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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow 53 Minutes about 52 Sheep (60 Minutes Long)
53 Minutes about 52 Sheep (60 Minutes Long)
Published on Thursday, 22 August 2013

3 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (venue website)
8-24 Aug, 1:15pm-2:15pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 16+ only.

There are a few areas of comedy that Pustelnik outright refuses to lower himself to. One thing he won’t be talking about is ‘fisting’. He assures us that he does not do any jokes about fisting whatsoever. So that’s out. And despite the title, the show is also not all about sheep. So if you were hoping for a show dedicated to sheep, or fisting sheep, then unfortunately this won’t meet your very specific needs.

You can’t really mistake Pustelnik, with his big beard that “looks like a man who grew a beard, forgot about it and grew another one.” And clearly, if it’s not the beard, the curious title or promise of fisting jokes, there’s something about this man that’s drawn in the crowds. It’s good to see so many people piling into a small room upstairs in a pub for a free show. Have they picked this solely for the quirky name, you might wonder?

Pustelnik doesn’t disappoint. He settles us in with an introduction to growing up in Denmark, being toughened up by his parents from a young age (through pony rides and clarinet lessons), and the usual childhood anecdotes like coming home to find a lamb wearing a nappy in your living room.

At times Pustelnik is compelled to remind us that he is has not set out to shock us with his material – then in the very next sentence he proceeds to demonstrate quite vividly what a joke about a troupe of girl scouts might be like if we’d gone to see a “young shock comic” instead. It’s cleverly done and, given his otherwise pleasant persona, the audience swiftly forgives him for leading them astray and planting a grim image in their heads.

Pustelnik himself has only just turned 30, and a lot of this show is about coming to terms with “being too old to die young”. Running through are themes of adulthood and responsibility – and dealing with a noisy promiscuous neighbour, while lying tucked up in bed with your girlfriend of 10 years.

There are lots of breakaway dialogues, deconstructive to the core. The comedy is well observed and conversational, often abstract. Audience interaction comes naturally out of the material and doesn’t feel too contrived or disruptive to the flow.

One of the best parts of the hour, when the title of the show is at last referred to, is also a bit of a splitter in terms of audience patience. But the humour comes from that deliberate awkwardness, and anticipation of how many sheep Pustelnik is going to draft into this routine. “Shall I fast-forward?” he asks us, teasingly.

This is a funny, bizarre, often random show, bursting with fresh ideas and a brand of anti-shock comedy that might be off-putting if Pustelnik didn’t use his pleasant demeanour to such great effect. You could say this is Danish alternative comedy at its best… but seeing as my knowledge of Danish comedians is limited to Valdemar Pustelnik, it’s more a case of so far so good!

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