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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Joey Page - Sparklehorse Superbrain
Joey Page - Sparklehorse Superbrain
Published on Saturday, 20 August 2011

2 stars

Just the Tonic at The Tron (venue website)
4-15, 17-28 Aug, 7:40pm-8:40pm
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Typing the words “Joey Page” into Google, you’re struck very quickly by the Marmite-like reaction to this young comedian.  Hit number three says that “Joey Page is one of the most unique and exciting rising stars in the business, hailed as the future of stand up.”  On the other hand, hit number one says “his 'routine' consisted of him talking very quickly in his [expletive] little squeaky voice about complete and utter [expletive].”

So the people who love his act really love his act; while the people who hate it aren’t afraid of saying so in very colourful terms.  It’s just about possible that both points of view are right.

Sparklehorse Superbrain is so named because the ostensible theme of the show is those random thoughts that pop into your brain, which are at once banal and bizarre.  Page uses these oddball thoughts to spark off in all sorts of directions, free-associating with huge leaps in logic to comic effect.  Or at least, that’s the intended effect.  I think the script is well-written, with some fresh surreal touches.  But I also think nearly all the invention and spontaneity happened in writing the piece; the performance itself feels more like a recital, learned by rote, with little sense that we are really seeing anything new created before us.

That’s a shame, because there is a lot of space for him to occupy with the brand of comedy he is working with.  I feel it would work better if there was a genuine sense in the audience of danger, or of not knowing where he will go next.  The pre-recorded finale, summarising exactly all the flights of fancy that have gone before, serves to demonstrate the point; I know almost every comic will work from a script, but few give the audience a copy at the end.

There were genuine hints of genius – too inconsistently to really commend him this year, but enough to see that Page is someone to watch out for in future.  He is unique and exciting, and he also talks very quickly about complete and utter nonsense… nonsense he’s thought about too much.

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