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Matt Green: Funny Times
Published on Monday, 16 May 2011

3.5 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Temple (venue website)
15, 22 May, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Suitable for age 18+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.

Matt Green takes to the stage, and the audience exhale and relax. He's clearly a safe pair of hands. He's young and enthusiastic. He's been in an advert. He's been on TV. He was in the Cambridge Footlights. What could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing.

And nothing does go wrong at all. Although the show is – Matt claims – unfinished, as he is writing it for Edinburgh, it feels smooth enough.  The only hiccup comes ten minutes before the end of his hour, when he announces that he is about half way through, and then gets a bit flustered as he realises that he actually has to wrap up very quickly.

As an aside, I really must say that I am getting very tired of Brighton Fringe acts opening with the statement that this the comic's Edinburgh show, and so, obviously, it isn't finished right now. Right now is the time you are performing it in Brighton. If you're charging people money to come in, a show you've finished writing is a minimum requirement.

But I’m picking on the wrong target because, opening apology and timing issue aside, Green's show didn't feel unfinished. He had some nice jokes. He even made call backs without feeling the need to point them out (you know who you are). But it all felt like he was too much of a safe pair of hands. It all felt desperately safe.

Green is so relaxed on stage, it seems a shame that he doesn't take any risks. His material takes modern times as a theme, and covers communications technology (guess what, it's not like the old days), his girlfriend and the Olympics. All were done well and presented in a casual chatty style, but I could have seen this act 10, perhaps even 20 years ago; only his material about the financial crisis felt fresh.

The advantage of choosing not to take risks is that little will go wrong, even if your material’s still quite raw. But the disadvantage is that, for a show about these modern times, it ended up feeling decidedly dated.

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