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Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective

STAND UP COMEDY

Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Graham Dickson: Timber @ Underbelly

This extended stand-up comedy sketch is set in an alternative reality post-#MeToo Hollywood where all of the men have completed their transition into lecherous sexist monsters and the women have evacuated the place in disgust. However, one lone lady named Joan decides to head back into Los Angeles in order to track down an ageing movie icon nicknamed The Bear and find out exactly how the city’s men became so monstrous.

This all basically boils down to elastic-faced comic Graham Dickson playing an array of quirky characters and, from time to time, interacting and pranking with the audience. It’s a somewhat uneven show, albeit good fun when it does hit the mark. A Shakespeare parody advert for mattresses is a winner, as is a sketch involving a self-confessed male feminist conspiracy theorist taxi driver. His jokes involving audience participation are also intermittently amusing. Last night, there was one particularly memorable moment near the start when a guy sitting near the front was given two options related to how the show should continue and, well, he chose the “wrong” one, leading to some dagger-eyed consequences.

Unfortunately, too much of it is less hilarious than merely silly. A lot of it feels more like an excuse for Dickson to prat around and try on various American-accented caricatures than the razor-sharp satire promised by the premise (if that isn’t too much of a tongue-twister). The tantalising opening question which it asks about how everything got so fucked up in Hollywood is never answered in any satisfactory manner. Freya Slipper, another comedian with an act at the Fringe this year, makes an appearance at the end. However, her mock-theatrical scene with Dickson goes on for far too long.

Graham Dickson has obvious comic talent and, while this is my first experience of him, I am aware that he has made some well-received appearances at the Fringe during previous years. However, he only occasionally shines here.

Watch a video:

(N.B. This is a showreel for Graham Dickson and doesn’t necessarily represent the content of this year’s Fringe show.)

Rating: ☆☆1/2

Tickets are available from the following link:

Edinburgh Fringe 2018 logo

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MUSIC

Pussy Riot band

THEATRE

Prehistoric at Summerhall