Tim FitzHigham: Untitled

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Many comedians contrive elaborate quests to provide material for their Edinburgh shows, but Tim FitzHigham, you feel, is such a genuine English eccentric, that he would live the bizarre life he does regardless of whether or not there was a show at the end of it.

He's previously achieved world records from his nautical adventures involving paper boats and tin baths, and this year, for no obvious reason, he decided he wanted to emulate the 17th Century Spanish literary hero Don Quixote.

A series of bizarre adventures ensued, but Fitzhigham dismisses them all with an endearingly modest matter-of-factness, as if he was telling you about nipping out to the shops to buy a bottle of milk and meeting an old friend.

But in his case the shops is a tiny, rocky Caribbean island; a bottle of milk is a knighthood from its king, and meeting an old friend is burning down the beach shack he was living in after an explosion involving rum, his toilet and a lighted match.

His stint in the West Indies was part of his quest to become a knight, as Quixote believed himself to be, that also took the charming Fitzhigham to a string of medieval fairs across Britain, where he raced bantam, chased cheese and charmed worms all in the hope of receiving some centuries-old title. This segment alone could be a show in itself, but in this eventful life, it's about five minutes.

Dismissed with almost equal insouciance is his decision to live as a hermit in the Spanish desert at La Mancha. In Cervantes' groundbreaking book, we know little of what happened to Quixote when he undertook a similar endeavour, and it's the same with Fitzhigham.

Add to this a few other stories about Clare Sweeney, the world's longest washing line and a successful quest for the Holy Grail, (which is such a walk in the park for Fitzhigham you wonder what all the fuss was about) and you have a packed hour's worth of material.

It makes an entertaining journal of what would have been an extraordinary experience for anyone else. But for this lovable lunatic, bounding with unbridled enthusiasm from one utterly insane idea to the next, putting his physical and mental well being at considerable risk all the while, it's just another day at the office.

He's a national treasure, who should not only become titled, but hailed as the true personification of noble eccentricity.

Steve Bennett

 

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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