Matt Winning: Mugabe And Me (3D) | Review by Steve Bennett
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Matt Winning: Mugabe And Me (3D)

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Steve Bennett

Matt Winning certainly shows commitment to a joke. Not just the hundreds of pounds he’s spent on just one silly sight gag, but his entire Robert Mugabe obsession seems to have been born out of a couple of puns, and possibly the lovely way the Zimbabwean dictator’s name sounds in his particular Scottish brogue.

The premise here is that Winning is the President’s son, so to avoid following in his murderous footsteps, has embarked on a gap year tour where, among other things, he worked at Fifa and got to host top-rated Dutch TV show What’s That Pancake?

So you can take it that Mugabe And Me (3D) contains its share of tall tales, mixed with some sharply off-kilter one-liners, silly audience involvement - and even a Robert-Burns-style poem.

There’s strong distinctive writing here, but if the hour doesn’t gel as a coherent show, despite Winning weaving all the elements together in a preposterous, if loose, narrative. If you throw enough skits at the wall some of them will stick, seems to be the approach.

So while he has an on-point satirical gag about bankers; reading out online reviews of a kitchen bin is already starting to feel like his take an over-used trope. His thoughts on Top Gear are original and surreal, but acting out on them doesn't quite come off.

In delivery, he straddles the line nicely between being the oddball spouting nonsense and a more accessible comic making the surreal relateable. In this particular show, he also dealt effectively with the two punters who came in about 20 minutes late, then sat reading the Fringe programme in the front row. But it is the writing of strong, peculiar punchlines that is his forte.

Winning’s debut show has been a long time coming – it’s been five years since he was first a finalist in the Chortle Student Comedy Award with some of these self-same Mugabe jokes – yet some of the mucking about still feels a bit like padding. But the best of him is distinctive stuff.

Review date: 22 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Opium

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