Chris Forbes: Unquiet Mind

‘This is not an insultive show’, says the amiable and bearded Forbes, relaxing us into a state of lethargy. And then he screams. Making the front three rows leap off their seats and then laugh with shock, this joke near the start of the show is one of Forbes’ most enjoyable. It's a shame that for the rest of the hour there are few such surprises, or indeed such loud laughs.

Forbes is an amiable stage presence, and there are moments of joy in his more unusual ideas.

Unquiet Mind feels like an ordinary bloke chatting and reminiscing. Between conversational sets, there are moments of musical comedy where he sings and accompanies himself on different instruments. These songs and musical sketches include a love song composed to his crush in school, some about his wife, or about Brad Pitt (of course). These are the highlights of the show, but rarely provoke many laughs or applause.

The general feeling is that there isn't enough bite. He asks where different members of the audience are from, but none of this leads to jokes - it seems instead just to be a way of making small talk. He takes us through some rather worn material about the supposed hatred between the Scottish and the English, and leads on to tell us about his own English fiancé. It's all perfectly amiable stuff, but there are few reasons to laugh. Forbes has a habit of building up stories and creating disappointing endings to them: we are told about the absolute weirdest ever thing that the couple do together, which then cannot live up to its own description.

A more surreal moment leads Forbes into describing and singing out his imagined bromance with Brad Pitt - again, this is silly and fun, but has few moments which allow the audience to laugh. The best idea which Forbes’ displays is that of motivational talk videos - saying inconsequential things over dramatic music, Forbes enacts the power of these and creates a real energy in the room. However, a large portion of the show is spent discussing his online trolling on Facebook comments, and these, though sometimes interesting in a morbid kind of way, appear to be based on what Forbes was able to get the most reactions from online, and less structured around what would work well in a comedy show.

Forbes is an amiable stage presence, and there are moments of joy in his more unusual ideas. His musical comedy is more entertaining than his stand-up, and I will long remember the pleasure of witnessing him re-enact his angry teenage self, trying to rebel on an accordion. However, for the most part, this Unquiet Mind is – somewhat ironically – too calm. More disquiet and more invitation for audience members to use their own brains would greatly improve this Unquiet Mind

Reviews by Lily Lindon

Assembly George Square Theatre

David O'Doherty: Big Time

★★★★
Roundabout @ Summerhall

Scorch

★★★★
Underbelly, George Square

Fleabag

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult

★★★★
Underbelly Med Quad

Joan

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Star of BBC's Scot Squad and award-winning comedian, Chris Forbes returns to the Fringe with an electrifying hour of stand-up, songs and sketches. Inspired by variety shows of old, Forbes pulls out all the stops to present an eclectic live experience that represents his unquiet mind. 'Brilliantly observed... laugh out loud stuff... A natural comedian' (Herald). 'He's brilliant company – honest, insightful, very funny' (Scotsman). 'You'll spend an hour with a big stupid smile plastered across your face' (List).