Edinburgh Fringe Review: Spencer Jones Presents: The Herbert In Proper Job

Spencer jones

****

When Spencer Jones, alias almost-silent clown The Herbert, came on I spent the first five minutes writing down who he reminded me of. Blackadder’s pudding basin hair, Mr Bean’s awkwardness, Tommy Cooper’s fondness for daft props and comic shrugs, the prominent teeth of Crackerjack’s Don Maclean. Or is it Bernie Winters?

But then after five minutes I started to pay closer attention to his act and was captivated by this latterday loon. As was the rest of the audience. Everyone seemed to buy into his universally funny brand of comedy, as he picked up props, got a quick laugh and made a Cooperesque aside about how much they had cost him for such a short joke.

I did wonder if he could pull off this stupidity for a full hour, but amazingly he did. Things were varied a bit when he spoke – he already has a classic sketch in which he dons a workman’s hat and basically strolls around saying “that’s gotta go” or “that’s staying”. And, as has become compulsory in Edinburgh, he got the audience up onstage and involved in his madness.

There was even, if you want to be a little pretentious, a possible back story. He intermittently referred to being a parent and then later in the set there seemed to be hints about a sick child, as if behaving like this and never growing up was a way of coping with tragedy. It added another level to an already excellent show which I thought would help him to win over the Foster’s judges, but they harshly overlooked him when they came up with their shortlist.

Towards the end here was more audience participation. I won’t give too much away but the night I was in it worked so well I did wonder if they were plants. But no Fringe act could afford to pay that many plants every night. The Herbert is clearly just one of those affable loons who can get anyone to do anything. Let’s hope he never goes into politics.

Until August 31. Info here.

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