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Silky: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

For a comic doing his first Edinburgh run, Silky is remarkably experienced. He’s been performing for 18 years, which he calculates as around 3,600 gigs, seen by more than 640,000 people. Yet, much to his chagrin, he has only been recognised in the street three times in all those years.

That perhaps says more that he’d care to admit about his act. That he’s competent, but unexceptional – easy to blend into the background of a night. Perhaps even more so as he earns his bread and butter as a compere. ‘Quite funny’ was the verdict of one of the very few guys who did recognise him, and it’s hard to disagree with that faint praise.

Similarly, Nut Allergy does not feel anything like a show that’s been 18 years in the making. It’s an amiable chat, with its share of laughs, but for the most part fairly inconsequential stuff. He does quite a lot of material about the regions of these isles that audience members might come from – did I mention he was mainly a compere? – especially on the misplaced pride of his native Liverpool and the twisted lyricism of Welsh logic; and almost all his stories start ‘So I was doing this gig…’

Life on the road has, however, made him an expert on the physics of stand-up performances, and he explains how he can use gags with limited hit  rates to change the dynamics of the room. Interesting for the comedy geek but – aside from the actual example jokes – this might be too detailed for many.

Two things, however, elevate the show from ‘nice guy sharing mildly interesting stories’. One is his ability to improvise a more-than-serviceable comedy song from three elements suggested by the audience – a talent he hid under a bushel until relatively late in the show. It’s certainly better than the pre-prepared ditty about a pervert who uses crisp packets as condoms.

And then there’s the final routine, after which the show is named, in which Silky describes finding a lump in his testicle and the ensuing medical process. He’s not the first comic to get laughs from the  indignity of this awkward situation, made all the funnier because the stakes are so high, but he does it skilfully, employing well-developed storytelling skills to wrap up the hour nicely.

And if you do see him in the street, do say hello. It’ll do wonders for his self-esteem.

Review date: 21 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Stand 2

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