Simon Munnery's Fylm School

Simon Munnery believes that the camera should be used more in live performance, and the result is the fantastical world of his Fylm School. As you sit down facing the stage, Munnery himself is positioned behind you at a desk. He has a small camera, which he variously points at himself or at what his hands are doing on the table. The result is projected onto a large screen in front of you. Using this unusual medium, he stretches logic to its surreal limits and then illustrates it in the form of small paper cut-out people and things, made to move and act out jokes and scenes on the screen for your entertainment.

The ultimate backbone of this is Munnery’s inventiveness and comedy instinct.

Munnery begins with a pseudo-topical, surreal opening rap, fantastically illustrated with some of his cutouts. Lyrics and jokes are animated as needed through the use of pins, sellotape, and Munnery’s own hands. Seeing the process is part of the fun. The comedian’s endless imagination is put to excellent use through his ‘fylms’, and he constantly surprises with the new ways in which he finds to use his handmade movable components. We are treated to a combination of casual (but very funny) chatting from Munnery, ridiculous illustrated puns, scenarios, and stories. All of these hit home, the response ranging from baffled giggles to huge belly laughs.

This latest variation on Munnery’s idiosyncratic camera medium includes daily special guests. On the evening that this reviewer stopped in, they were Lolly Adefope and Rhys James, both of whom gave sterling but quite different sets, hidden behind the desk and projected on the screen. Lolly delivered a piece of her fantastic character work, whilst James gave a more standard but solid and highly enjoyable set. Both used the camera only a little, and it would be nice to see them use it a little more, as doubtless different guests will, but it is nonetheless an interesting experience to see a stand-up routine in which the performer cannot rely at all on their stage presence or physicality, only their face being visible. This gives the effect of watching a YouTube video or dating profile, and works fantastically well.

The ultimate backbone of this is however Munnery’s inventiveness and comedy instinct. His final section alone - a reconstruction of what a particularly boring couple’s first date must have been like - makes this seemingly haphazard show ludicrously funny.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Simon Munnery

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The Blurb

Comedy meets maverick cinema as Simon Munnery – 'one of the funniest, most original comedians of the past twenty years' (Guardian) – introduces the Fringe's finest, most daring comedians to a camera, projector and screen. Different special guests join Simon daily in this hit, monthly London night – see online for line-ups. 'Surreal, whimsical and always inexplicably hilarious, this innovative show proves that there’s more to comedy than one man and a microphone’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'It's a lot of fun' (Time Out).

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