I feel a particular ambivalence toward review and criticism. While I have used them in the past to filter my consumption, I’ve also found myself incredulous at what has appeared, very plainly, as some sadistic lashing by a critic on a bad day. Maybe they got a parking ticket, maybe their wife left them – I dunno. All I know is that ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ is a great album. Incidentally, I also feel that ‘Ad Astra’ was not a good film, so are there any right answers? 

No. No, there are not. Therefore, I find myself in something of a quagmire (giggity) in regards to Komedia’s recent showing: ‘Stand-Up History Brighton’. I don’t know, either, if this is something of a moral quandary or an ego quandary. Perhaps my desire not to slate the show is due to a sensitivity in regards to the performer’s artistic struggle. However, it may be as much a fear of being on the wrong side of history (get it?). I don’t want to be one of those who dismiss Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ only to rediscover its excellence. I made this mistake with Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’. Never again. No. 

Seeing as I’m halfway through the word count, I may as well start reviewing the show, then. 

When a history-themed comedy show starts forty minutes late, the performers have the perfect crux. Time is literally on their side, and through it wasn’t, it was. The first gag made me titter. It was something to do with history, and time, funny! 

Apart from this, the opening felt weak. There were elements to the routine that just didn’t abide to the standards of a stand-up ‘bit’. On top of this, the anecdotes seemed more appropriate as asides at a dinner party than as something genuinely funny, but I suppose the performer may have been thrown off by the late arrival. Perhaps. 

The part of the performance that genuinely felt worth arriving for was the main act, the history bit. The main presenter’s endearing performance of buffoonery, offset by sharp philosophical and historical insights, admissions to the set’s anglo-centricity, for example, evoked actual laughter. Overall, the show had the sense of something particularly modern, what I would term ‘meme-illogical’. The implied nature of the performer, that he was clever, though perhaps socially inept, tied-in perfectly with what were, essentially, meme-gags. A point of ridiculousness was established from the outset (the Parasaurolophus, a dinosaur, having an adaptation to be used as a water-jug), and grows more absurd till it may be used as a plot point (the dinosaur reappearing at the climax to fill up the ‘historical-coverage gauge’ which, it reveals, only reads 1%).

This, I feel, could be the stirrings of a resurgence in the Pythonesque, which the internet, aside from certain blinkered spheres, champions. I regret to state, however, that its resurgence may have different characters at the helm. They were good, though. Certainly good. Go see it. It’s not for me to dissuade. 

I think this may be the last review I write. 



Categories: Arts News Theatre

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