George and Co (The Solo Tour)

Australian comic George Dimarelos’s first full-length show at the Fringe is a solid effort, with his conversational style and obvious talent for observational comedy showing a lot of promise.

His material might be spread a bit thin over the course of the 45 minutes that he was on stage, but he is definitely one to look out for if he makes it back next year’s Fringe.

In what was probably the least show-biz stage entrance at this year’s Fringe, Dimarelo’s introduced himself stage-announcer style, having already introduced himself non-formally moments earlier. It is clear that he wants to feel out the room at the beginning of the set with some casual conversation with the audience. Unfortunately, his working knowledge of Huddersfield and Cumbria wasn’t up to scratch, nor was his ability to make sense of an Irish accent (ok, that was partly my fault) so he quickly had to draw a line under the show’s opening.

It’s fair to say that this failed attempt at audience interaction stumped him. The show took a while to get going, with the audience a bit unresponsive to some of the gags. However, things were not going as bad as he thought they were (the Cumbrian couple’s early exit was entirely unmerited) but these things always seem worse from the performer’s point of view. There were two Huddersfield gentlemen sitting front-row centre who had a lot riding on them in the early stages as one carefully placed heckle from them had the potential to bring the performance to its knees. However, to their eternal credit, they responded positively when Dimarelos referred to them, one of the two offering to get a beer for the stand-up about half-way through the set when he got up to go to the bar. It seemed that Dimarelos took confidence from this and the show picked up from there on out.

Dimarelos begins to find his stride as a semblance of structure emerges with the show entering its second half. This through-line based on his theory that we all have a dual self – one that does what is socially acceptable at any given moment and one that wants to disregard all societal convention. In retrospect, the underlying structure of this piece isn’t wholly dissimilar to Louis C.K’s “Of course...But!” routine. However, Dimarelos’s take is fresh and a lot less in-your-face that the American’s and would definitely give the Aussie’s show a greater sense of continuity if he could incorporate some of the stand-alone bits from the first half.

Probably the stand-out routine of the show concerns Dimarelos’s experience of men’s gym locker rooms and the sort of reverse homophobia that exists there. This is very clever and surprisingly quite subversive. Dimarelos clearly has a keen eye for everyday irony and he ends the show proper with a very well-worked call-back.

Every the laid-back Aussie, Dimarelos was planning on meeting the guys from Huddersfield downstairs for a drink after the gig as the audience filled out. His material might be spread a bit thin over the course of the 45 minutes that he was on stage, but he is definitely one to look out for if he makes it back next year’s Fringe. 

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The Blurb

George and Co (The Solo Tour) is a stand-up show with a difference. It's not just about this (points to head) but also this (points to heart). If the show was an animal, it would be the honey badger. If it was a letter of the alphabet, it would be Y. And if it was an emotion, it would be the feeling of looking at the time and seeing 11:11 twice in one day. Come along and have a laugh or even just sit silently - laughter preferred.

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