The Taproom, Islington, London, 29/06/2019.
On what was the hottest day of the year with London sweltering in the thirty five degree heat it wasn’t too much of a shock that not many people were present for these two Edinburgh previews, but it was definitely their loss as while they may have topped up their tans / risked getting skin cancer they missed out on two show’s which were from comedians who are bloody great at what they do.
Ed Aczel – Artificial Intellect
I’ve been a fan of Ed’s for a fairly long time now, he’s best known for doing dry anti-comedy and that definitely applies with his latest hour of comedy which sees him muse on various subjects and sometimes ask the audience for their opinions of the topic in question. It’s a gentle, relaxed hour but a very funny one as Aczel talks about the time he met a sex worker, considers who the Best Bond is, and discusses what the title of his show should have been among various other topics, and it’s a rare case of audience interaction improving a show rather than being to it’s detriment.
The hour came to a close with two final segments, one where Ed drew two graphs, one of which examined when you’re happy in life and the other related to the 80 year economic cycle theory, asking the audience their ages to see how they applied to them, before he came to a close with an impression of Angela Merkel. The show’s a little ramshackle in nature but then this is what Ed does so well, and given how it relies on his chatting to the audience it’s one you can see multiple times with the knowledge that it’ll be different every time, and I’d recommend doing so if you can, it’s an hour of comedy I definitely look forward to seeing again.
Ali Brice – Bin Wondering
I’d not seen Ali Brice before and after this set I found myself greatly annoyed by that fact as he’s produced four other full length solo shows and four where he’s teamed up with other comedians, and judging by this I’d be amazed if they all weren’t very, very funny. He’s the kind of comedian I’m extremely fond of as creating much silliness is his raison d’etre, which becomes apparent as he takes to the stage dressed as a crocodile from Newcastle and tells lots of daft jokes. The meat of his show however is a long story about the time he spent four hours in a bin, and he mines a lot of extremely funny jokes from such an incident, to the extent that I now fancy spending that amount of time in a bin as well.
It does have a serious edge to it though, as towards the end he discusses his issues with alcohol, and if I’ve any complaint it’s that it comes out of the blue and would benefit to being built up to a little earlier on. But it makes a point which is clearly important to him, and I’ve no real issue with it taking such a turn, especially as it’s linked to the final section where he dresses up as a duck and invites the audience to throw bread at him. Which may sound like it jars with what has come just before but if anything the opposite applies, and it’s a great way to end the hour. Right now it’s almost a four star show but not quite, but given that it’s still a work in progress I’m sure by the time Edinburgh comes around it will be such a thing, if not more than that.