Nathan Lang: The Stuntman | Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Nathan Lang: The Stuntman

Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Nathan Lang’s The Stuntman is advertised as being suitable for a 12+ age group, which seems misguided. For this is pretty much a kids’ show, and one which doesn’t quite have enough invention to transcend that. 

Certainly the under-tens in the audience – whose parents clearly don’t pay much heed to age recommendations – seemed to love his mucking about. But adults who see it billed in the regular comedy section of the Fringe programme might find thrills harder to discover.

We are largely expected to indulge Australian Lang – who still bills himself as the guy who played Pinhead in nine episodes of Neighbours two decades ago – as he play-acts in a world of his own, sometimes emerging from an underwater elevator (don’t ask) for various random scenes. And although his world is slightly odd, there’s little creative flourish in his execution For example, a skit that ends with him in prison is resolved by him simply tunnelling out, Shawshank Redemption style. When the only limit is imagination, that seems very prosaic.

These scenes are padded around the simple central notion of his titular daredevil, complete with jumpsuit and protective helmet. The stunts he performs in this guise are of the deliberately unimpressive ‘ooh I could crush a grape’ variety, before he mimes an Evel Knievel attempt to leap his imaginary motorcycle over the audience. 

The bid fails, leaving him incapacitated (and the room drenched in smoke which never clears). As he tries to reprise the earlier skits, but now restricted by his arms being in plaster is the funniest moment of the show.

Then we’re introduced to a faith healer – a boilerplate American evangelical preacher parody – who lays his hands on various afflicted people in the audience, repeating the same half-gag several times to decreasing effect. Finally our man is cured, and the show is over.

Lang, who is also half of sketch comedy duo Jon & Nath, is reasonably skilled at acting out all his pieces, but with little wild innovation or much for the audience to invest in, the result is disappointingly flat. With a Fringe world full of clown shows, there’s certain irony that a show called The Stuntman isn’t taking too many risks artistically.

Review date: 14 May 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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