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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Matthew Highton's Shadowed Vagary
Matthew Highton's Shadowed Vagary
Published on Monday, 15 August 2011

3 stars

Just The Tonic at the Caves (venue website)
4-16, 18-28 Aug, 10:15pm-11:15pm
Reviewed by Hannah Van Den Bergh

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Matthew Highton, not dissimilar in looks to a Scooby Doo villain, proceeds to take us on his own magical mystery tour - delving into his imagination and leaving the audience all a little dazed. An hour of true whimsy, Highton, like an animated villain all so close to deceiving those pesky kids, has fantastic potential. With tighter material we are potentially watching one of the super-comics of the future.

With an hour that flits between laminating a full English breakfast to losing his shadow and having to rent a replacement, Highton’s creativity, in itself, is a wonder to be seen.  However, in an attempt at making every joke piece together to create some ornate super-joke, Highton neglects both audience intelligence and his own comic timing, continually having to clarify punch lines or provide his own detailed justification.

This clumsy style is one that will take time to refine as Highton becomes more confident in relaying his own work.  This will evolve from a better knowledge of his own set; at the moment, it is both the written obscurity and personal insecurity in his work that puts the audience off.

Unfortunately, a fanfare playing in the room next door was an added distraction Highton could have done without throughout the hour set.  Often, due to all the confusion, Highton is waiting for laughs that simply do not materialise, often ruining his own punch lines and stumbling over his own material.

Don’t get me wrong: the premise, if pulled off, will be a storm of a show, but on the day I attended it fell short. Creases do indeed need to be smoothed to refine Highton’s potential.

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