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Chris McCausland: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

This is mild mannered, cosy, and insufferably boring. McCausland is likeable, but he has a self-confessed lack of stage presence. The rhythm wasn't there even if a lot of ideas and potential were.

The set started with a segment about successive failed school nativities, each of relied on visualising increasingly awkward moments. The stories were of the funny childhood nostalgia variety, but delivered with all the energy of a paraplegic sloth.

The set was sluggish, unbearably so, like watching chronic fatigue sufferer run the marathon. Time slowed down and I started to forget life before the show. Then came a 25 minute rant about the Paralympics being effectively pointless. McCasuland, who is blind, made a good argument, and then made it again, and again, and then a weaker variation on the same theme. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The never-ending rehash, like a softly-spoken broken record on loop, may have been therapeutic self-justification, or maybe he didn't think the audience were invested in the premise. We weren't, but it was less a lack of understanding and more abject apathy as the set slowly slid into a ditch.

Heartfelt musings on social issues are perfectly fine if they're wrapped up in jokes; going several minutes without any is in danger of no longer being comedy. Having five audience members leave in as many minutes, with those remaining nodding in solidarity, is a near-fatal blow to this kind of performance.

There was potential for an tour-de-force of original material about false sympathy for the disabled, showbiz box-ticking, and harsh truths about the nature of ambition. Instead, we get a sinking ship of  repetitive rants that leave you exhausted.

Review date: 5 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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