Edward Aczel: Do I Really Have To Communicate With You?

Disembodied voices are not what you need to hear in a venue that's already as spooky as the Old Town's Underbelly, but that what you get at the start of Ed Aczel's comedy set as he introduces himself from offstage.

In fact, he tries several re-takes of his intro to see which one goes down best with the audience – an unusual and inventive start. From there, it's a rambling, shambolic intro which tickles the funny bone before he stumbles in to the main section of his set.

He plays nicely with his audience, messing up their expectations by reading an improbable set list from the back of his hand, before going on to deliver it with a bunch of good one-liners on a series of stretching topics (Wittgenstein, anyone ?).

His laid-back, laconic delivery is perfectly suited to his material which progresses well up-to and including a 'reverse quiz' (you get the answers in advance – strange, but it works), with a not insubstantial whip-round from the audience as a prize.

After this though, it fizzled out with an interesting but ultimately pointless routine with a smoke machine and a Charles Aznavour song. I thought he was deliberately (and because of the smoke machine, quite literally) killing the atmosphere at the gig with a view to bringing the house back up to a rousing comedy climax, but nope, that was our lot and we were out on our ear.

Perhaps he's not used to delivering such a long set, or perhaps this particular routine just doesn't work as a finale. The first three-quarters of his show was a dead cert for a four-star rating, but he pulled it back to three by chucking away all the audience goodwill that he had so carefully built.

If you can forgive him the last few minutes (and you should), catch the rest of his show, as Ed Aczel is an interesting and inventive comedy voice.

The Blurb

Aczel attempts to fill an hour with minimal preparation and no reasonable alternative. 'One of my favourite Fringe experiences' (Times). 'Original and inspired genius anti-comic' (Time Out). www.fringe2008.com