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Marek Larwood: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

As a part of seminal Edinburgh sketch group  We Are Klang - indeed in almost everything he's ever done - Marek Larwood has been the fall guy; the unfortunate dim-witted gimp suffering all manner of humiliating indignities for the sake of a laugh.

Well, now he stands up for himself and proves he doesn't need anyone else: he's more than capable of looking a dick entirely on his own. Of course all this comes in the name of trying to retain his dignity – the plight of every slapstick victim.

Disturbed by an incident of self-googling which revealed the most common search term involving his name was 'Marek Larwood retarded', he sets out to prove his acting versatility so that he may never again fall victim to the horrific disease of typecast.

So the stage is set for various showcases, each demonstrating a string to his bow; whether it be his vast repertoire of accents, an emotional range; his ability to think on his feet in a panel show environment; or his skill in  creating a 'Michael McIntosh' friendly stand-up set. All of wish he naturally excels at. In his own mind.

For the first time he gets his own put-upon sidekick, in the form of a dour Sophie Black, although it's not long before she  cracks and seeks her humiliating comeuppance.

Larwood's commitment to looking ridiculous the name of comedy cannot be overstated; and he creates some memorably ridiculous moments here as his decorum flushes down the U-bend.

The climax is a gloriously wrong as you might expect; although his tackily home-made Steven Segal ‘instant face actor’ doesn’t quite deliver the laughs until he gets some unfortunate in the audience to help him with his balls…

It’s not all broad physical comedy, although that’s Larwood’s forte. His stand-up routine, proudly free of material, is a nice satire on the blandness infecting some areas of the circuit – while his increasing frustrations at his inability to improvise in the mock panel shows the comic power of anger.

Rigidity isn't his friend, though, and the format often seems to hold him back a bit. We'd love to see him properly off the leash, but the dilemma is that to best demonstrate his oddness he also needs some form of order - or preferably authority, which is absent here.

Still, it’s an entertaining slice of early-evening bonkers.

Review date: 9 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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