Fringe veteran Simon Munnery once more brings his eclectic mix of props, jokes, sketches, songs, poetry, and storytelling to the stage of The Stand with Trials and Tribulations. It’s a show which features flashes of the comedian’s trademark eccentric genius, but sometimes falls into passages which are entertaining, but not hilarious.
A show which features flashes of the comedian’s trademark eccentric genius
Munnery is at is best when he’s free-wheeling through his more surreal material. His props remain gloriously amateurish, and he’s a fine joke writer, taking down audience members and Northampton alike with a tremendous sense of silliness. A song about the unsavoury excretory and dietary habits of Vladimir Putin sounds familiar from a previous show, but it’s well timed and remains very funny, as is a look at a pair of his shoes. It’s a good start, and constantly unexpected in the way you might expect from the comic.
The heart of the show sees Munnery telling tales of his titular Trials and Tribulations. There are accounts of a couple of occasions which have led the comedian to appear in court, and also a classic, star-studded, medical emergency based Fringe story from a man who has been there, done it, and been left out of the autobiography of Steve Coogan.
The story of Munnery battling a car park company, and the one about how he was arrested 20 years ago by Edinburgh’s decidedly less than finest, are engaging tales of law and disorder. Similarly, hearing a yarn from the formative years of some of British comedy’s biggest names is very enjoyable, however the laughs are sparse and the telling is more fascinating than funny.
The laugh count picks up again towards the end of the show with the performance of an anti-Archers sketch featuring two dodgy ooh-aargh merchants with a predilection for home secretaries and tastelessly named nightclubs. It’s a strong ending, reminding the audience that when he is on top form, there’s no one quite like this weird and wondrous comic.