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Rich Fulcher - An Evening With Eleanor, The Tour Whore
Published on Saturday, 28 August 2010
3

3 stars

Udderbelly's Pasture (venue website)
Comedy
21 - 30 Aug, 11:30pm (12:30am)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

Rich Fulcher is probably best known still for his role in The Mighty Boosh, and in this solo show he demonstrates a lot of the same comic inventiveness that made him a success in that context.  There's a lot of rough with the smooth, however.

Eleanor, the Tour Whore is a comic character created and played by Fulcher, a sort of arch-groupie who has become acquainted with every major musical group of the last five decades.  It's apparent as soon as Eleanor starts to speak that this is not a 'straight' drag show – Eleanor is a surreal and absurd creation, and this is her surreal and absurd journey.

Some of the set-up is obviously far-fetched and bizarre (a long-running rivalry with Susan Boyle, or setting up a recording studio in Burt Reynold's moustache), but what I really love is Eleanor's extraordinary verbal dexterity, as if somehow the synapses aren't firing properly and we're left with garbled genius: “we will smell poetry”, or “I may give birth to a paper cut”.  You can only laugh out loud and wonder about the sheer ludicrousness of some of her utterings.  But I often found it hard to hear what was going on, though: I don't know if there was a problem with the mics or speaker system, or if (as it sounded) Fulcher was struggling with a heavy cold.  He may only have been half-joking when Eleanor quipped “I'm only doing a show to keep warm.”

I also somehow felt that Eleanor was a joke stretched too far: despite some good individual sequences, the act as a whole – ostensibly based around a reading of Eleanor's memoir – is disjointed.  For each song about sleeping your way through the members of a band (high), there is a video link interview with Mick Jagger (low), just to take two topics at random.

Still, it's a ballsy performance, in more ways than one, and the late-night crowd I was in with was highly appreciative of Eleanor's wiles.  Although it could be better, it is still good enough to have you laughing along with.  And if you make it to the end of the show, don't be too quick to leave – there's a pre-recorded coda which is one of the funniest moments of the whole night.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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