukewarm observational shtick about such topics as Google’s autocomplete, internet dating and conversational turns of phrase, are far from strong enough to overcome the downplayed presentation.
The routine throws up a few – but not enough – decent lines, but fatally he doesn’t make you feel that interested in what he has to say… and suggesting a famous person has a touch of Down’s syndrome denigrates him for saying so, appearing too desperate for reaction.
Finally, Tim Shisodia, who was something of a disappointment after storming the Leicester Square Theatre new act of the year competition earlier this year.
There’s still a lot of character and potential to like; but this performance wasn’t firing on all cylinders – always a risk with newcomers who haven’t perfected consistency.
Stylistically, his barked-out non-sequiturs make him part Harry Hill, with a hefty dose of Rich Fulcher’s style and a dash of Tony Hancock’s pathos-ridden world-weariness. And that is, on paper at least, as attractive a proposition as it sounds. But tonight he wasn’t exploiting that properly, with a sluggish presentation of lines that varied from the so-so to the inspired.
|Date of live review: Monday 8th Aug, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
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