Edinburgh Fringe Review: Ivo Graham

ivo graham

Pleasance

***

Winners of the So You Think You're Funny award have a good track record when it comes to bagging bigger awards later on. Both Tommy Tiernan and Dylan Moran went on to win the Perrier Award and others, such as Peter Kay and Lee Mack have not fared too badly either. Boyish 2009 winner Ivo Graham has taken his time before making his full-length Edinburgh debut, entitled Binoculars. I suspect he had to finish university first. It is an impressive debut, but one that is more about showing potential than delivering the finished article.

Like a number of fresh-faced comedians from Daniel Sloss to Jack Carroll, the fluffy-fringed 22-year-old gets plenty of mileage out of the fact that he does not appear to have many miles on the clock. When he talks about getting speeding tickets you wonder whether he is actually old enough to drive a car. At times it sounds as if his voice has not made up its mind whether it wants to break yet.

There is no sexual bragging here. Far from it. Instead Graham politely goes for the passive-aggressive option, playing up his failures with the opposite sex, comparing himself to his younger brother who is something of a veritable Russell Brand by comparison, putting notches on his teenage bedpost while Ivo was more pre-occupied with rising through the ranks of the Historical Board Game Society. And just to rub salt into the sibling-inflicted wounds Ivo had to drive his brother to his conquests.

Graham does a good job of presenting himself as the ultimate geek. When not recreating battles he is settling down to a pizza and a James Bond movie with his chums, but strict rules have to be followed: "No pineapple, no Lazenby". I'm afraid this might be where you lost me Ivo. OHMSS is a underrated masterpiece. I agree about the pineapple though.

This gauche persona does feel real though. When Graham suggests that the nearest he has come to serious crime is selling individual cans from a multipack of Coke at a church fete you kind of believe him. He shamelessly plays on his butter-wouldn't-melt appearance, but it works. Though I wonder how it would go down at the Comedy Store on a Saturday night. Like Jack Whitehall he does not hide his poshness. Well, not much. When he talks about his boarding school he does not mention that it was a little place called Eton and when he talks about Uni he passes over the fact that it was Oxford, so I guess if the comedy doesn't work out he can always settle for a job in the Cabinet.

The gentle set loses momentum a little towards the end when he talks about moving to London and living with his grandmother. If he had concentrated on this angle this could have been a much more original show. But he does not push it far enough, merely building to a lightweight finish about taking great pleasure in saving money on discounted creamed rice. Graham clearly likes small victories whether in supermarkets or playing war games. I suspect in a few years he will be experiencing much bigger victories in his comedy career.

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