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Nothing to Lose
4 stars

Until 27 Aug, 3:50pm-4:50pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

This stand up two-hander is definitely not for the faint-hearted, and is really not quite right for four o'clock in the afternoon.  Michael Kossew introduces the show by telling the small and slightly terrified audience that we are going to feel violated, and he would prefer it if we didn’t enjoy it. And that is possibly the least disturbing part of his act.

First, however, there is some respite from Kossew’s intensity in the form of Hannah Deasy, a defiant Essex girl who snarls her way through a routine about not being able to find a man with low enough self esteem to not question her horribleness as a partner. She’s very funny, and the complete opposite of the usual self-deprecating female stand up. She’s scary and she’s vicious and she has the best, most cruel joke about Prince William’s motives for giving Kate Middleton his mother’s engagement ring that I’ve heard.

And then Kossew returns, again doing his utmost to make us uncomfortable. His act is reminiscent of the famous comedian’s backstage joke, as told in the film The Aristocrats.  The point there is to be as edgy and taboo-busting as possible before your peers; the difference here is that Kossew does all this onstage, and the result car-crash comedy you can’t help looking at.

Both performers are relatively new, and perhaps lacked the sweeping conviction this kind of material needs. I’ve seen one or two acts do similar shock-you-into-laughing routines and they worked better - although the material was weaker - just because of the aplomb with which it was delivered.

That aside, together the twosome have produced a show that is defiantly different. And in a sea of acts claiming to be controversial, this is the real thing. Absolutely disgusting. I loved it.

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