Sam Wyatt is an ambitious stand-up comedian who has taken a novel approach to this year’s festival, in designing a live gameshow with uniquely imaginative rounds. His venue is one of the more remote that PBH’s Free Fringe has to offer: in the Kilderkin pub, a ten minute walk east from the main stretch of the Royal Mile. The format is strong and the show is enjoyable, although in its first incarnation this year, it’s some way off its potential.
Could be a future Edinburgh Fringe cult smash that will last a generation.
As a comedian, Wyatt is above average, but you’ll be taking the trip for his creativity in designing a fun, interactive show, rather than his stand-up prowess. He opens with his modus operandi- comedically acting out over-sexualised lyrics to carefully chosen songs through interpretive dance. It’s a strong way to kick off the show, and also sets the tone for the tongue-in-cheek but not overtly offensive hour.
The two main points for analysis in this show are the format, and the character delivering it. The gameshow rounds really are well designed and individualistic – involving creative pictures of Wyatt subbed into well known album covers, acting out the lyrics to songs through his traditional mime, and fun props to deduce mystery song titles. For his ingenuity in these designs, Wyatt truly deserves mad props. It is the concepts that carry the rounds though, as the selected materials for each of the ideas feel like he’s settling, rather than whittling down a vast archive of ideas for maximum fun and performance challenges.
Regarding the persona of the man on stage, it is not quite clear whether the voice is that of Wyatt the man or Wyatt the gameshow host. He comedically berates his contestants and audience, increasingly effectively, although it’s not immediately obvious that this was his prior intention, rather than how he adapted to the room. As he absent-mindedly turned his back to the audience, it occurred to me that the character might work a clearly defined bad slapstick and rude gameshow host, and that the version we were presented with here his somewhere between Wyatt as a comedian and the eventual caricature he will hopefully evolve.
The finale of the show is a glorious comedy routine with a burlesque twist that prompted the man next to me to say “What an ending!”. The show is certainly the 'riot' that the title promises it will be, and the format is genuinely inspired. I suspect that with a year or two of hard work in meticulously crafting out the identity best befitting the show and the materials he delivers with it, we could be looking at a future Edinburgh Fringe cult smash that will last a generation.