Edinburgh Fringe Review – Simon Brodkin, Xavier, Pleasance Courtyard

Edinburgh Fringe Review – Simon Brodkin, Xavier, Pleasance Courtyard

Simon Brodkin was about three-quarters of the way through his show and about to tell a joke about Prince Andrew when the fire alarm went off and everyone was evacuated. My first thought was it's amazing how much infuence the royal family has. My second thought was that I won't be able to see the end of this hugely enjoyable show because I have to see something else at a different venue that will be starting shortly.

So the qualifier to this review is that I didn't see Simon's big finish. What I did see though was some totally statifying observational stand-up and come electrifying crowdwork, among some of the best I have ever seen.

You could say that Brodkin was blessed with a comedy gold front row - a choir in spangly tops unable to elect a spokesperson so they constantly talked over each other whenever he addressed them. But you've still got to be at the top of your game to get so much comedy out of the situation.

Brodkin has been through a few incarnations in recent years and is still best known for his pranking - showering Sepp Blatter with cash, offering Donald Trump swastika golf balls and handing Theresa May her P45. Unless he saved that for the big finish his pranks weren't mentioned here. And hopefully this show will help to establish him as a stand-up more than a stunt-act.

His recent shows have already been more personal and have touched on being Jewish and having ADHD. In Xavier he has gone for a more pure, traditional stand-up approach. It works because Brodkin is so good at selling a gag, whether it's quipping about having kids or Phillip Schofield. 

There's a little bit of politics but you hardly have to be a reader of Hansard to get his wisecracks about Matt Hancock. As for the current run of PMs he points out that it's easier to vote people off Britain's Got Talent than it has been to vote recent PMs out. 

This is not hard-hitting satire, it's just a really good, funny show, something of a palate cleanser in Edinburgh after so many complex performances with intensely personal narratives. The former doctor doesn't really give much of himself away, but you are laughing so much that it doesn't matter. 

It's the crowdwork that stays in the memory longest. Whether it's him trying to get some sense out of the choir in the front, chatting to fans further back about their home towns or mocking students, it's consistently impressive. I did think about seeing if I could slip into another gig to catch the bit I missed but I don't want to risk him spotting me and finding myself skewered by Brodkin's lightning wit. 

Until August 27. Tickets here. Then touring - details here.

Read more reviews here.


four stars


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