The Star Of Kings, King’s Cross, London, 18/07/2019.
Some comedians base their Edinburgh shows around a story which they stretch to almost breaking point to fill an hour, but that’s definitely not the case with Milo Edwards. If anything if he’d wished to he could have expanded it in to two if not three hours of comedy, but instead this is an intense hour which tells the story of how he spent three years in Russia, almost accidentally became a famous tv star over there, and why the strained relationship between the UK and Russia led him to leave.
Edwards begins the tale by explaining how he’d never planned any of the above to happen, and he’d left Cambridge University not really quite sure what to do with his life. But given his degree was in linguistics he ended up in Russia as an employee of a rich family who wanted him to turn their failing nine year old child in to a genius within a couple of weeks, and after deciding that wasn’t the life for him, and struggling with another job as well thanks to the tedious racism of a man called Ian, he ended up going on the stand up circuit in Russia and finding fame rather quickly. All of his stories are told in an engaging and funny manner, with sharp pay offs and punch lines that made it entertaining throughout.
Indeed it’s an absolutely fascinating show which gives an incredible insight in to life in Russia, from the people he meets on a day to day basis to the way comedy is censored in the country, with Edwards not even allowed to use the word fiddlesticks while on television. There’s also discussion of what’s considered to be edgy comedy in the country, and the people’s unique take on existence, especially when it comes to the matter of committing fraudulent acts which seem to take place in a ridiculously casual manner.
Along the way he gives us his thoughts about terrorism, and who the best terrorists were, in a segment which initially slightly lost the audience, but Edwards is a skilled comedian when it comes to reading the room and he quickly got everyone back on board, even though the material is about as dark as it comes. He also has strong material on Brexit, the political differences between the UK and Russia, along with slightly less serious topics like the occasion when Putin played ice hockey on his 63rd birthday, and why Milo wasn’t turned on by a woman who asked him to fuck her like a crayfish.
It’s undoubtedly a fantastic show which made me laugh hard on many an occasion but if anything it condenses too many ideas and stories in to too short a running time, quite often I found myself wishing that he’d expand on a theory he’d come up with, or tell more of a tale which felt a little truncated. Sometimes the humour needed to breathe a little more too, and for the audience to be given a further time for certain comments or jokes to sink in. It’s a minor problem for sure, and something most comedians would love to suffer from, and as this is a work in progress he may address such issues. Either way this is a slight criticism that I hope doesn’t put anyone off from seeing him, as Edwards has created a mostly exceedingly funny show.
★★★ and 3/4.