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Terry Alderton – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

‘Say what you like about the show.’ Terry Alderton asserts, ‘but you can’t knock the performance.’

Indeed you can’t. This is a thick blizzard of spot-on accents, powerful sound effects, impressive beatboxing and instant characterisations delivered with the force and speed of a bullet train. The vocal range is amazing and the energy is irresistible as he whips through the hour with impressive spontaneity.

He’s also trying to do something new with the form of stand-up, breaking away from his bantering to face the back of the stage where his inner dialogue is given voice: his demonic sense of mischief persuading the meeker side of his personality to take the conversations into more roguish territory. Other times this bipolar id might give him a pat on the back if he’s doing well.

His jittery brain also leaps occasionally into fragments of another character – a desperately sad Fathers4Justice campaigner – as well as gently and accurately mocking the regional and national accents of those in the front row, even distinguishing between Australian and New Zealand. This is a bright new take on the old ‘where are you from?’ style of club compering.

Some habits from that style die hard, and when he slips into more conventional stand-up, it can be uninspired: EasyJet flights, for instant, or a Robert De Niro impression, even if it is devastatingly accurate. The much-interrupted story which forms the backbone of the second half of the show – an encounter with hoodied rude boyz playing their tinny music on a night buses – is one of the most common themes in stand-up, but there’s no arguing with the brilliance with which he re-enacts it.

Alderton was slightly off-form on the performance I saw, and that was partly down to my presence. Those ‘inner’ voices made various obtuse references to being reviewed and whether or not he should launch into something aimed at me – payback for poor reviews for his stale former set about coming home drunk with a kebab.

But he’s reinventing himself now, and while there are vestiges of safe, predictable material in the routine, his full-on performance is wonderfully innovative, and never more so that the tour-de-force piece in which he rewinds to the start of the show. Exorcise a few weaker moments and this could be something astounding – especially if he isn't distracted by Chortle's presence in the room.

Review date: 1 Sep 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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