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Demitris Deech: Hypochondriac - Fringe

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Julia Chamberlain

This is Demetris Deech’s first solo fringe show, although he’s by no means that new as an act. He’s blessed with a nice, smiley demeanour and a gently nerdy voice, keen to please, keen not to offend, so that’s the basics covered.

Having the strong title Hypochondriac sets up expectations of an hour crammed with ideas, observations and revelation. So, it’s a bit surprising when he spends a good few minutes on having a funny name, which could sound like x or y or, stone me, z.

Then he spends a ridiculous amount of time compering himself in, with the ‘What’s your name, where you from?’ shtick and gets Atlanta mixed up with Atlantis, thereby skewering his own joke, and then a lengthy bit about the problematic topography of Edinburgh, where he keeps talking about Cow’s Gate, rather than Cowgate – if you’re going to make a big deal of correct naming, then you’d better make sure you do it yourself. Still no mention of hypochondria.

I got the feeling that this was compiled in a hurry on the train on the way up, so much detail about train journeys – this can’t have been part of the planned 45 minutes he would have booked to perform months ago, surely?

It’s a pleasant enough chat, gently amusing, but without any real substance or tight writing, he’s in desperate need of either a ruthless editor or strict director to strengthen what is there. There’s repetition, contradiction, some ordinary ‘men and women’ stuff, you know, where she wakes up when you’re having sex with her, what’s that all about? Plus some thunderingly obvious set ups around standard targets, Jeremy Kyle seeming ubiquitous this year.

The big finish, which finally does deal with him confronting his hypochondria (it’s a self esteem issue, evidently) is a more of a damp fart, allowing him to describe what is a virtually a Carry On Doctor scenario of rectal examination.

It’s a tribute to Deech’s likeability that you indulge his chatter, like putting up with a mildly annoying colleague because you know he’s not a bad bloke, but he could do so much more with this if he was more disciplined at the writing stage.

Review date: 23 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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