Mark Little's career has spanned many successful years in television and theatre and he has also brought several shows to the Fringe before. There is no doubt that he is an entertaining man with a lot of experience. However, The Bullsh!t Artist is a lazy show which rests on the laurels of his role in Neighbours and spends over half of its running time warming up.
Little spends over half an hour asking the audience where they're from, establishing that everyone is British and repeatedly saying, 'Well, isn't this rather international.' This joke recurs at five minutes intervals throughout the show and when he finally announces that his material is going to begin, it becomes quickly apparent that there isn't any. Firstly, he opens the floor to the audience and asks if they can get any questions about his role in Neighbours out of the way. There are no questions, a situation which Little appears to find very embarrassing. His content attempts to tackle modern comedy, the way people bug him about being in Neighbours and his age. He has a confident style of observational comedy, but it fails to hit the mark. At a moment where there is a particular lull, he brings out his more controversial material; however, this doesn't sit well with the crowd and when a 9/11 joke goes sour he dismisses it with the bizarre statement, 'Let's not worry about Blair killing all those Iraqis then.' The most successful moment of the show is when he performs his spoken word, as it is the first time during the show that the crowd has not interjected at any point.
There's a possibility that the small audience, dispersed thinly across the large venue, didn't help the atmosphere of this show; they were rather unwilling to cooperate and the heckles came thick and fast. Little generally managed to take these comments on the chin, but after a few walkouts and intentionally audible yawns it was evident that he no longer was holding anyone’s attention.
It's a shame that Little doesn't draw more on his wealth of performing experience for this show; it relies far too heavily on people already knowing who he is and on simply stating that the show is bad for comedic effect. It's possible that this show will not find its ideal audience in Edinburgh this year, unless it is sufficient for you to have been in the presence of a self-professed 'soap legend.'