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Liam Mullonel: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

As always, Liam Mullone has some intelligent, incisive comments on British society –  although this year’s offering doesn’t consistently marry that with belly-laughs; making A Land Fit For Fuckwits sometimes seem like a State Of The Nation speech from a wittily grumpy misanthrope.

It’s an unfortunate coincidence that at one point he speaks of the accumulation of clutter, as that seems to be a characteristic of the show, too. Mullone’s too savvy a writer not to tie up most of the disparate elements into some sort of narrative conclusion, but it’s not 100 per cent convincing.

Strangely, this is a show that is better in retrospect than at the time. It’s dense with ideas and observations that will lurk in your consciousness, though at the time they often fall into the ‘more interesting than funny’ category.

Some individual elements shine brightly: his description of the tyrannical order of a wedding day, described as The Kingdom Of Us, is bang on the money; while his demolition of his wife’s picky, ‘controlling bigot’ of a friend demanding an unattainable ‘purity’ in donor sperm while seeking artificial insemination is deliciously blunt.

As you may have guessed from the title, Mullone does not have much time for the feckless and the ignorant he encounters day-to-day: from the preposterously PC ex, to those who need adverts to tell them rape is a no-no. He thinks the working class are rubbish and his own middle class, too, come to mention it. But not for the usual clichés of hummus and pretentious children’s names – Mullone’s too cerebral for that – but for absolving themselves of any responsibility for anything.  Meanwhile, especially sarcastic opprobrium is afforded the EastEnders scriptwriters, who have created a world of terrifyingly short life-expectancy (DeceasedEnders?)

Mullone is a stickler for logical solutions to the mire he thinks we’re stuck in, and he has a bold idea that would solve the world’s problems and create, literally, one big melting pot. It’s the sort of grand premise upon which  a dystopian sci-fi novel might be constructed, and indicative of the intellectual ambition Mullone possesses.

The laughs could be more readily forthcoming, but in terms of creating comedy with thought and purpose, Mullone is one of the good guys. And certainly better he be a comic than global dictator… that almost certainly wouldn’t work out.

Review date: 24 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Stand 3 and 4

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