On any given night during the Edinburgh Fringe there are dozens of funny comics standing on stage talking about the life and loves of a performer. It’s understandably tough to stand out amongst this sea of talent, well unless you’re Spencer Jones.
By the time The Herbert has recruited audience members to help him create an energetic and upbeat musical finale he’s won over everyone in the room.
Now enjoying his second trip to the festival, Jones has created a unique and tremendously funny mix of prop-heavy character comedy and clowning with The Herbert in Proper Job. Bedecked in an extravagant animal themed top and pair of white tights, it doesn’t take long to realise that you’re in for something very different.
Jones builds the world of The Herbert beautifully, starting off by establishing the nature of this unusual character. Clowns are most effective when they embrace the innocence and chaotic naivety of childhood, playing it off against the more serious strictures of adult society. It is exactly this sense that Jones conjures with The Herbert and you can’t help but get swept along with it.
For example, during the opening section The Herbert runs through the unusual online purchases of a man whose shopping while drunk, or stoned, or coked-up, or smacked out of his head, or all of the above. The comedian barely issues a coherent sentence but the effect of the whole segment is hilarious as price-tags become punch-lines.
From then the show becomes an exploration of the life and loves of The Herbet. We see him taking on a job at a nuclear power plant, dealing with the illness of a child, and being subjected to the scorn of friends and loved ones who refuse to believe the man has a proper job; he brings each of these characters to life with little more than the expert, and occasionally disturbing, use of fake eyes.
By the time The Herbert has recruited audience members to help him create an energetic and upbeat musical finale he’s won over everyone in the room. It becomes patently obvious that Jones has a proper job and it’s one which he is excels at doing.