By all accounts Darius Davies has had a few interesting experiences this Fringe. The self-confessed comedy heel is back at the festival with a reworked and much-improved professional wrestling based show. In returning he's crafted an hour of comedy which will delight wrestling fans but has enough to entertain anyone else.
An energetic and enjoyable hour from an engaging performer.
As for those interesting experiences I mentioned, check out the early audience reviews on the comedian's Edfringe booking page and you'll see a hilarious range of awful write-ups which have been backed up by a purpose-built twitter account aimed at destroying the performer. The best wrestler's can draw heat as well as exaltation and for some reason or another there is a group of Spaniards somewhere out there spitting fire at Davies.
Is their ire justified? Not in the slightest. Davies has retained the same bombastic energy he brought to the Fringe last year, starting the show at full pace and maintaining the intensity through much of the show. The stronger material is still there. Accompanied by a complementary range of audio and video clips the audience is treated to a breakdown of the old 'wrestling is fake argument' along with some famous, funny and bizarre moments from wrestling history.
All these clips are accompanied by Davies' hi-octane delivery, which only dips when we reach the climax of the show – the story of the comedian's own flirtation with the world of professional wrestling. This tale of a young man's inept attempts at achieving wrestling stardom, and the severe consequences of this incompetence, are presented in a charmingly self-deprecatory way.
This is a director's cut which represents a marked improvement on the original version. All the extra material works well and the comedian's appearance on the BBC is a highlight which, although only tenuously connected to wrestling, draws big laughs. On the evening of this review a couple of technical miscues, and two more serious fainting incidents, threatened to derail Davies but it is to his credit he managed to pull things back on course.
If you're a wrestling fan then see this show. If you're not then you can still find something to enjoy in the occasional pipe bombs Davies has thrown into his set. It's not perfect but it's an energetic and enjoyable hour from an engaging performer.