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Matthew Crosby: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Corry Shaw

One third of the hugely successful sketch troupe Pappy’s returns with his second Edinburgh hour – and what a treat it is. Crosby’s skills have been well-honed over his sketch past and this year’s offering is showing the promise of an equally successful solo career.

Crosby is completely at ease on stage with the ability to ad lib and banter with his crowd, a skill that can sometimes be lacking in some other sketch defectors used to sticking to scripts. In fact he encourages audience interaction, finding someone in the front row that matches him in nerdiness as he launches into his narrative about his obsession with the internet and all things geek.

He’s tried to improve his life, going as far to rely on the site WikiHow to garner the answers to the big questions. As the site is edited by the public he sometimes finds more than he bargained for.

A lesser comic could have spent an hour just going through the ridiculous subjects covered on the site, Crosby however limits his ‘aren’t the general public stupid?’ section to a few examples and a teeny bit more audience interaction.  

Because he is such a non-threatening presence (he points out how his diminutive stature affects him later in the show) his audience are more than happy to join in with the fun. Crosby never once loses control or slips of track and it is clear that we are in safe, fabulously funny hands.

The main question Crosby is looking to be answered looms throughout. ‘How Do I Have A Better Life?’ He guides us through the various steps that WikiHow suggests, some more helpful than others. His skewed view on this advice and the world reveals humour, much of it presented via the Fringe performer’s best friend...the PowerPoint slide show. He utilises this to great effect, providing one of the biggest laughs on the Fringe so far with the appearance of Ron McCombe – though you’ll need to see the show to find out who he is.

This is a superbly structured hour with Crosby using his eye for format and direction to ensure good pacing and flow, to create a close to perfect show.

The one letdown was the finale which had the taint of desperation for a ‘closer’ to wrap up what was an otherwise flawless offering. It was such a flimsy and lazy callback which stunk of student sketch that it was disappointing enough to lose Crosby the fifth star he was so close to obtaining.

Review date: 12 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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