Adam Larter: L'Art Nouveau | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Adam Larter: L'Art Nouveau

Note: This review is from 2017

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

By the end of Adam Larter’s show, his venue looks as if there’s been a minor explosion at the cardboard recycling point behind Tesco.

The floor is littered with all the home-made props he needs for this hour of lo-fi madness. The script is almost as messy as the room, too, a cascading sequence of daft set pieces, songs, sketches, games – and of course sight gags. 

He’s thematically linked some of them by using Pringles cans and the moustachioed face of Julius Pringles, their logo, whenever he is able. Anyone expecting a show themed around a turn-of-the 20th-century artistic movement (and that may have included the unsmiling arms-folded man across the aisle from me) might be a tad disappointed that potato-based snack products have a far more prominent role.

There is some great invention in some of this balderdash. A version of pass-the-parcel, especially, is unforgettable - a very literal comeback to anyone who dares suggest there are no layers to Larter’s work.

Elsewhere, you fear Larter will come a cropper as he replicates a video game; his Weirdos pal Joz Norris makes an appearance as a crone who hasn’t learnt her lines to warn of trouble ahead;  and he offers a (naturally) prop-based interpretation of  the Seal hit Kiss From A Rose. And that’s only about four minutes of the 60. 

His revised version of Born To Be Wild suggesting alternative ways of serving food beyond the boring old plate is a manic version of all the lyric-swap song parodies you’ve seen, illustrated with cardboard cutouts.  And for fans of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, there’s the best ‘one song to the tune of another’ which you’ll not see coming.

Some bits just don’t make any sense – why is Uncle Albert from Only Fools And Horses on the X-ray machine? – even within the context of a show whose central ideas are already preposterous, and could probably benefit from more cohesion.

It’s super-busy, possibly because the nonsense is sustained by Larter’s manic momentum. Maybe he fears that should he slow for just one moment, we’ll suddenly see the show as an empty vessel. It’s hard to know, and we’ll certainly never find out.

Additionally, he’ll debase himself for our entertainment pleasure… though quite how his attempt to make cheese in his own stomach is ‘entertainment’, is open to question. His girlfriend apparently advised he stop subjecting his guts to such abuse - but Larter believes in suffering for his art. 

His audience don’t suffer, though they may get dizzy at all the strangeness swirling around their heads. Larter could probably do with contriving a purpose for all this agreeable chaos and sticking with it – for while few candidates present themselves here, they all end up abandoned. But you can’t deny he provides silly spectacle on a budget.

Review date: 28 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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