Edinburgh Fringe 2012
" Every night PHIL MANN will become an expert in a different topic of the audience’s choosing, having only the 23 hours between shows to ready himself to be able to hold forth at length, answer questions and make you laugh about topics you didn’t know existed."
In this hour-long show, comedian and mine of emergent knowledge, Phil Mann delves into a basket of questions, submitted by audiences attending previous shows. Little questions, teasing questions, big questions and no question is impossible for protean Mann!
Phil Mann is embarrassed at the contents of his 200 million year old diary, yet he’s an endearing fellow and performer. it is impossible not to warm to him, nor to the venue which sported nuclear-sized electric fans.The P.A system would be more suited to bingo calling and, luckily, Mann deserted this in favour of jumping off the stage and delivering to us "up close".
Mann combines a warm hearted banter, an easy improvisational style and plenty of wordy wordplay. He’s full on verbally from start to finish and you’ll miss some of it unless you listen fully.
Physics meets the human soul in a nuclear reaction. Mann meets the human soul with a reaction of Internet and smiles.
The venue does him no favours and the noisy fans don’t win him any fans. It has the feel of edutainment in places and it’s a comedy lecture that doesn’t seek laughs in gags but in the curiosities of how things work. It’s more interesting than laugh-aloud.
Mann becomes an instant expert in topics given by audience members at previous shows. The humour that arises is intelligent, emergent and observational and his relaxed style combined with almost frenetic delivery gives him a unique flavour on the fringe.
A show driven by the questions of a previous audiences, drawn by the present audience from a basket. But it’s really driven by the direct, committed performer who has a mind as sharp as a critic’s nose. What the show isn’t quite sure of is whether it is aimed at a comedy audience or not. I’d suggest not, certainly not early evening. This is more wit and wisdom, and would even suit a literary or theatrical audience, though I wam sure Mann is more than able to hold his own late night.
His Herculean knowledge is part of the spectacle and the impression and impressiveness of it builds as the hour progresses. Also part of that spectacle is his improvisational flow. In places it overwhelms, flooding our listening. Why did the chicken cross the road ? The answer isn’t as easy as you think but the question was first posed in 1847.
Intelligent, witty, factual and gently humorous comedy. "Happy as Larry". Want to know who Larry is? Too late. But you can be sure there’ll be plenty of intriguing answers to teasing questions in the safe hands of Phil Mann.