Henning Wehn No Surrender

This is the second year running that I have seen a Fringe set by Henning Wehn – and although the man is a brilliant stand-up, the common threads running through his material are a little too overriding for me to recommend such a course of action. That said, in and of itself this set is what the German comic in his usual unsettling appropriation of British idiom might call 'a right old barrel of laughs'.Whereas last year's material was structured around the excoriation of British foibles and pointed out some of our own deep-seated cultural idiocies, in 2011 Wehn provides a kind of counterpoint by examining the curious nature of the expat experience. He explains how his distance from his original culture has led him to miss aspects of it which previously had no appeal, such as Aldi supermarkets and the oompah band. In some ways it could be argued that his whole persona is an extension of this routine - a knowingly-formulated uber-German asserting his Teutonic identity against a tide of British incompetence and illogical decision-making.One section of the set is telling not just for Wehn's comedy, but the genre as a whole. If he gets popular next year, he suggests, he will be able to perform the same set in a larger venue to ten times the audience; if this does not continue exponentially, he will be forced to write new material. One senses, despite the essential sameness of his shtick, that Wehn is keen to create - super-stardom won't come calling any time soon for the accented weirdo of the British comedy circuit; but this venue, which he grimly refers to as his 'bunker', suits him, and he likes it better that way.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

Surely the German Comedy Ambassador will never find a more subtle show title than last year's My Struggle. Well, he'll die trying. 'A vulnerable man grappling with a language that isn't his own' (Guardian).