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Mr Susan's Cheeky Flippin' Nice – Edinburgh Festival review
Mark Davison's barmy free show is as lo-fi as lo-fi can get and a lot of fun too
There's a man on stage repeatedly kicking an inflatable monkey in the face. He (the man) is probably about 40, not entirely svelte, he's wearing a tight lilac 70s deep-cut top with wings, and he's got handlebar moustache and chunky sideburns. A kind of Aldi Freddie Mercury. There here are 5 people in the audience, and I think one of the might be the act's "entourage". We are firmly in the fringe of the Fringe.
And it's really a rather fun place to be. The man is Mark Davison, and he's walking the line between good weird and bad weird. It's mostly the former, mainly because he is clearly having a whale of a time himself. The worst thing a surreal comic can do is to lose heart, and Davison is totally unfazed by the lack of audience, throwing himself into his task.
He introduces himself as having travelled there from outer space and from the future, which doesn't particularly have much bearing on the show other than justify the lunacy. The stage is littered with cheap (mainly children's) props, which he deploys for his various routines, songs and dances. Some props, intriguingly, go unused. The lo-fi nature of it all sometimes holds it back, but not so much as to undermine the fun and charm that it also brings.
He has a wonderful way with what audience is there, encouraging three cheerful Scottish men in the front row to get involved, charming the one woman and being outwardly hostile towards one man who he insists is so "ugly bugly" he must have been in a fire.
He is constantly playing with language (always in an eastern European language, by the way), notably during his "Meaning of Liff"-style compendium of new words he introduces us to, such as "newd" (for someone who's never been nude before) and "wee-why" (a wee without conviction).
By the time we get to the show's climax – a game show where one of the audience gets to adopt the aforementioned monkey – we are all involved, playing instruments or roaring the theme tune, all quite happily it seems (except for Ugly Bugly Josh, who's only just about convinced by the whole thing).
All in all a highly enjoyable 45 minutes.
Review written by Paul Fleckney