Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Some News – free topical show
Steve N Allen
Laughing Horse @ Newsroom
a one-man Have I Got News For You (Lite)
Topical sketch shows are a tried and tested form of comedy from TV’s Have I Got News For You, to the longest running stage comedy NewsRevue its refreshing to see some intelligent comedy in the Free-fringe and with a talented host.
Steve N Allen first introduces himself, as with most of the free-fringe, the comedian is also the compere, which has its endearing qualities, put this together with a tiny tiny stage in a basement off Leith walk; a mic stand that when touched waves violently, albeit being attached to a mop with sticky tape (something Steve riffs on for sometime) – this is the essence of free-fringe, and something i find stimulating and a pleasant change from the sharp lines, perfect lighting, black box theatres we’ve come acquainted with, you have a perfect fringe show with added fringe.
Steve is a great performer and begins by explaining the show, and the high-lights of the news this week and in the recent days. America takes a hit, Banks, Riots become a very big part of the show, as indeed it should. Having a lose format on which to base the next hour around, Steve takes opinion polls from his audience, dives into sketches. Highlights for this seasoned comedy reviewer were the american audience member being given a sheet on which to read a sketch with Steve, the clever interactions between him and voice-overs and the well observed views on Riots.
What was evident here, is the performer is quality, his mickery, and the excellent use of accents combined with clever voice-over interaction; is a performer with masses of talent often let down by weaker material on which to display his comic potential. I do understand however, that the news is the news, and if its a quiet news week then one struggles to dig up those nuggets of comedy. However the week i was watching there was enough news in july/august to last for the year. What this welll-honed performer perhaps needs is a pool of writers on which to rely, not just, what appears to be himself working furiously on material; i commend him highly on his work, if a group of writers were producing material a far more varied hour would be achieved.
A well-rounded hour of comedy and observation from a talented comedian, with stronger material and a sharper focus Allen could take on some of the top political comedians.