A Free Fringe double bill of stand-up with no particular theme, Irish comedians Keith Fox and Ger Staunton underwhelm with their unassuming stage presence and only mildly amusing humour.
Both stand-ups deliver a sometimes pleasantly relaxed set, but both failed to really get their audience going.
First up was Keith Fox, who mostly only inspired the occasional chuckle. The jokes range from mildly amusing anecdotes to unoriginal observations, such as the contradiction between widespread opposition to immigration and our colonial past, which although clearly true doesn’t take a stand-up comedian to point out. The slightly odd tone of some of the anecdotes often raised a smile, but his delivery often felt flat, and when he did try to drolly emphasise his punchlines it felt a little bit forced and the joke itself came as an anti-climax. The running joke of his set was the emptiness of the oft repeated advice to be yourself when some people’s ‘true selves’ are fairly horrible, which is hardly original ground for the misanthropic subset of comics. Still, there was nothing objectionable about the set; there just could have been a touch more charisma and sharper humour.
Ger Staunton took to the stage for the second half of the show, and was a very similar comic to Fox. Again he didn’t have much of a comic persona, and spoke in something of a monotone. His material was less unified than Fox’s and mostly consisted of unconnected anecdotes, aside for some satisfying links back to earlier material near the end of the set. The material often covered tired ground like some of Fox’s gags: a surreal routine about political correctness didn’t feel particularly fresh despite Staunton’s best efforts, but some gags about drunkenness were surprisingly funny.
Considering it’s a free show it’s not an unpleasant experience, but saying this the Free Fringe features a lot of better and more inventive comics. Both stand-ups deliver a sometimes pleasantly relaxed set, but both failed to really get their audience going.