Hearing Voices

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett


'We chose the title as we'd written a running joke around it, but when we tried it in previews it didn't work so we took it out.' So begins Hearing Voices, a show that has very little to do with hearing voices.

It is basically a one-hour show stand-up show split down the middle between Mike Manera and Michael Fabbri, with around five minutes of double-act during the changeover.

Manera is first up and it's instantly apparent that his stage-presence is stunning, with banter demonstrating a confidence that belies the fact this is his first Fringe show.

Unfortunately the material doesn't match the presentation, and we're soon into the age-old anecdote about comics in pubs being offered jokes by non-comeidans. Half the audience appear to be one step ahead of him throughout. Then there's some fairly pedestrian material about spending Christmas at the girlfriend's parents, and charity shops. To his credit, Manera handles a number of heckles and disruptions very well, but his preprepared material is far weaker than these ad-libs.

The double act section involves a mock race between different religions throughout history, which works well, though a Holocaust joke loses a large proportion of the audience. This serves as Fabbri's introduction, and he's the polar opposite of Manera: far less confident in his delivery but with much stronger material.

There's more on religion, a diabtre against Nuts magazine, and some much darker material about the concept of 'suicide watch' in prisons and the benefits of using water torture on babies. The material is all well constructed, and while the darker stuff loses some of the crowd, it's more down to the audience than the writing itself.

Hearing Voices is a hit and miss show, and could have uses some more refining earlier on, but nevertheless is still worth catching.

Dean Love


Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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