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Puppy Love

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

A welcome and genuinely unexpected discovery at last year's Fringe, Andrew Clover is back - and this time with bigger hype, bigger expectations and a bigger venue.

But he is the sort of performer who can fill any space - nothing can really hope to contain this expansive, passionate and utterly charismatic powerhouse of delivery.

This year's show is much closer to stand-up than the one-man drama that wowed the festival last year.

Indeed, the first half hour or so is incredibly familiar in style and content, as he chats to the audience and talks about aspects of his life like a hundred other comics on the Fringe. It's decent stuff, but nothing that extraordinary.

But then the whole show explodes as Clover unleashes his devilishly manic side. Climbing furniture, shredding clothes, desperately ranting. It's a heartfelt outpouring that you can't keep your eyes off.

Then, as suddenly as this tornado of activity started, it stops. The mood is suppressed. "And relax," as the familiar stand-up standard goes.

But Clover takes it further, with a genuine relaxation exercise - a tried and tested positive thinking technique to get the audience into a blissful state.

This all smacks of trickery, though. No matter how impressive the finale - and impressive it certainly is - there's the nagging doubt that you've been cheated, hypnotised almost, into feeling good.

But it works, and the workaday first half is soon a distant memory as the life-affirming climax lifts the soul. No one will ever leave this show without a beaming grin on their face, that's for sure.

Review date: 1 Jan 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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