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Alfie Moore: I Predicted A Riot

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

If the secret of comedy is timing, copper-cum-comic Alfie Moore could be on to something. At last year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, he debuted his show called I Predict A Riot – and look what happened six months later.

He says he planned to take that solo hour to the Edinburgh Fringe last Fringe, but because it all kicked off, he couldn’t get the time off work from the Humberside Constabulary last August. So here’s the updated version, still riding the zeitgeist.

Sgt Moore – one of the contestants on missed-opportunity reality programme Show Me The Funny last year – promises to take a look at the history of public disturbances, from the Nika riots of ancient Rome in 532AD to the most recent batch, taking in everything from the suffragettes to Rodney King.

If that sounds something like a lecture, well that’s a trap Moore doesn’t always sidestep. He’s vowed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which leads to segments of extended, earnest description about the historical and contemporary, events. There are few laughs in the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan – which sparked the 2011 riots – or detailing the provisions of Section 1 of the Public Order Act 1986. Yes, this is one comedian who literally reads the Riot Act to his audience.

But Moore isn’t your average Plod. For one, he’s left-leaning – which sounds as oxymoronic as a caring Conservative, but certainly humanises him as someone who emphasises with genuine protest, if not criminal opportunists after free trainers. And he’s an instinctively witty, affable bloke, with a engaging conversational style that’s as far away from the stilted officialese of ‘proceeding in a northerly direction whereupon I happened upon the male IC1 suspect…’ as you could hope to hear.

Insider knowledge is what gives him the edge, highlighting how the politically-imposed culture of targets and procedure overrides common sense. It’s nothing to do with his stated subject, but the first-hand tale of a human head found on a riverbank is a brilliant example of the bleak gallows humour every police station must be awash with, and proves a strong closing routine.

He also has fascinating insight on policing large public gatherings, and how savvy protesters’ playfully subversive gambits to throw the cops off their stride can be surprisingly effective. He writes some good old-fashioned jokes to support his narrative, and the show is never less than interesting. But a bit more on the personal anecdotes and a sharpening up of the peripheral research would make this an even more arresting hour.

Review date: 13 Feb 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Leicester Kayal

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