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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band Presents Oliver Pissed
Musical comedy from Scottish comedy circuit stalwart, Fife Comedian of the Year 2011 and editor of The Daily Reckless - the paper that sings the news. Tommy Mackay presents a uniquely Scottish update of the Dickens classic. Reinterpreted and spat out through the medium of song. Scottish song. With jokes. And Anthea Turner. The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band have created a huge volume of work over the years, generating over one million hits on YouTube.
Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band: Fringe 2012
Musical performer Tommy Mackay was admirably relaxed when it appeared for a few minutes that your reviewer was going to be his entire audience. Luckily for both of us, comedy's equivalent of a lapdance moved off the agenda when several people arrived late, and the fifty-something Scot decided we were quorate.
As the name implies, Oliver PIssed is a reworking of Dickens's tale of an orphan boy whose life swings back and forth between good and ill fortune. At least, that's what Mackay in his guise as The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band told us it was going to be. In practice, this theme is so loose that the audience could be forgiven for forgetting about it between the irregular reminders issued by Mackay.
Some of the songs are parodies of those from Lionel Bart's Oliver! and, at the top of the show, Mackay says he'd like to apologise to Bart. Offering a glimpse of what we could expect from his show, he swiftly adds, ‘for spilling his pint... only kidding, I shagged his wife.’ Wrong on so many levels.
You have to be thick-skinned to face the slings and arrows of the comedy circuit but Mackay's ability to ignore the audience's coolness creates the suspicion that his epidermis is plated with titanium. As the audience failed to respond to one mediocre song after another, his face gave nothing away and he ploughed on with an obliviousness that bordered on the heroic.
About 20 minutes in, Mackay's persistence received an unlikely reward when a handful of additional punters arrived including a young man utterly determined to enjoy the show. The next few songs were punctuated by non-stop laughter from the newcomer and suddenly the show didn't seem quite so dismal. This brief purplish patch included the evening's best offering - a song about terrorism that would almost be edgy enough to secure Mackay a fatwa if the wrong people ever got to hear about it.
Sadly, this level was not sustained and much of the humour attempted in the other songs belonged on the terraces of a football ground. One offering had the Pope singing, ‘Who the fuck is Alistair Darling?’ over and over again before leading to speculation about the colour of the former Chancellor's pubic hair - a line so puerile that even Mackay seemed embarrassed by it.
As the show dragged towards its conclusion, even Mackay's enthusiastic latecomer was struggling to find anything to laugh about. A song mocking Ulrika Jonsson for her affair with Sven-Göran Eriksson was so out of date that it ought to be studied by a paleontologist, while a nasty song attacking Antony Worrall Thompson achieved something that many would consider impossible - it made you feel sorry for the light-fingered chef.
Oliver Pissed is part of The Scottish Comedy Festival - a worthy initiative designed to promote local talent. But if Tommy Mackay is representative of what's on offer, then Scottish comedians are destined to remain marginalised at the Fringe.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 8th Aug, '12|
Review by Jason Stone
How very different to my experience on Sunday night. Perhaps it was the audience but the response was good with much rollicking laughter. Not to be analysed too deeply but much more fun than some of the self indulgent navel gazing that tries to pass as comedy in some quarters.
Seems odd that you should criticise the audience for laughing just because they enjoyed it and you didn't? I recommend anger management - might make you behave more professionally?
A bit harsh. I was never there so cannot comment eloquently but I will say as if by some twist of fate I have known Mackay over the last 10 summers as a guest contributor for his iconic daily reckless and this review has played handsomely into the hands of ASGB.I say to heathen savages like Mr Stone if you spent less time reading between the lines and more time reading the delights of a one man's valiant aim to butcher predictable britwit mainstream stand up comedy you might just'get it" Tommy is unique and he sings it how it is. If we all sung more about of topical issues the world would be a better place.
Odd for a site that uses so much of the artist's content on their site to give such a dismissive review.