Andrew O'Neill: Futuristicelectrodeathninja 9000

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Andrew O’Neill’s is a show of two halves, though frustratingly neither of them seem to contain the comedy.

The first strand is a puerile surrealism, exemplified by the way he comes on dancing with a ram’s head on, accompanied by sidekicks as a pig and an elephant. He then serves up lots of juvenile sub-sub-sub-Vic-and-Bob style nonsense that takes little effort to dream up.

Imagine a man with a sparrow living in his head, or Ronnie Corbett slipping slowly into the sea, or a disabled owl dancing the Macarena with a spoon. One of those isn’t in the show, but it took as long to think of it as it did to type it, and is no substitute for wit. It’s just the sort of randomness a teenage Boosh fan might scrawl on the exercise book, but this is O’Neill’s fifth Fringe, and he really ought to have grown out of it.

The sparse weeknight audience weren’t going for it at all, and no amount of banter from rock casualty O’Neill would turn it around, although one up-for-it American dope smoker did seem to warm to him.

The second strand to his show is storytelling; and he turns out to be very good at that, as he recounts the time he got into a fight on a London night bus with a homophobic moron.

O’Neill held the audience completely with this tale, skilfully told and descriptively evocative of the sequence of events that led him to be brawling on the top deck. But funny it ain’t, even though you have to admire his willingess to take a stand when provoked.

There are few other segments – some vaguely topical stuff about the Pope being offensive to Muslims is solid but unspectacular, some nonsense about an electric toothbrush long-winded with a disappointing payoff, and another surreal yarn about befriending a fox is as bad as his earlier forays into nonsesne.

The whole show is wrapped in the idea that everything, including the audience, is the product of a five-year-old boy’s imagination as he lies on his deathbed. Again, when O’Neill brings this scenario to a conclusion with his sensitive storytelling, he has the room transfixed. Again, there’s no jokes in it.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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