Geoff Cotton: Light Relief at the 2011 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Ooh, uncomfortable. The audience for Geoff Cotton’s Brighton show comprised just two people: myself and a German woman. Welcome to fringe comedy….

To his credit, Cotton carried on regardless, performing as if we were twenty times the crowd, even persisting with the audience caption competition. Which might also suggest the show is so carefully planned, he daren’t deviate from it.

So what of that show? Well, on his website Cotton describes himself primarily as a ‘presenter for corporate conferences’. And it’s clear he’s got the professionalism and stage presence for that – not to mention a rich speaking voice that would see him slot into any commercial radio station.

But he’s not a natural comedian in the modern sense, at all. This is a cosy, even twee, drawing room cabaret, with a few mildly satirical songs, clichéd characters and the sort of limp topical comedy that got Week Ending cancelled.

He’s dated not only in style, but in content. He opens with The Vegetarian Blues, a song concerning itself with how a veggie girlfriend can eat only pasta and turned out to be a bloody lesbian anyway. Then there’s his comedy Frenchman, arrogant and aloof, talking about eating frog’s legs and snails and inflecting like Antoine De Caunes. The character’s name is Sacha Distilled after a crooner who’s been dead seven years.

He closes with a ditty about having a Brazilian. Me, the wizened seen-it-all before comedy hack is bored because it’s lazy and unoriginal. The other 50 per cent of the audience isn’t impressed as she didn’t come out to hear mention of pubic hair. Now there’s a lesson right there – you can’t be mildly offensive, as you turn off both audiences.

It’s a shame, as he seems charming enough. And he’s so kind as to give both of us a CD of his songs as we leave, some of which he performed tonigh. Each track has a copyright notice next to it, which reveals the newest is 11 years old, the oldest 26. I don’t think Cotton has quite realised it’s not 1985 any more.

Review date: 27 May 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton The Temple

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