review star review star review blank star review blank star review blank star

Jonny Sweet: Mostly About Arthur - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Jonny Sweet has just landed a role playing the young David Cameron in a More 4 drama-documentary – so there may be a cautionary tale here. For while he is charming and keen to ingratiate himself with the promise of something different and new, when it comes to doing the business, he soon runs out of ideas.

There is no doubt that Sweet could very probably be a major comedy talent of the future: he has the distinctive look of a dopey but well-meaning middle-class chump, and the performance skills to exploit that deliciously.

But Mostly About Arthur feels like a one-sketch idea, too insubstantial to drag out to an hour, despite some impressive flourishes.

Fighting back his nerves, the enthusiastic but easily-flustered Sweet is here to pay tribute to his dead brother, one of the country’s leading writer of blurbs for the back covers of books, with The Furtive Fork and Guantanamo Gay among his greatest hits.

Sweet’s insistence that the hour be ‘bloody fun’ and not just a maudlin Eulogy begins as we file in, greeted with affectionate hugs and information about local restaurants that offer a delivery service should we get peckish. Interaction – and, indeed, invasion of personal space, continues throughout the show, offering a break from the de rigueur PowerPoint presentation telling of Arthur’s life from popular Filey schoolboy to blurbist fame, overcoming his nemesis – the reviewer against whom Sweet bears an enduringly overblown grudge.

There’s painstaking attention to comic detail here, and Sweet’s vulnerable persona, trying in vain to conceal his insecurities behind an awkwardly fixed smile, is enduring. But there’s really only so much he can do with the central idea and so, sadly, the padding overwhelms the moments of inspiration. Others in the audience forgave him that, suggesting even this show could have a cult following, but for me, this is frustratingly far from realising Sweet’s potential.

Review date: 17 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Today's comedy-on demand picks


The UK's longest-running improv team are putting a show online for the very first time since they started in 1985. They will be live-stream an hour of Sunday night footage from their archives from 7.30pm.

The line-up will feature Paul Merton, Richard Vranch, Neil Mullarkey Josie Lawrence, Lee Simpson and Andy Smart.

Click for more suggestions

... including Andrew Maxwell Breaks The Internet and a streamed version of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe curio Panopticon, from the Consignia sketch group.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.