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Luke McQueen: A Terrible Comedian

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a Fringe show like no other. Luke McQueen fearlessly serves up a weird, sometimes disconcerting, collection of dazzlingly original pieces that constantly pull the rug from under you.

It’s a woozy mix of anti-comedy, awkward audience participation and outlandish invention. McQueen commands the room with a mix of aggression and pathos, performing surreal skits with intense, disorientating conviction.

To describe too many of the elements would be to ruin the element of surprise that’s more important to this show than most. There are songs, an auction, bellicosely weird sketches that are almost certain to make his chosen victims squirm and more WTF? moments than you would reasonably expect. Rarely has the phrase 'expect the unexpected' been so apt.

McQueen has shades of vintage Johnny Vegas, and not because he performs largely stripped to the waist. There’s an inherent sadness in his back story, a misery he tries to exorcise by demanding love from the audience in too desperate and too combative a manner.

However McQueen’s persona’s not so consistent or well-rounded as Vegas’s. The randomness of the show keeps the audiences on their toes – and they are already in a high state alert for what madness may come next – but the oddness is in search of a purpose. There's not enough context to why he is doing most of the things he does, either in his personality or motivation, which is a big omission. All we know he’s failing as a comedian and becoming unhinged as a result.

In choosing such a challenging path, the risk of failure is high. So it’s no surprise that not all the bits work, but when they do, it’s a triumph of originality. The uneven nature of the show suggests McQueen’s whole act is still a work in progress, but this is certainly a confident stride on the road to brilliance.

If you like your comedy weird, this comes recommended, although there are probably not enough gateways into the material, or consistency of results, for more conservative tastes.

Review date: 16 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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