Edinburgh Fringe Review: Olaf Falafel, Laughing Horse @ Pear Tree

Sometimes you just need a stupid, silly show. Something to get you through the soggy, grey dog days of the Edinburgh Fringe. In which case Olaf Falafel's There's No i In Idiot is just the thing. There is nothing about dead dads, nothing about Trump, nothing about #metoo. Unless his fanciful story about his life being saved by benevolent dolphins is some kind of elaborate metaphor for the world today.

Falafel's show covers pretty much all bases when it comes to comic absurdity. His hour is packed with visual gags onscreen, callbacks, puns – he may be Swedish but, of course, he speaks English better than most Brits – and a touch of audience participation. In fact to say it is stupid and silly does not really do it justice. It is extremely well-crafted and jokes that seem self-contained gradually slot together to build to a bigger laugh.

There is more than a hint of Harry Hill to Falafel's intentionally repetitive delivery and some of the playful routines could come from the famously big collared entertainer too – the idea that you can tell someone's personality by the biscuits they like, for example, or the running gag about apt funerals of people from different professions. Occasionally an old gag slips in – the dissection of the lyrics to Do They Know It's Christmas? was an overworked stand-up trope three decades ago – but this is a small quibble. Falafel has an inventive mind that constantly surprises and tickles you.

This is a gloriously goofy show from a comic fizzing with verbal and visual ideas. But it would be best not to give any more of his surprises away. As for the finale which requires summoning up the spirit of the ghost of Robert Smith (and no, the Cure singer isn't dead), you'll just have to go to see that for yourself.

Olaf Falafel – There's no i in idiot is on until August 26. It's free but donations are gently asked for. Info here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

****

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