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Kevin Eldon Is Titting About

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

If this is Kevin Eldon titting about, just imagine what he could do if he applied himself. He’s thrown everything at what is – unbelievably – his solo Edinburgh debut: stand-up, characters, poetry, musical comedy, impressions, existential angst, and produced a fast-paced, unrelenting assault of pure comic genius.

He has, of course, played supporting roles in just about every TV comedy of note of the past 20 years, from Alan Partridge to Brass Eye, Smack The Pony to Nighty Night – and judging by the impeccable writing and performance on display here, his time centre stage is long overdue.

The show opens with the character he occasionally plays on the circuit: the smug, earnest, pedantic poet Paul Hamilton, naïve and appallingly clunky in his work, but arrogantly unaware of the fact. It could be an easy two-dimensional caricature, but Eldon gives him real depth, laughs coming more from his personality traits than the forced verse.

His stand-up is insightfully knowing, his obsession with people speaking with rising inflection being the closest thing to straightforward material, as with postmodern brilliance, he unpicks the details of how he got to find himself on the tiny Stand stage, what it feels like to be there, and what he needs to do to be a hugely successful comedian. Yes, that means McIntyre gets skewered again, but with the precision of a master torturer.

Brilliant and unique comic ideas cascade from Eldon’s brain like Niagara. What if Hitler spoke like George Martin? How about a rap about pension planning? Carry On Shakespeare? A French punk poet who steadfastly refuses to perform in English?

As you might expect from his track record, the performances are faultless, managing to be simultaneously both nuanced and exaggerated, demonstrating a tight control of explosive comic timing. What is a wonderfully pleasant surprise – though it perhaps shouldn’t be – is that the writing is such a riot, too, with inventive punchlines at every turn.

The show is performed with as much theatricality as you can fit on a 2ft radius semi-circular stage, while his song about a CD sticking (similar, but several multiples better than the one fellow Fringe performer Kev Orkian performed on Britain’s Got Talent) is a perfect demonstration of how he harness his technical expertise to powerful effect.

For the range of styles, sheer number of laughs, and depth of innovation, Eldon has condensed about ten shows into one here. Don’t miss it.

Review date: 13 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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