Skip to content

FringeGuru

 
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me
Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012
5

5 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters (venue website)
Comedy
12-18, 20-26 Aug, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 18+ only. Venue may not permit under-18's - check with venue before booking.

Gregory Akerman got a bad review last year. He’s not dwelling on it. He’s really fine about the whole thing. Except that he’s made an entire show about it, focussing in particular on a stream of childish bile at the end of the piece where the reviewer calls Akerman the devil. Akerman is (apparently) not the devil, but his attempts to prove this fall apart over and over again.

Akerman is stunningly original, genuinely fresh, and packs his show with more interesting asides and fascinating throwaway than you’ll find in a dozen less ambitious fringe stand up performances. And yet, the show I saw had an audience of six, two of whom left halfway through. So, he’s probably not for everyone – but I loved every minute of his slow, whispered, self-referential hour-long hissy fit about a reviewer who got a bit carried away.

At one point, Akerman breaks down the etymology of his name, with no half measures: he takes us back to ancient Persia. At another he unpicks the translation of the number of the beast, ‘666,’ from the Dead Sea Scrolls; and, in yet another, he talks about using suicide as a way of chatting up women. It’s genuinely, thoroughly inventive over and over again. Akerman laughs at himself for putting so much effort into researching a hour of stand-up that will be inevitably overlooked. But I think he’s smarter than that.

I suspect Akerman, despite his lack of obvious success, despite his bad reviews and tiny room, knows he is onto something and has something special. His is a kind of comedy that most people will find baffling and deliberately obscure, but a few of us – people like me – will find a genuine Fringe highlight. A triumph of self belief and a real instinct for taking comedy to truly new places.

<< 1984   Vaudeville Schmuck >>

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.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger