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The Wonderful World of Wilfredo – Edinburgh Festival review

Saturday, August 18 2012

Half Brian Gittins, half Tony Ferrino, Wilfredo serves up a comedy-cabaret show that's a tranquiliser dart among the hurly-burly of the Fringe, says Paul Fleckney


My first time seeing Wilfredo, the creation of Matt Roper that's half way between Brian Gittins and Tony Ferrino. As a comic persona he's utterly convincing, and seeks to dominate the room from the off, welcoming everyone at the door and chatting with/telling off with the audience, even needling a reviewer for taking notes.

He's a physically repellent but charming cabaret singer, with poetry in his soul and spittle on his lips – or on the front row if he gets a cough on. His trousers are nipple-high, and you could carve the 10 commandments onto his enormous teeth.

The songs are not out-and-out comedy but they are musically sophisticated and reinforce Wilfredo as the improbable seducer. H croons his way through songs of regret, seduction and nostalgia, accompanied by his guitarist Michael and the incessant squeaking of the Tron's various doors. Which highlights what a quiet show this often is. It's a far cry from the come-like-me and striving for laughs that you get with a lot of stand-up. This is a tranquilliser dart by comparison, a dreamy hour in which the laughs appear and die, at their own leisure. The fact that Wilfredo leads the room in a meditation session to combat the dreaded "40-minute dip" illustrates the point.

There is also some knockabout fun with some deliberately incompetent lighting changes, which seems incongruous beside the professionalism of the songs, and some tall tales including having an affair with Harriet Harman. On paper it seems like a mish mash, but Wilfredo holds our hand through the whole thing, tickling our palm at the same time and making everything alright.

4 stars

The Wonderful World of Wilfredo is on at 10.20pm at Just the Tonic Tron

Review written by Paul Fleckney


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