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Tim Fitzhigham: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Nione Meakin

Tim Fitzhigham’s wife must long for the day he takes up golf or fishing. His ceaseless quest for madcap adventure has seen the Fringe veteran row bathtubs down the Channel, inflate giant balloons and now, attempt to send a message 50 miles in under an hour, only using methods available in the 18th Century.

How much you will enjoy this show depends largely on how interested you are in that proposition. Fitzhigham is a charmingly raffish raconteur but it can seem a long hour if you don’t share his enthusiasm and doggedness for silly challenges, asthis is essentially a blow-by-blow account of his thought process with video evidence to show his workings.

After making the bet with pal Alex Horne – whose dry demeanour proves a nice counterpoint to his friend’s plummy effusiveness – Fitzhigham proves relentless in his attempts to win, and embarks on a journey that takes in cricket matches with various name-checked comedy friends, conversations with the Army, a range of homemade contraptions, niche history, a lot of maths and, of course, pigeons.

Wide-eyed, high-speed recollections are interspersed with illustrative video and audio clips, including a lovely animation that accompanies an equally delightful phone call in which Fitzhigham attempts to procure a cannon.

But I’ve never been convinced by this style of live comedy documentary, which seems better suited to television, and Fitzhigham does little to change that. Although he spins a good yarn, the comedy is incidental – it’s hard to get away from the suspicion stand-up is just the way Fitzhigham justifies his engineered high-jinks.

Still, there is plenty to like about this show, an endearing example of the fine tradition of English upper-class eccentricity.

Review date: 12 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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