Jamie Demetriou has come up with and employed a great and original idea for his Pleasance comedy set. He has created four different characters and far from stereotypical, these guys are original, entertaining and totally absurd. Even during the three costume changes in between we are treated to a delightfully bizarre form of entertainment which can only really be described as the ‘talking lamps’ sequence. Three lamps that decorate the stage, as well as a few of the Pleasance ceiling lights, flicker in time to certain male and female recorded voices that joke, flirt and laugh with each other, setting the tone of surrealist fun for the evening.
First up is Kern, a misled singer who has come to the Fringe to perform his dubious music, but ended up with a comedy slot at the Pleasance. Kern doesn’t do comedy. In his nervousness, and in a strong Indian accent, he abruptly shouts out English phrases with incorrect spins on them. (This, in practice, is a lot funnier than it sounds.) Desperate for our approval Kern tries to think up all kinds of different ways he can entertain us. This desperation is a running theme of Demetriou’s characters, the third and fourth in particular.
An oversized choirboy is forced by his nine-year-old, invisible bullies to recite a hymn which they have tarnished by swapping every lyric with obscenities. This character is whiny and overly genuine, repeatedly begging his taunting classmates to ‘be fair, be fair and honest about me’. Just as desperate is Demetriou’s last character, a stand-up comic and absentee father with self-esteem issues and asshole tendencies. His ‘daughter’ is conveniently seated in the front row. He requires cool jazz music, coined his ‘confidence music’ to be able to perform.
The second character is the only female, anything but desperate for approval, and the most memorable of the quartet: the psychotic, forgotten nanny of the audience’s youth. She was terrifying as she shouted obscenities at the audience about her genuinely worrying bowel movements, then paused to let us soak up the shock and disgust of the image. If not for the others, then for Nanny, you must try and sit in the front row, where you will be interrogated, and reduced to tears of laughter.
In all, Demetriou is a competent performer who thrives off terrorising and bemusing his audience. His array of characters is at present entertaining, but could be hilarious if a little more varied.