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Felix Dexter: Multiple Personalities In Order

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

There’s little of real interest in Felix Dexter’s latest trio of characters – broad archetypes who tend to get laughs from their comedy accents rather than anything more clever – although the veteran’s exemplary performance just about carries the hour.

Between the creations, all of whom appeared in BBC Two’s recent Bellamy’s People, Dexter performs stand-up, proving himself an eloquent raconteur, if again lacking in excitement.

He tells of how men buy women dinner so they can get them in bed (no? really!), of the pre-download days when you had to press record and play at the same time to steal a music track, and of how Barack Obama might want to act ‘more black’, without pausing to consider the stupidity of the phrase: surely Dexter as a black man does not walk down the street, trousers round his hips and sucking his teeth, so why is that behaviour ‘acting black’?

First of the characters to make an appearance is Julius Olufemwe, a Nigerian lothario who shares his tips on dating after rather forcefully and intrusively grilling the audience on their sex lives. Any laughs tend to come from embarrassment, such as when he harangues one (straight) man: ‘You are a gay Scottish man! When were you last cottaging? Was George Michael there.’ Implying someone is gay for cheap laughs is hardly an enlightened view of homosexuality – or of comedy.

For all his bluntness, the character, a hotel management student is actually a conservative old romantic who despairs of the aggressive lyrics in rap. There’s not much of interest in the writing, although when he says ‘Eh? Eh?’ after a sentence, it triggers a Pavlovian chuckle. To his credit, Dexter wrings plenty of laughs out of the room with very little apparent material.

Crotch-grabbing North London wideboy and self-styled entrepreneur Early D quickly goes for a gay gag, too. ‘There is now a coffee for gay men,’ he says. ‘Fairy trade.’ The material is as unexciting as the character; the most insight we get is that Britain is like the irritating playground squirt who hangs out with bully America, egging him on. Ho-hum.

Probably the best character, but the one afforded the least time, possibly because of the threat of over-running, so frequently had Dexter bantered with the audience, was Aubrey Dubuisson, the public school architect living in the Cotswolds, simply because of the elegant pomposity of the language he uses.

Like the other two creations here, Dubuisson is perfectly realised, showcasing Dexter’s incredible acting talents that have made him a regular on TV for the best part of two decades. But he is so desperately in need a strong writer to make the best of those undeniable skills.

Review date: 30 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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