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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Simon Munnery: Fylm
Simon Munnery: Fylm
Published on Tuesday, 20 August 2013

4 stars

The Stand Comedy Club II (venue website)
1-11, 13-26 Aug, 3:40pm-4:40pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Munnery steps out onto the tiny stage to greet the packed-out Stand, and warn us that he’ll be performing the show by video link, live from a box in the middle of the room. He tells us this because it took four-and-a-half weeks in Australia for the audience to realise he wasn’t going to be physically on stage. Ever the traditionalist.

By broadcasting his face on two screens, Munnery says the show is “stadium-ready” – and you wonder if that is poking fun at the Muses and McIntyres of this world, whose shows some can only afford to see via live video link from the back of the O2 Arena. He, on the other hand, says it’s a personal technique he’s devised to draw more attention to the visual aspects of the performance. And there’s no reason not to believe that.

Of course, this is not a completely new idea. Yes, if you were wondering, it’s a reprise of the show he did last year. For what it’s worth though, this is still a very strong, very innovative, and as Munnery would have it, “a deeply profound, seemingly inane, very, very, very, very funny show,” (the amount of verys naturally coinciding with the 5 star-rating system).

It takes a while for things to get going; we’re some way in before we get the theme tune (but it’s worth the wait). There’s no topic or structure as such, but it’s more about Munnery experimenting with his unique concept through beat-boxing, an introduction to a host of mad characters, and a variety of short surreal sketches with hand-made cardboard puppets. The puppets in particular build and build on audience expectations, and then end abruptly.

He crams all this in, along with some snippets of face-focused stand-up, which still feels personal even if you are essentially watching it on YouTube. There’s even time for a lesson in Pythagorus’ Theorem (or “fact”, as Munnery puts it), taught by an inner-city supply teacher in the style of Mr T from the A-Team.

Munnery fuses the “future” of live performance art and the simplistic hand-drawn puppet sketches with an ease that fools you into thinking this is a conventional way to do comedy. And why shouldn’t it be? It does everything you could want, in as unorthodox way as possible. If it makes you laugh and challenges you, why would you need a person physically standing on stage?

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