Review: Alex Horne, Monsieur Butterfly

Alex Horne

Alex Horne is one of comedy's smartest, most innovative comedians. He can do straighrforward gags and wordplay, but that's not enough for him. He has done shows about science, Latin, gambling, all sorts of things. His latest show, Monsieur Butterfly, picked up a Foster's Award nomination last summer and is a highly inventive piece of comedy. To say too much would spoil the fun a little. If you need cheering up, just go. This review is of the show when it was performed at the Pleasance in Edinburgh in August 2014 and first appeared in The Evening Standard. Horne has just added extra dates at Soho Theatre from June 22 - 27 due to demand. Tickets here.

 

 

At one point during Alex Horne's latest show, in which he spends much of his time building an elaborate surprise contraption, he asks "OK, fine, but is it comedy?" Well, the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award panel clearly thinks it is because yesterday he was nominated for their prestigious prize.

And they have made the right call. Horne has always specialised in inventive, humorous notions and in Monsieur Butterfly the bearded boffin comes across as both mad inventor and very funny jokesmith. While engaging in his onstage DIY he simultaneously delivers smart gags about parenthood, golf and squirrels.

If there is a more heartwarming hour on the Fringe this year your reviewer has not seen it. Horne has such a gentle, inviting manner that he can ask fans to lift him up or peel potatoes and they are more than happy to chip in. It is not all aimless fun, though. Everything is significant.

The result is not only a magnificent feat of multi-tasking, it also makes for a truly distinctive live experience. Will it beat nominees Sara Pascoe, John Kearns, Liam Williams, James Acaster, Sam Simmons or Romesh Ranganathan to first place on Saturday? Possibly. But even if Horne does not win this is still a brilliantly constructed show.

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