Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Nick Hodder is an agreeable chap – unless you are called Jim and asked to move seat. Nick has an agenda with 42 minutes before he is able to start his show. He employs the audience in setting his objectives, gives them tasks, benchmarks his performance and then proves, using data, that we achieved ice cubes melting.
Entering this auditorium means we have entered a world where anything goes. Before we started Jim left, then went the front row before the back row went too. To be fair the back row did arrive after we hadn’t started. They were then were replaced by a family who got there just in time for it to begin. Overall if you have trouble following this then you really had to be there.
Hodder is an amiable host with a plan to engage with people and see where it takes him. It takes us on a wander through a collective experience that comes from his take on modern life where we need structure, corporate responsibility and a purpose. Working as an antidote to that straight jacket means we have to invest in him. Most of us do though Ann in the front row seems to think it is all about him.
The technical features of the show were, to be honest, cheap. It was the Free Fringe and aside from the tablet used to find the film, the Tree of Life, there was little by way of covering up cheap stationery. It all added to the feel of something that was invented by us all. What we had to do was to invest. There needed to be some kind of connection between Hodder and his audience. He managed this with absolute aplomb. His geeky, hesitant performance persona was foil to the steely determination that he had underneath that he wanted to finish – even if it petered out.
I saw his show last year – Insert Comedy Here – and I was not totally convinced by it. I wrote “I did think that there needed to be more punchlines but it did not put me off seeking Hodder out in future for what may be son or daughter of insert comedy here.” I have to report that I did not seek him out, ended up in the audience by chance and his explanation that he had been unhappy with the show last year chimed with my own view and made me happy to have seen him in a much more assured role. He is masterful at cajoling and working a crowd. As his run is now ended and he is away to support his wife having their second child I hope to see cousin of this show as soon as possible cos it was great fun being at the tender toddler stage of this type of direction.