Steve Parry: The Last Of The Famous International Amateurs | Brighton Fringe comedy review
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Steve Parry: The Last Of The Famous International Amateurs

Brighton Fringe comedy review

Steve Parry intends his show to be a celebration of amateurism in its true sense – done for love rather than money – rather than referring to a lack of polish. In truth, he exhibits a big chunk of both, though that’s no bad thing as his chaotic enthusiasm is a powerful engine for this loose but entertaining hour.

This Brighton Fringe show marks a return to stand-up after decades away. He always wanted to be a firebrand socialist iconoclast in the mould of Alexei Sayle or Mark Thomas – but ended up as a TV writer working on Naked Attraction and Gloria Hunniford’s daytime show. The revolution was put on hold.

Off the leash of the broadcasting mainstream, he takes to the stage with palpable glee to be back as well as a recklessness that he’s got nothing to prove and nothing to lose. This is alternative comedy as it was before it became commercialised: rough around the edges, influenced by a bit of left-wing agitprop, but honest, playful and from the heart. It’s an endearing mix, especially given Parry is such a positive, ebullient presence who makes an easy connection with his audience.

He mixes punkish songs and poetry with more apolitical stories from the coalface of light entertainment TV - such as the ill-judged decision to book Bez onto a primetime karaoke show. He doesn’t delve especially deeply into the selling of his soul into this corporate world, but doesn’t need to, either. 

The hour starts with a gag about his resemblance to Simply Red star Mick Hucknell. He soon acknowledges how hack that line is, but also the purpose it serves,  typical of his self-effacing style and appealing lack of artifice. The gag later proves the anchor for a callback, too, showing some craft lies behind the loose ‘just do it’ spirit of a middle-aged punk that Parry so enthusiastically encapsulates.

You’ll never see him on the sort of shiny-floor TV show he writes for, but in the here and now of a pub venue, it’s what grassroots comedy should be all about.

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Review date: 13 May 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton The Temple

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