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Marlon Davis: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

A relative newcomer to the circuit, Marlon Davis's Fringe debut shows an animated, relaxed comedian who is almost impossible to dislike.

The show got off to a rocky start as Davis tried crowd work with two burly, bald-headed men who alone had dared to sit on the front row. They looked confrontational and the jokes stumbled to awkwardness as a visibly wary Davis tried to direct attention elsewhere. Crowd work can be hard, and any performer must be able to deal with whoever's in front of them - after all, they hold the mic.

However, things picked up with the first story about arriving in Edinburgh hitting the mark. The whole audience knew his pain as he related being hoodwinked by the estate agent and living so far out he needed to purchase a bike. Moving swiftly into the bike story, it had the feel of the opening to a horror movie, with continuously increasingly levels of tension complete with the occasional gasp.

Davis is a fantastic storyteller: his disarming style warms you to him and his no-holds-barred approach to his self-deprecatory yarns allows you to laugh at his expense without any awkwardness.

The old adage of writing about what you know is usually embraced with open arms by young comics, and Davis is no exception, mainly sticking to the well-trodden ground of domestic life, love, and his son. It's sufficiently entertaining but it's nothing we've not seen before and is far from his strongest material.

The biggest laugh of the night came from a tale about his first stand-up gig, which was beautifully performed with enough hilarious imagery to reduce the crowd to tears. It is the mother of all embarrassing stories and surely dwarfs any other comic's tale of a gig gone wrong. It also shows Davis at his best, which makes us all the more aware of when he doesn't hit the mark.

The set is light-hearted and good natured, but suffers from predictable jokes and material. The style and delivery is all there, and in a room of 'funny story' tellers Davis surely has some of the funniest but there's a sense he could be more than this.

Review date: 23 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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