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.