Edward Aczel Lives in a Meaningless Shed | Review by Nione Meakin
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Edward Aczel Lives in a Meaningless Shed

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Nione Meakin

It’s come to something when one feels relieved to see Edward Aczel, a comic who fails to conform to most aspects of the job description. But in a scene saturated with inoffensive, TV-friendly, people-pleasing stand-ups, this monotonous, socially awkward marketing manager from Aylesbury offers an offbeat palate-cleanser.

Aczel, as most surely know by now, doesn’t really do comedy. Flipcharts, crashing non-sequiturs, assessments of the show’s failures – tick, tick, tick. But comedy? Well, let’s just say his idea of banter is asking who in the audience has had an ear infection. That’s the joke of course – he’s an unfunny comedian – but he keeps it up with such grim determination that it’s not always clear exactly who or what we’re laughing at.

It’s a difficult shtick to maintain and in previous shows, the lethargy has seeped from stage to audience. There’s only so long anyone can sit in a hot room listening to a man droning on about obscure historical facts before their eyelids start to droop. But this show sees Aczel’s drop-deadpan develop into a more considered absurdism that engages against all his best efforts.

Undeterred by his obvious unsuitability for dispensing self-help advice, he attempts to discover the meaning of life through Venn diagrams, invites an audience member to read a script which he then refuses to respond to, and stands sweating in a corner while we watch his videoed attempts at a love song. 

The question, as always, is why? And the fact there is no answer is what makes him so inexplicably refreshing. This is a man driving with no road map and a steering wheel that’s come off in his hands, a man who collects punchlines orphaned from their set-ups and regrets the fact he decided to leave out a section about mumbling. I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy Edward Aczel but you certainly won’t see anyone else like him on this year’s Fringe. Hooray.

Review date: 17 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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