Andrew Hunter Murray: Round One

Star of Austentacious, No Such Thing as Fish (and its television transfer - No Such Thing as the News), the QI Elf finally has his one-man-show. Luckily, he carries it off with delight and offers something out of the ordinary for character show. Hunter-Murray welcomes you to the pub quiz as the delightful Tim Rebozo.

An assured, worthy solo outing for Andrew Hunter Murray.

The story goes that we are here for the fifteenth annual Rose and Crown pub quiz. Tim very excitedly reminds us incidents from quizzes past, of the ludicrous sponsors, and then of the teams we’ve unwittingly entered. The team names are utter nonsense and achieve big laughs early on, with a samba group, a masked avenger, and a whole four benches as one giant book group team.

It takes a while, but during the first round, Rebozo takes to his booth, and suddenly the team names make sense, with the characters that Murray proceeds to offer being related to each of them. Firstly, we meet Arturo Flames, a more unusual take on the Spanish samba teacher. Not every gag lands but the wonderfully self-aware Murray uses this and the character comes alive when teaching us to do sit-down dancing. This is much funnier than it sounds, and the room becomes alive.

Shortly after we meet my absolute favourite character, Elwood Winkforth, an estate agent, who I really don't want to spoil for you. He has to deal with one of the most unusual tenanting crises I've ever heard and yet achieves sympathy and laughs in equal measure. Another character is a surprisingly poetic leader of the book group (must confess that I didn’t catch the name), who Murray initially seems to have wound a wonderfully tight script around, and then achieves some of the most joyous improv you’ll see from a solo artist this year. Not every idea lands laughter, but each brings joy and the inkling of an idea he wants to take even further in the future. Think Noel Fielding, if trading some of the wackiness for story arcs.

Round One is a triumph for Murray not just because his characters are well executed, but because they each bring something really quite unexpected and develop despite the limited stage time they each share. The main thread with Tim and his estrangement from Angie coinciding with his ludicrous ventures works really well, and the characterisation is much more effective and engaging due to a genuinely endearing plot.

An assured, worthy solo outing for Andrew Hunter Murray.

Reviews by Elliott Wengler

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Performances

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The Blurb

Andrew Hunter Murray, star of Fringe smash-hit Austentatious ***** (Times), QI podcast No Such Thing as a Fish and No Such Thing as the News (BBC Two), presents his debut solo hour, a sizzling slab of character comedy and high-stakes idiocy. Comes complete with outlandish wordplay and an extremely exciting Music Round. Bring the spirit of adventure, a thrilling sense of the possibilities of life, and a biro. 'Exquisitely punchy' (Times).

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