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Yianni: Numb and Number - Free
Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012
4

4 stars

The Canons' Gait (venue website)
Comedy
4-13, 15-25 Aug, 4:55pm-5:55pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

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

Thirty minutes before Yianni’s Numb and Number, a long queue started to form, a clear sign that this must be one of the better free shows at the Fringe this year. But the less-than-numerate among us don't need to be put off by the mathiness – because the show is more a philosophical look at how Yianni defines a big part of his life by his love for numbers.

In essence, the show looks at ten aspects of his life, and charts how they relate to numbers. Number ten refers to him being a perfectionist, whereas number six focuses on racism (obviously). Beneath this lies Yianni’s relationship with autism, which plays a huge part in the show.

This concept is exceptionally original. Yianni manages to illustrate his intelligent mathematical side by calling on his childish, stamp-loving side. He can come out with things like "rainbows cause racism" and then follow it up with a funny rainbow song, to help combat racism.  It’s bizarre but wonderfully done, and that element is strong throughout the show.

Beyond his excellent storytelling, he ably links a lot of his jokes together. For example, he talks a lot about his background in Australia, as a man of Greek and Cypriot heritage – and his summary of the race riots in Sydney in 2005 was excruciatingly funny. There’s also a high level of professionalism, not always a given in free shows, with video and slides to help keep the crowd entertained in line with the point he is making.

At times, though, I thought the show could have been more concise. The device of using ten points occasionally got to be quite monotonous, and some of the jokes were overlong and over-the-top, including his views on toilet roll and his love of stamps. While at times the tale of his struggles with autism was fantastic, it could have tied in with the rest of the story more smoothly.

These issues notwithstanding, Numb and Number has to be one of the highlights of the Free Fringe. It’s educational, witty, and Yianni has a comical gift. Midway through the show he linked his love of math with his love of logic – and logic would say that this is one of the best comedy shows you’ll see this year, be it on the free or paid Fringe programmes.

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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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