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Paul Ricketts: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Paul Ricketts is a cool man - he has the hat, the beard, and the jokes. Confident in his delivery, the set is mainly anecdotes and musings on life told in an engaging conversational style. This is an older brand of comedy; a point made clear by a parody of the younger generation of comics, complete with skinny jeans.

The show opens with a wry joke about the constant disputes between the free and paid/alternative and mainstream fringes, told with a sense of weariness which culminates in resignation when it turns out not a single audience member found the show via flyering.

This is old-school pure comedy, free of gimmicks or life lessons and instead focusing on great gags and knockout punchlines. At one point he relates an anecdote where a promoter told him ‘being funny isn't enough’, but luckily in this case it absolutely is.

There's a lot of politically driven material, focusing on the riots and social change - with a fantastic audience-participation re-enactment of the Leveson inquiry. There's also segments on race, consumerism, and growing up. Nobody would describe the subject choices as groundbreaking, and it's not especially clever – but then again that seems to be the point.

This comedic ideological stance is simultaneously the greatest strength and weakness of the show. It's admirable to stick to good old-fashioned comedy in the purest sense, but it also means there's no running narrative or things to ponder once the lights go up. It's definitely great for a change, but there's a reason comedy has evolved past this and you wouldn't want every set to follow this path.

Proceedings end on a darker note, with Ricketts detailing a story from the days when he worked in a warehouse: involving a homophobic assault on a worker. It's told emotively, with fantastic voice work, and ends with a big punchline. It's a fitting ending, acting as the ultimate example of how comedy can be found in any situation without the need for big ideas or set pieces.

Review date: 14 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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