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Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky
Published on Friday, 17 August 2012
5

5 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
Comedy
1-3, 5-9, 11-16, 19-24, 26 Aug, 7:40pm-8:40pm; 4, 10, 18, 25 Aug, 7:40pm-8:40pm, 11:40pm-12:40am
Reviewed by Alasdair Lane

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

“Venue”, according to Chris Ramsey, is a strong word to use during the Edinburgh Fringe. Whereas in previous years he's been performing in portakabins, he has now earned himself the use of a proper venue (at the Pleasance Courtyard, to be precise). Does he deserve the bump up in location? Yes, emphatically so. Impossibly likeable and equally hilarious, Ramsey is a people's comedian, and his Feeling Lucky show is a true exhibition of this. While the material may feel a tad tame at times, the quality of the comedy is unwavering, as is his ability to interact with the crowd.

Though the introduction of a great stand-up routine doesn't necessarily need to be explosively funny, it must warm the audience to the comic. To this end, Ramsey is a master. Shuffling on stage with his eyes firmly fixed on the ground, it was clear he had a trick up his sleeve. That trick - the random throw of a foam dice into the audience in order to decide who would be the subject of comedic scrutiny - worked a treat; within minutes the crowd was buzzing with apprehension and enthusiasm, as Ramsey's very-much-friendly interrogation provided some great laughs. The energy in the room was palpable.

This benevolence was indicative of the performance as a whole. Moving on from the dice ploy, Ramsey walked us through some defining moments in his life, always harking back to the central theme: how unbelievably fortuitous our very existence is. In doing so he proved himself a real master of observational humour. Covering a whole host of topics, from his catalogue of near-death experiences as an infant to inexplicably always attracting weird conversations, Ramsey was forever at ease on stage - never fluffing a punch line or dropping a lead balloon. Indeed, so kinetic and natural was the narrative that at times he delivered a hysterical line, only to admit he'd just thought it up!

He never tested the more murky (though lucrative) water of black-comedy - which, if done correctly, can be well worth risking offence – but on the other hand, neither did he bore with priggishly clean humour. The only flaw in a near-perfect performance was that at times, his boyish charm and sense of fun would disappear and a sudden intensity would take over; it happened, for example, when labouring the point of how he as a professional comedian is the luckiest man in the world. At these moments he would leave the crowd hanging, vainly waiting for the tension-snapping punch-line which would never come. Such instances were few and far between though, and Ramsey's thoroughly infectious enthusiasm in general helped negate them.

Chris Ramsey is a comedian going places. With an impressive collection of TV appearances and live shows under his belt, he more than deserves the praise he is garnishing. It is, therefore, unsurprising that Feeling Lucky is a superb showcase of his anecdotal genius and uncanny ability to spin a joke out of fresh air. Saving a few incongruously deep moments, this a laugh-a-minute (and that's being conservative!) show which will have you leaving with an ear-to-ear grin, guaranteed.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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