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Justin Moorhouse: The Boiled Egg On The Beach

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Comedy club stalwarts taking on Edinburgh often obsess about the themes and messages they think you need to have an acclaimed Fringe show. But as this year’s most talked-about acts Greg Davies and Bo Burnham prove, neither are a necessity: Funny for an hour is the most important thing, originality the second.

Justin Moorhouse is without a doubt funny for an hour; though on the second criterion the jury is still out, mainly because he tends to stick to very familiar topics.

He openly states this is show without preaching, although there quite clearly is a point to be made about ambition and fun. The unusual title comes from a childhood memory of a bleak caravanning holiday in Cornwall, where the family would picnic on the beach every day, sheltered from the elements by their windbreak. One day, the young Moorhouse spotted a man eating a boiled egg, and the height of his ambition was to one day be able to enjoy such a delicacy, which his Mum deemed to expensive for the family lunchbox. One message is to ensure your children have a better life than you did, so he takes his progenies to Disneyland.

Over the hour he talks about the joys of the Travelodge, surly teenagers, the inherent ridiculousness of having a Doncaster International Airport, class differences, being overweight, Tiger Woods’ sex scandal, relationship woes – quite a typical set list for many a jobbing stand-up.

Moorhouse has some pretty decent jokes on some of these: a lovely description of his 13-year-old lad as ‘a yawn in a hood’, an sharp quip about the short measures in Disney’s bars, or a florid passages about what he *should* have said in an awkward situation. But although there are individual moments of inspiration, the writing as a whole doesn’t push the boat out far enough.

For example, on the section about his weight he does a few easy jokes about going to the gym or being too short for his weight – a very old line. Compare this to Mick Ferry, another Northern comic who’s better known for his club work than his Edinburgh shows, who has fashioned a much more incisive hour on the topic.

Moorhouse’s charm is by far his biggest asset, though, and it’s hard to imagine anyone would be immune to his infectious, joyful energy. So even when he does something as simple as portray the middle-classes as balsamic vinegar addicts, he does it with a sense of fun that all can enjoy.

He says he works hard at his comedy, as he believes he has the best job in the world – although the bonhomie seems to come very naturally. However, he probably will have to keep plugging away at the writing to attain a level of acclaim above being a reliably entertaining act. But reliably entertaining is no bad thing…

Review date: 23 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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