Colin Chadwick: War Of Words | Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Colin Chadwick: War Of Words

Note: This review is from 2014

Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Colin Chadwick had had to make his own projection screen at the Hobgoblin, so inventively plastered the wall with kitchen towel. So whatever happens on stage, there’s at least something thoroughly absorbing in the show.

Whether he should have bothered is a moot point, for like many newer comedians, the screen is merely a crutch for his wobbly confidence, and largely a detracting distraction from the words.

At his best, Chadwick needs no such support, as he shows the same offbeat creativity in joke-writing as he does in impromptu screen construction. Yet this is also one of those many ‘walk-before-he-can-run’ fringe shows, where ten to 15 minutes of strong material from a promising newcomer has to bear the heavy weight of the rest.

The first sign of weakness is the character he adopts to be his own warm-up act. The idea of Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat games doing stand-up is an alluring one, but the execution is a mess. He starts, for example, by telling us catchphrases he’s trying out, which are projected on the screen like the bullet points from the quarterly sales meeting, then various possible show posters – all of which, inexplicably, have him posing with an ironing board. Had Chadwick grasped the nettle and done a bold set worthy of a killer ninja, rather than this self-apologetic mumble of a routine, the results could have been excellent.

The same uncertainty underpins the routines performed as himself. When he delivers a well-crafted gag, of which he has several, the energy lifts; but stories about his family are far too wordy. Ironically for a show called War Of Words, he needs to slaughter a lot of them.

Similarly, a too-long section where he shows a selection of newspaper personal ads (remember them?) is done with a light touch, but is decidedly underpowered. If you sat around with your mates and a classified section, you’d probably do just as well.

The philosophies used to bind the Irish comic’s material – largely about how the internet is damaging our ability to communicate on a personal level – are astute, but never delivered with the conviction of a persuasive orator. Yet with more work, and more time, Chadwick could be a distinctive voice, as the man can certainly write a gag. It’s easier said than done, but he just has to write more of them.

Review date: 19 May 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Hobgoblin

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