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Kate Roxburgh: Monkey Revolution
Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2011

4 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Hobgoblin (venue website)
11-13, 18-20, 25-27 May, 4:00pm-5:00pm
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.
 Free show. No ticket needed unless otherwise stated above.

Kate Roxburgh’s show is one of the most beguiling, maddening, and illogical experiences you will get in Brighton this year – and if you can keep up with it, it’s also one of the funniest.


For a start, it’s not really clear why the show is called Monkey Revolution – she’s quite clear that she doesn’t believe in monkeys anymore.  This is one of many throw-away lines which lead us on a convoluted journey through a twisting labyrinth of language, taking in dog-killing wizards and puppet shows in Reese Witherspoon’s house.

Many Fringe stand-ups tell a story through an almost formalised narrative, going through premise, action and ultimately discovery.  Roxburgh’s piece is pretty much all action, with little sense of plot or direction.  That’s not wholly a bad thing – what we get instead is an absurdist parade joined together by linguistic legerdemain, frequent non-sequiturs, and some plain old-fashioned bad jokes.

There is a longer set-piece towards the end, as madcap as the rest of the act, but working outside any conventional structure means the ending felt a little abrupt.  Your reaction to this show will also be heavily coloured by personal taste: I greatly enjoyed the fantastic and bizarre nature of Roxburgh’s tales, but I can easily imagine that others will find it hard work.

The sheer inventiveness displayed by Kate Roxburgh deserves credit though, and this deeply idiosyncratic show is well worth your attention.  You might have to leave work early to catch it, but much better to laugh at the thought of monkeys hammering away at keyboards than to be one.

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