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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Ivo Graham: Binoculars
Ivo Graham: Binoculars
Published on Thursday, 22 August 2013

3 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-11, 13-25 Aug, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Graham is a young man of few life experiences, and he unashamedly plays on this fact. Why shouldn’t he? Besides, if he hasn’t done much with the opposite sex, he more than makes up for it in the no-holds-barred world of Travel Scrabble.

In his first Fringe solo show, Graham belies his tender age (a fact he prefers to mention himself before the audience has a chance to point it out). He has a natural ability that assures us we’re in the hands of a competent aspiring comic, and conveys a wisdom far beyond his years (again, yes, he’s quite young). He connects well and improvises to good effect. A hefty portion of the set is taken up with the profiling of a 16-year-old in the audience who offers up far too much material for Graham to resist.

Most of Graham’s anecdotes, as you might expect, come from the heady days of school and university (from where he graduated only last year. Did I mention he’s young?) Stories revolve around hanging out with “lads”, fleeting experiences of women and dreaded drinking games.

The material is consistently funny, if sketchy; Graham flits between stories like a bee between flowers searching for pollen, never completely sure if he’s hitting the mark. But for someone of his limited experience, he’s coping well with the pressures that must come from having a show at the Pleasance – albeit one in a cellar.

Graham displays a painful honesty about his awkward life experiences. He has a keen self-awareness and a lot of self-deprecation, which works well for him and comes across as genuine. He even responds to a critic who accused him of “deliberately avoiding” sex so he a theme for the Fringe… a claim which is, frankly, laughable in itself, and ironically provides Graham with even more material.

Moving on from uni-life, Graham talks about his relationship with his gran. He then proceeds to veer somewhat off-course by introducing a tin of rice pudding – which comes with a sweet story about bargain-hunting together in Sainsbury’s, but doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the show. A solid effort though; definitely one to watch for the future.

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