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Des Clarke: Clarxism - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Chloe Smith

Des Clarke has been hanging out with the bigwigs. He has observed at close quarters the spittle that collects at the corners of Gordon Brown’s mouth, travelled to Obama’s inauguration, and arranged a meeting with Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to follow his Edinburgh run. At this time Ms Sturgeon can expect to be presented with the issues dearest to the hearts of Clarke’s audiences, the word on the street. This show is your opportunity to contribute to a brave new world.

Unfortunately, many of the issues the audience ask Clarke to discuss with the MSP will be beyond her power to change, and more than likely, her sphere of interest. The problems caused by irresponsible individuals feeding seagulls on the beach at Largs for example, may be something that she feels the local council might deal with.

The betrayal felt by the English when the Scots insist on supporting any football team other than the Sassenachs is probably something they will have to take on the chin. And surely no one sees votes in a policy of culling all but the brightest children in order to keep the league tables looking good, a disturbing notion suggested by a teacher of English literature in the front row. I suspect that Clarke has learned some unsettling truths about the political bent of his audiences during the Fringe

The ideas flow, and Clarke picks them all up, scrawls them on his whiteboard for posterity. He has some great gags and a very engaging persona. He covers Scottish diffidence and the trials of growing up in Glasgow, the horrible humiliation of our football team on Tuesday night. It’s all very warm and funny.

But a show that depends so much on the wit of the audience inevitably depends on the audience. There will be good days and bad days. Middling days. Clarke has charm and wit enough to get through most eventualities, and you can be sure that there will be some four and five star shows as well as this one.

Review date: 26 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Chloe Smith

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