Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (and My Wife)

Alfie Brown’s persona is defined by a mix of nihilism and desperation, yet this time round he promised the audience that his misanthropic take on the world had cooled. Brown cuts an absorbing figure on stage, and his raw comedic talent is unquestionably impressive. Unfortunately, his frustrations have certainly affected his material, which often left the audience rather dissatisfied. For an act entrenched in cynicism to hold any real weight, it needs direction, yet at times it looked like he was scraping the barrel for things to shout about.

Brown has a magnetism and intelligence about him which was undermined by the quality of his occasionally lazy material.

This was exasperating, as there were moments when Brown’s performance was insightful, thought-provoking and downright funny. A recollection of a disastrous trip to Tenerife was told in great style, whilst a rant on the perceptions of mental illness was very well observed indeed.

Unfortunately, some rather questionable material that also featured in the show diluted the quality of Brown’s act. Whilst it was possible to understand his point in discussing the ethical ambiguity of having sex with an underage girl that looked older than her age, the argument was weak, and bordered on tasteless. Another examination into the context of racial slurs fell similarly flat, and it can be argued that it’s a rather pointless exercise to debate something that has fairly objective moral boundaries. This was a shame, because Brown has a magnetism and intelligence about him which was undermined by the quality of his occasionally lazy material. If he were to channel his fury towards a more measured conclusion, then there is no doubt that he could be a major player in the world of alternative comedy. For the time being, the show only offered glimpses of his potential, and it’s now up to him to fully develop his evident powers of comedy.

Reviews by Robert McGowan Stuart

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Marlon Davis: Once Upon A Grime

★★
Laughing Horse @ New Empire Bingo

The New Wave

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

The Horne Section: Milk the Tenderness

★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Spencer Brown

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Alfie Brown’s fourth Edinburgh show is another screaming, pretentious, crusading monstrosity. It’s all about divorce (his), Bipolar Disorder (his) and reality (?). What is right? What is real? Morals are taught, accepted and then regurgitated. It seems bizarre that we don’t ask questions, it seems weird that when we do people tell us we’re mad. I’m not mad, you're not mad, society has Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. Another 55 minutes of bombastic diatribe (see?) from Alfie (me). Don’t believe everything you think.