Edinburgh Fringe Review: Mat Ewins, Danger Money, Just The Tonic @ The Caves

Funniest show on the Fringe is a phrase dished out all too easily. Often by people who have not seen all of the 1000+ comedies at the Fringe and so aren't really in a position to judge. Well, now I'm also one of those people who hasn't seen everything, but I'm pretty sure that nothing is going to beat Mat Ewins' Danger Money. He's usually pretty inventive with his titles. I don't know why he didn't just call it Funniest Show On The Fringe and cut out the middle man.

If you haven't seen Ewins live you may not know him because he steers well clear of social media, even though his fast-paced clips and quips would surely work just as well there. And if they didn't I'm sure he can come up with others that would work.

And you won't really have seen him on TV either. In fact one of the running gags in this gag-packed set involves a failed attempt to get on Sky TV with a detective programme called Good Cop Bad Cop. Except this being from the brain of madcap maestro Ewins it isn't the generic crimebusting format you might expect.

His stage show also includes live pilot for a TV game show which involves all sorts of fun, from audience members pedalling furiously to control video games to audience members, erm, drinking beer furiously to control video games. It might sound stupid (and it is) but there's also a lot more going on here, almost too much to take in on one viewing, particularly if you have to look down to take notes, with Ewins joined by a robot sidekick and also himself on the video screens above the stage dropping in sarky comments about members of the audience.

If somebody else is controlling these comments from the tech desk they deserve a credit for their lightning reactions in choosing the right pre-recorded put-down. If it's Ewins controlling them while performing he deserves even more credit than he already gets here. It's controlled chaos done perfectly. Zany genius.

The riotous pace of Danger Money never lets up. If your attention drifts for a moment, which is unlikely, you will probably miss two or three visual gags. Whether it's reworking computer games or faking a plane crash, trying out a VR camera or tweaking the Matrix to make it look even more ridiculous a lot of care and attention has gone into every comic idea. The creativity knows no bounds. Ewins is like a top-rate cartoonist, packing multiple laughs into every frame.

If there is a fault it's that the show is a little too short. I don't know if there was a technical hitch on the night I was in but it only seemed to last about 45 minutes. That actually doesn't really matter though. There are enough gags flying past your ears here to last you the whole Fringe. Oooh look, there goes another one.

Mat Ewins, Danger Money, until Aug 28. Buy tickets here.

five stars


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