Seymour Mace: Shit Title | Review by Steve Bennett
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Seymour Mace: Shit Title

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s what the world of light entertainment’s been crying out for: a combination of cheesy gameshow and dark introspection on the wretchedness of loneliness and depression. Like having Sylvia Plath guest on Celebrity Juice.

Following his surprise – not last to him – nomination in last year’s awards, circuit stalwart Seymour Mace has returned to Edinburgh with very much more of the same: pound store props, wonky absurdity and delightfully shambolic performance.

Following a similar pattern to Niche As F*ck, we start with an audience participation gameshow, loosely modelled on the Generation Game (or at least just enough for Mace to give us his daft Brucie impression). However it’s definitely a lot more Shooting Stars, with impossible offbeat questions, cheap and surreal prizes, ludicrous get-up … and a Geordie accent.

Then there’s an allegedly ill-thought-through character, visually and physically ridiculous; another attempt to repopularise the disappearing name of Gary; a cardboard puppet theatre, and a stunt involving the first-floor window of The Stand 2, given this was the scene of what was widely received as being the finest moment of last year’s triumph.

He plays up the pressure he put himself under to recreate the magic of that stupid moment, the weight of expectation heavy on his shoulders. It’s one of several glimpses we get into his mental health issues, but seen through that same lens of carefree stupidity, the message being that the stage Mace is a very different creature from the offstage one.

To contrast against the light silliness of the gameshow, he shows us a visual representation of the dark fug that can surround him, and brutally exaggerates the genuine anxiety he feels about going on a date in a bid to kickstart his nonexistent romantic life. But this is not to put a dampener on the goofy tone of the show; rather he channels that foolishness to turn his demon into a preposterous laughing stock.

That means there’s no real danger of Shit Title – the only accurate show name on the Fringe, he claims – feeling anywhere near downbeat. Just to make sure, we end with a giddily inane singalong full of apparently meaningless joy. Bananas!

Review date: 6 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Stand 2

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