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Edinburgh Review: Andrew Maxwell

Monday, August 17 2009

Andrew Maxwell has set high standards over the years, says Julian Hall, and The Lamp doesn't live up to them.

Since covering my second festival in 2004 no Fringe has been complete without a trip to see the feted Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell - the Perrier winner that got away.

Generally a banker (in the good way) Max, as he is known to his coterie, has not had the easiest of years, earning himself an unprecedented one star for review for a show where he finished fifteen minutes early only to return to the stage to pad out the remaining time.

Timing has not been his only problem though, as it has been suggested that The Lamp is akin to a greatest hits compilation. It is true that there is some old material here but fortunately this skittish show contains some superb set pieces including one that likens using internet porn to an image of Slobodan Milosovic being prosecuted for war crimes at The Hague and a riff on paedophiles that elicits one of his best lines of the evening: “I am not impressed by sweets anymore – I like city breaks.”

Ultimately by Maxwell’s standards this is a lazy show and his finale, opening a petrushka doll, is ludicrous to say the least. Every so often Maxwell is the wrong side of being a clown, the word he chooses to ascribe to his profession, but here he narrowly avoids being red-faced as well as red-nosed.

Three stars

The Lamp is on until August 30 (except 19) at 9pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Click here for tickets.


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