Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Edinburgh Comedy Award and double BAFTA nominated idiot, Spencer Jones, is back with his brand new show featuring props, music, art, puppetry and all round silliness.
Absurd and surrealist comedian, Spencer Jones, returns to Edinburgh with his new show, bringing us mayhem, anarchy, randomness and surprise.
The show opens with Spencer entering into a darkened theatre, we hear only his voice and slowly the roller-coaster sets off. When the lights come up his appearance is a brightly adorned comedian, with a care worn face and lively eyes, full of mystical twinkle. His costume looks as though it was designed by precocious child. The stage dressing also reflects his chaotic mind, adorned with oddities, part curios, bric a brac, electronics and children’s toys.
Spencer is bubbling over with repressed energy. His movements are sometimes jerky, his speech occasionally stumbling in the manner of a mind moving faster than his body’s ability to do what it has been told. There is a buzz, a fizz about him.
He missed Edinburgh last year, giving himself more time to think and plan. He also treated himself to a new toy, a musical gizmo that allows him to make layered songs, raps, poems and other odd snippets. Much of the show consists of his making up these interludes. Turns out that he’s also a talented singer.
There is prop play, a trademark of previous shows. If you asked Spencer to come up with 10 unusual uses for a comb, you’d have to stop him at a 100. He’s included self-made puppets, on which gags riff nicely. There are some really interesting art works surrounding the stage, these appear to be his. As the run continues his audience may find out more about them, they hold the eye and engage the attention.
Surprisingly there are elements of almost conventional stand up. Telling stories with a punchline. These work well, a definite high point. They are rich with detail, unexpected and with clever punchlines. His audience interaction is well handled, clever and funny.
It is a welcome return for Spencer, he is a popular comedian. He embodies what the fringe should perhaps reflect. His work is experimental, non-conformist and off the wall. The standard comedians tour the country in droves, you can see them anywhere. Here a fringe spirit is in evidence, his show is unique.
However as strange as the show is it doesn’t seem to be a finished work. It was hit and miss, the unifying theme felt incomplete. Watching the audience responses, not all the material worked, a process of refinement will bring out more of the good stuff. However, when Spencer hits he makes a solid connection, his work is funny.
There is a heavy reliance on the musical gizmo. Whilst the beats come in quickly, the addition of too many layers delays the punchline. When he gets it right, as he does on several occasions the music is a nice addition to his set.
He has said a grown man shouldn’t behave this way. In this case, he should. Whilst not as polished or as finished as his previous shows, enjoy it for the silliness that is his trade mark. It is a good show.