Lee Hume: Stuff And Nonsense at the 2010 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Well, the show is called Stuff and Nonsense, so the lack of any theme to Lee Hume’s Brighton Fringe offering comes as no surprise. This is an hour of unrelated jokes; not one-liners but observational snippets, with the local lad giving each thought just enough of an explanation to set up his comic take on it, then it’s on to the next.

The lack of much substance is detrimental, that can’t be escaped. While the gags themselves tend be OK – occasionally much better, but rarely much worse – since they are not put in the context of any particular view of the world, it feels insubstantial for a full-length show.

We don’t learn much about Hume over the hour, other than he’s a bit of a DVD fanatic. He is happier quipping about 24, Fast Forward or Grand Theft Auto than opening up or expressing an opinion; a generic tack that might sustain a club set, but is a stretch for his first solo offering.

He adds a few gimmicks, too, with mixed results. PowerPoint is used, as it so often is, as an unnecessary prop. There’s an impressively ingenious joke at the end, during a conversation with his on-screen self, but largely the technology is a distraction more than a boon – especially when the software responds sluggishly, as it did sometimes.

Hume also employs the gimmick of asking people to write down suggestions before the show, in a rather ill thought-out section. The main flaw was that the brief was too wide-ranging – if you’re going to invite the audience to propose any subject at all to discuss, you need to be damn sure to can either cover most things that could crop up, or joke your way out of it when you can’t. Hume couldn’t really do either, and while he kept cheerful throughout, this section wasn’t firing.

This all sounds quite negative, but Hume isn’t a bad comedian. There are one or two great lines here, and he has a likeable stage presence and easy manner that are likely to endear him to almost any audience. People like his company and want to laugh; but he’s possibly let ambition get the better of him, aiming for an hour when he probably should be honing a solid 20-minute set.

Opening act Robin Buckland deserves a mention too, with a wittily grumpy routine about his intolerance for geezers, chavs and pretty much anything that doesn’t meet his liberal middle-class approval. Such as stance could be sneery, but because he’s uptight and socially awkward, Buckland comes across as something of the loser in the jokes, too, no matter how much you might sympathise with his point of view.

He’s got some nice gags to back this up, and an endearing quality to the performance, so while he might not yet be strikingly original in his approach to life, he served up a satisfying appetiser for Hume’s show.

Review date: 23 May 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Hove Cheeky Devil

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