Edinburgh Fringe 2022
“This is deep-fried fishually stimulating cod-medy infotainment that is guaranteed to put a smile on your plaice. This hot and fresh five-star-fish show features the history, mystery and miracle of everyone’s favourite dish served with a sprinkling of jokes. Suitable for old cods, kippers and sprats.”
Jim Judges introduces us to fish and chips expert, aka… Jim Judges.
This near hour in the cosy Paradise at the Vault Annexe is a quick-swmming slide show delivered with aplomb by our white-coated boffinesque host. (It may be the only show you’ll attend at the Fringe where you’ll hear the word “vertex”). Jim has certainly done his research which gives it the bonus of being intriguing and informative, surprising and revealing.
Redolent of Ronnie Barker, Jim commands the stage, the cuisine and the customer service. We are quickly immersed in an industry presentation that then boldly goes into a deep fried journey of discovery.
Laughter trickled through the audience like batter over a large haddock. Jim occasionally banters with the audience in a Dave Gorman style powerpoint and, like Gorman, is both informative and entertaining.
It’s educational, enlightening and children and adults alike will learn something and at least occasionally opt for cod and chips over a raw salad. We get some fascinating fishy history, pollockish puns, biology and even politics. Could fish and chips really have originated outside of the UK? All is revealed by this genial, batter-loving comedian.
There are plenty of laughs to be had from the slides with sight gag photos and punch-line-ish reveals. It’s a well honed script that integrates splendidly with the helpful show-enhancing visuals (with videos and songs created by Pieter Egrieger).
Here we have a gentle, family-friendly hour, not particularly targeted at kids, despite the morning slot.
Jim Judges is on top of his material, clearly knows and loves things that are battered and fried, occasionally goes too fast with a shade too many slides packed into the 50 minutes and a little more pacing will ensure we taste it all properly. In places a little less might be more, a bit like chilli ketchup.
Part standup, part solo theatre, the time races by like a Deliveroo biker loaded with mushy peas, coley and chips.
Oh, and did I mention there’s film and John Shuttleworthy songs?
It’s a pleasing show that may just leave you restless to plunge a little wooden fork into a saveloy.
An A to Z of Fish and Chips is a quintessential fringe show, a celebration of a national institution. You’ll find yourself covered in the salt and vinegar of Jim’s slightly crazed enthusiasm. Highly recommended if you want to be educated, entertained and perfectly pickled into some late morning laughter. Excellent show.