On any given afternoon in the Fringe, you’re likely to find Simon Munnery gracing the stage of The Stand comedy club. On the day of review it wasn’t raining, preventing the comic from one of his most reliable gags (“do you enjoy the dampness of the sauna but dislike the excessive warmth? Visit Edinburgh in August”), but there were plenty of familiar Munnerisms on display – a blend of surreal perspectives, snippets of songs, written material and gloriously amateurish DIY props.
Both gently thought-provoking and very funny
The fact Munnery couldn’t use the rainy Edinburgh joke doesn’t actually matter this year. He’s got a new gag featuring the show’s titular wreath. It’s the foundation of an hour of comedy which runs the gamut of subjects, from the hygiene of Dyson Airblade hand-dryers to the jurisdiction of paedophiles. The journey is circuitous, constantly hopping from place to place, and often very funny.
Many of the best moments come when Munnery takes commonplace ideas and phrases and breaks them down for further scrutiny, or extends them out to their illogical conclusions. The rules of a children’s chess club and the idea of leaving a place better than you found it become conduits for big laughs, displaying an unassuming intelligence which is both gently thought-provoking and very funny.
Not all of the material hits, and a section following the audio journey of an egg factory cleaner at work slightly lost the crowd, but Munnery is an accomplished performer and it didn’t take long to get back on track.
By the end of the show you feel like you’ve covered a lot of ground with the near-Bedford based comic. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable trip which offers familiar comfort to long-time fans of Munnery, but also a taste of something a little different to those who haven’t seen this staple of the Edinburgh August line-up.