Ed Gamble: Stampede | Review by Steve Bennett
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Ed Gamble: Stampede

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Ed Gamble’s one of the best comperes around, a quick thinker with energy and a winning personality. But in this stand-up show those qualities aren’t backed up with notable material. Stampede only runs for 45 minutes, very short for a man doing his 11th Fringe, yet still light on great ideas.

The show, his fourth solo outing, is essentially about food and diet from his position as a once-chubby – but more jolly – man. That offers a few nice lines about him being undercover in the world of the slim while still thinking like a fat guy. (And, incidentally, a gag about his premature ageing is probably the best in the show)

But when we are plunged into the world of food blogs and diet advice, the jokes become easy pickings, for the idea that you can replace rice with cauliflower without noticing virtually mocks itself. Yet this slightest of observations forms the through line for the bulk of the show, and the audience (understandably) never properly tucked in. Self-aware gags insisting he has more depth and scope than this don’t work when we not entirely sure he has.

That’s not to say he hasn’t got other routines, but it’s never too long til we’re back to the damn cauliflower. Observations about the macho marketing of beauty products to men is pretty astute, though they spin off into a surreal act-out of moisturising a bulldog that didn’t come across convincingly – you could almost feel the writing process rather that it appearing a genuine flight of fancy. The audience certainly weren’t buying it.

Then there’s the idea of why ‘pussy’ should mean coward, given what the vagina has to endure (acted out at length, though again with little buy-in from a Tuesday crowd), and how come ‘balls’ came to mean strength. But comparing genitalia in this way seems old hat.

Stampede feels like a show that’s coasting, the fact that the title has nothing to do with the content perhaps a signifier that it was put together late in the day. Gamble’s inherently good enough a comic to get away with coasting, but is also capable of so much more. Ironically for a man who lost six stone, the show feels too thin.

Review date: 26 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

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