Austerity Pleasures

This show consisted of political satire. As if the title and a flyer depicting comics Alex Chapman and Ben Morgan inserted into a Socialist Realism poster starring David Cameron’s shiny face in the sky wasn’t enough, it opened with an alternative slideshow of Twitter-suggested political pun titles for the show. If you are getting the sense that this is all laid on a bit thick you would be correct; this slightly too straight-forward approach unfortunately reared its head sporadically throughout the two performers otherwise amusing sets.

The pair chose the easiest method of simply taking turns with their sets and up first on the day of the opening performance, Morgan had a right to be nervous. He did seem to take time finding his feet, unaided by an initial Powerpoint malfunction, but recovered well before delivering a set of social satire.

Morgan was an observational stand-up who arrowed in on subjects such as football and the the Olympics with lightly barbed remarks. He spread his net wide in search of target and as a result his material demanded he work in rather exposition-heavy sections to make topical observations that stopped being topical over a year ago fit in. He also seemed prone to the heavy-handed misdirection joke, but nonetheless he presented a well-directed tour de force of funny if safe satire.

Alex Chapman, former Chortle student stand-up competitor and predictably liberal political commentator fared slightly better with a set that evaded the formulaic in favour of some intriguing insight, refreshing and surprising given his opening admittance that ‘I hate David Cameron’. His allusions to and usage of his being a philosophy student were very witty.

He did seek approval often, asking if ‘anyone knew this’ a few too many times, but this lack of confidence in his references was unnecessary. With acerbic and sharp commentary combined with the garrulous spin of a logician, he gained a great deal of support and reciprocation from the audience.

This show does not strive to change the world but to snigger at it from the sidelines. In this goal it succeeds and is a perfectly adequate way to spend an hour. However, to be truly revolutionary one suspects a more revitalised set of topics and a less innocent method of discussing them would really push this pair from Bill Hicks fans to Bill Hicks’ colleagues.

Reviews by James Dolton

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The Blurb

Fringe veteran Ben Morgan and virgin Alex Chapman team up for the free show Austerity Pleasures. Start your day with their distinct brand of political and social satire. Expect jokes about parliaments, policies and leader lampooning.

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