Richard Stott: Right Hand Man | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett © Steve Ullathorne
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Richard Stott: Right Hand Man

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Richard Stott jokes that as the only comedian on the Fringe who has had two of his toes grafted on to his hand to replace his fingers, at least some of his material has to be original.

He was born with Poland Syndrome, the same birth defect that gave Jeremy Beadle his withered hand and that also left Stott with no chest muscle on one side of his body. ‘Am I disabled?’ he asks, and isn’t quite sure of the answer. He can do almost everything the non-disabled can do, except shoelaces, but with the additional power of being able to extract lost items from narrow cracks.

Right Hand Man serves partly to share his personal experiences and to explain his condition – as described in a We Didn’t Start The Fire parody song – as well as raising wider issues.

These include whether non-disabled actors should be able to take disabled parts and calling out Donald Trump for mocking disabled journalist Serge Kovaleski. That this happened almost four years ago makes the routine feel dated, given that the President does at least one grossly offensive thing every day. Although forgetting this moment of cruel bullying is probably exactly what he wants us to do.

While one half of Stott’s show deals with his physical ailments, the other concerns the mind, as the comic speaks about his depression – a subject already shaping up to be one of the main talking points this festival.

Stott’s a likeable and confident guide through his life and an engaging raconteur when the need arises, most notably in a story about getting high on acid at a Stonehenge festival.

But for a comedy the show is often light on laughs. He can write a decent joke, with a couple of sterling lines to prove he point, but he also deploys some bad ones, the worst of which revolves around ‘a vacuum cleaner - it sucks’. Often, too, he just lets his stories speak for themselves without trying to inject much extra humour into them.

When he gets opinionated, whether it’s about the inequities disabled people face or a plea for us all to talk more to combat depression, Stott gets more emphatic in his speech, more strident in his tone and more determined in his movements. The show becomes a lot more theatrical, but it’s not entirely convincing, feeling more like a studied performance than a case of his emotions naturally boiling over.

Such melodrama notwithstanding, Right Hand Man offers an accessible and interesting insight into Stott’s life less ordinary, delivered in personable style.

Review date: 2 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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