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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Geoff the Entertainer
Geoff and his dog have been entertaining people on the streets for over 20 years. Now they bring their joyful show indoors for the first time. Help Geoff to celebrate his incredible life with singing, dancing, more dancing and chess. Please be advised that The Stand Comedy Club cannot be held responsible for any nonsense Geoff attempts during his show and patrons attend at their own risk.
Geoff The Entertainer: Fringe 2012
For the past couple of years, Lee Fenwick has performed as Mick Sergeant, a rather tragic unemployed shipyard worker turning to entertainment as an escape from his miserable life. Now he presents Geoff, a rather tragic homeless person turning to entertainment as an escape from his… you get the picture.
It’s laudable that he’s human, not some cruel parody of the unfortunate, and homeless angle isn't actually that important. Save for the odd aside, he could be almost any rather grubby bloke. Actually, his status as an 'entertainer' is also questionable: he's one of those dry, low-energy acts with no showbiz pizazz at all.
So he engages in some awkward audience interaction that no one much wants to take part in, and a pall of reluctance falls over the room. Quite why he's so keen to have us involved is unclear. This - verbatim - is one of the conversations he had:
Have you been on holiday?
Where did you go?
What did you see there?
The Coluseum., that sort of thing...
Ah, the sights... Who did you go with? The misuss?
Were you on the beer?
Fascinating stuff, I'm sure you'll agree... a rather pointless his bit on Faliraki that had the opposite effect of what he'd hoped, to introduce a subject naturally. And there are plenty of similar examples that I - unlike Geoff shan't bore you with.
The show continues in this vein of stilted interaction, low-impact stand-up and the occasional set piece such as a 'guess the stain on the trousers' game.
After about 40 minutes of this struggle, things finally pick up when he leaves the room.
To be fair, we all do, as he leads us on a tenuous 'ghost walk' around the corridors of the Stand's offshoot venue. This is rather silly and fun, though it owes far more to Arthur Smith's legendary late-night walks through the city than it does his characterisation or premise.
Elsewhere, a plaintive plea for birthday gifts allows Fenwick to show off his ad-lib skills, as he talks about the pocket detritus we all present him with.
But these enjoyable elements are too little, too late for an hour that largely just pootles along as low-level, aimless conversation before its long-overdue blossoming into something approaching a real show.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 21st Aug, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
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