Edinburgh Fringe Review: Terry Alderton, Pleasance Courtyard

The show begins with an announcement. Terry Alderton will not be appearing, he is lost in an endless feedback loop inside his head.

Instead we get a comedy band, with a lead singer who looks suspiciously like Alderton in a wig and a similarly disguised Johnny Spurling on keyboards.
 
Straight away there is a weird kinetic energy about this show. Alderton and Spurling are deliberately rough around the edges, switching between musical styles, rubbing up against each other, changing the name of the band for no reason. It’s like the spirit of punk has been trapped in a light entertainment format but has had enough and is struggling to escape.
 
Before long Alderton and Spurling are having a full on disagreement about the best way to relate to the audience. The front row finds itself dragged into the fray - alternately berated or bathed in adoration depending on how things are going on stage. After the band departs and Alderton arrives officially and in person, there is still chaos and conflict.
 
Alderton hops between accents and voices, sometimes listening to the demonic voices in his head, keeping the audience in a state of slightly scared excitement. Routines switch, shift and mash up, with bursts of music, missing patches of dialogue and weird extraordinary and giddying changes of pace.
 
There is no attempt to explain any of this. This is a completely absurd creation. A stand-up show cut up into tiny pieces thrown up into the air and reassembled, with mixed up speeds, switching styles of performance and missing chunks.  
 
Alderton takes outrageous risks with his audience, while voices in his head tell him he is going too far. He scares us at times. He is also scaring himself. His rage is powerful and convincing - but when it is directed, for example, at an invisible fairytale creature who has mucked up a tap dance routine the rage itself becomes ridiculous. At one point in the show Alderton is upside down and an argument breaks out between his shoes.
 
To say there is never a dull moment is an understatement. This is a beautifully put together and brilliantly directed show which races along with excitement. Alderton’s full throttle explosive male energy is brilliantly contained by the nonsensical and unmistakable silliness. There is literally nothing that can be taken seriously.
 
It’s stand-up with no content, performance with no point, energy with no limits but it is absurdly entertaining, wildly silly and bursting with joy. 

Terry Alderton: All Crazy Now is at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 27. Tickets here.

****

 

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