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Danny Buckler: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a witty, neatly constructed, feelgood story in which long-time comic, but first-time Fringer, Danny Buckler ponders the ups and downs of his love life, drawing comparisons with the bemasked antihero of Phantom Of The Opera.

Stated as baldly as that, it seems a blunt contrivance, but Buckler has a light touch and a disarming delivery which combine to weave the strands together naturally.

There is a touch – just a touch – of the Tony Hancock about his demeanour. He’s an artiste trapped in a world of oikish philistines, but in Woking rather than East Cheam, trying to be suave and gallant, if rarely successfully.

It almost goes without saying for a man who performs in velvet waistcoat and silk scarf – a very bold fashion statement in the sweaty confines of the Caves – that he’s a bit camp (though straight). The fact he tied his story to a piece of musical theatre which he adored as a child might be another giveaway.

Thus his stance is of the romantic artist, feeling no one could possibly understand his pure heart – just like the disfigured, disturbed but charismatic genius at the heart of Phantom.

Charismatic is the only one of those adjectives that rightly applies to Buckler. He’s actually a bit of an everyman for those who don’t buy into the laddish culture of drunkenly pulling in nightclubs.

Nor is he a genius, though he is more than solidly good here. The show might be nothing more ambitious than a cheerful run through his life and doomed loves, pulling in a bit of warm nostalgia for the Saturday-night telly of his youth, but it’s done with the craftsmanship of an old pro.

The quick pace never flags, and the story is always driving on towards the next pithy observation or confessional gag – so the time just zips by. Before you know it, he’s recounting his long-awaited visit to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical which turns,  like so many of his relationships, to disappointment.

No such fate will befall audience of this nicely-executed show, which might  not be groundbreaking, but is charming and sure to raise the spirits.

Review date: 6 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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