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Edinburgh Festival review – Jeremy Lion

Wednesday, August 18 2010

Boozing children's entertainer Jeremy Lion provides some truly memorable moments in this send up of primary school adutainment, writes Ben Clover.

Jeremy Lion

Thespians call a particularly impressive feat of stagecraft a “coup de theatre”. It can be the set turning from a spaceship to an English country garden or something a bit acrobatic from one of the actors. I only mention this because Jeremy Lion Goes Green ends with an impressive and disturbing coup de pub theatre.

He really does seem to open and drink at least half of the ten green bottles he is singing about, although you hope the Advocaat is faked. The multiple neckings must give creator and The Thick of It star Justin Edwards a head start over the other comics at the bar.

The feat comes at the finale of a show which sees drunken children’s entertainer Lion performing his new play about how he learned the error of his environmentally-antisocial ways.

Like earlier Jeremy Lion shows it’s a very funny send-up of mawkish primary school edutainment that “talks about issues”. The added horror-laughs come from seeing the hiding places and sleights of hand the alcoholic uses to keep himself refreshed during the performance.

The play sees Lion transported, Scrooge-like, to different locations where he encounters a scene of ecological destruction and tries to sing a song about it. These drunken shambles, accompanied on the piano by a straightfaced Hilary Cox, are part of the fun.

Although most of the laughs come from the belching, red-faced Lion, his cirrhosis and neuroses, the set pieces are beautifully staged. The rainforest scene will probably survive longer in my memory than the actual rainforests do in Brazil.

Especial kudos must go to whoever did the costumes, the final outfit in particular conjuring both the Knights Templar and super-strength cider. A triumph and a good show to get an evening on the Fringe going.

Four stars

Jeremy Lion Goes Green is on at 8.20 at the Pleasance Dome, click here for booking.


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