Cufflinks & Jolly Ranchers for Dummies

Note: This review is from 2006

Ranney's stand-up Inspiration is poor indeed ­ evil Bush, oral sex, farting, even an extended Star Wars routine revolving about the mandatory Yoda impression. Imagine if he was a pimp! Hilarious!

But the way he tells it is impeccable; he's a master of rhythms, of energy, of vocal dexterity, all artfully employed to compelling effect. There may have only been four of us in the room, but we were transfixed as he relentless paced the stage.

It comes as no surprise to learn he's also a poet, and one of the players behind the Fringe's hip-hop hit of 2002, The Bombity Of Errors. The way he uses language is unmatched ­ and when he steps away from attempting comedy and into the realm of straightforward spoken word performance, the effect is incredible.

At the two-thirds point, where most Fringe shows lull, he gives us a mesmerising poem; at other points he raps, or sings powerfully a stirring spiritual number. And at the end, he passionately sets out his own world view, simultaneously apocalyptic and uplifting. The world's doomed, we won't change our behaviour to avert it, so we might as well live for the moment is the climactic conclusion. It's complex, dizzying and cathartic ­ a universal theory attempting to make sense of all that's going on in the world.

But the strong beliefs behind this profound, forceful rhetoric isn't reflected in his workaday stand-up, which too quick to push the buttons and goes for the obvious. If only he could find a way to make his visionary opinion into something funny, his faultless, fiery delivery will ensure the result is an amazing experience. But at the moment, this oddly titled show is way too patchy to be anything more than an interesting diversion.

Review date: 10 Aug 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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