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Nick Page: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Nick Page has screwed his life up so royally that it seems he’d have enough material for a dozen Edinburgh shows.

Professionally, his stint as the presenter of a daytime TV property show ended in ignominy for his outrageous behaviour in hotels; personally he has racked up three broken marriages and seven unfulfilled engagements; and financially he was convicted of a £248,000 fraud.

So he’s got quite a lot of ground to cover in an hour, and fair races through it. An incident involving a Ukranian prostitute, his ‘fuck buddy’ and a broken rocking horse could be entire foundation of many comic’s hours, but here it is dispatched in a brisk paragraph. The sheer weight of shameful stories to get though gives the show an urgency, even though his delivery is relatively deadpan, as he careers through his catalogue of mistakes like a presenter reading the football scores.

Page admits he’s been a jerk – and worse – though maintains a sort of ‘loveable rouge’ demeanour, even though some of those on the receiving end of his behaviour (one of those ex-wives in particular) would probably describe things in much stronger terms. His  charm is, however, tempered by an unbecoming ‘poor me’ subtext – complaining about other, more successful comedians, or thinking he wasn’t ‘London’ enough for proper TV fame – hitting at a nagging bitterness even though he knows it’s his own actions that have landed him where he is. Still, there’s a huge amount of vicarious pleasure to be had in hearing his tales of drunken debauchery, however briskly or superficially covered.

It’s the fraud trial and its consequences, however, that form the best routine of this strong show. When he engages in horse-trading with the courts over his sentence and the reparations he must make over the proceeds of crime, the negotiations take turns into the astounding levels of nonsensical self-defeating logic that only officialdom can conjure up.

He’s got so many stories that  some of the more straightforward stand-up material, such as getting a back wax or a self-aggrandising story of performing to the troops in Afghanistan, doesn’t seem to earn its place in the packed hour, but it’s crowd-pleasing enough.

It’s an impressive debut; though I hesitate to make too many predictions about his comedy future. With his track record he’s sure to screw it up.

Review date: 20 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Shack Comedy Club & Nightclub

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