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Nick Mohammed is Mr Swallow

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Corry Shaw

Nick Mohammed has broken from his normal multi-character show to focus his energies on the singular Mr Swallow, an inspirational speaker who specialises in memory techniques. This concentration on just one creation means a much greater quality control and believability compared to Mohammed’s previous Edinburgh offerings.

Swallow could at first glance appear an predictable caricature of an overexcitable, camp and somewhat ineffective public speaker but Mohammed's commitment to the role makes even the most obvious recurring catchphrases infinitely believable. There is a natural charm to this exuberant fool that creates an immediate connection with the audience.

That warmth and likeability about both Mohammed and his alter ego creates an atmosphere where his crowd barely flinch when greeted on the way in to the venue or called up on stage to help with the 'presentation'. There is the obligatory slide show which throws up the inevitable technical problems, but as Swallow is such an enthusiastic and unprofessional speaker, these glitches only serve to heighten the comedy.

The task we are given is to memorise a shopping list of 10 items which we are constantly reassured we will master by the end of the show. Throughout the exercise we are treated to some clever mind games, whether it be challenging our racist subconscious in a very amusing game of 'spot Vanessa Mae' or being treated to Mohammed's own highly impressive memory tricks.

Sadly the most impressive of the tricks leads to a bit of a lull as memorising the order of a pack of cards is almost as tedious to prove as it is amazing to achieve. There are a few gags thrown into this routine but not enough to sustain the momentum, and there is a definite dip in energy.

Despite this small lapse, this is a very entertaining hour with a convincing and amiable character using some offbeat techniques Mohammed actually succeeds in improving the audience’s memories – as the show is certainly unforgettable.

Review date: 6 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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