The incoming audience is met by a tall man resplendent in shorts, M&S shirt buttoned to the collar and white joke shop beard. It does not augur well. But as he greets and directs us with a range of subtle gestures and facial expressions, we know we are in safe hands. This man, we are later informed with a rare spoken word, is 'The King' and he proceeds to demonstrate his graciousness, speed and all-round excellence with a series of high fives, each one different from and funnier than the last. I know, sounds ridiculous, but Walker knows how to build a routine without labouring it.
Walker is a master clown, an accessible absurdist
For many comedians on the Fringe, hitting the audience hard as soon as they are settled is a must. It makes sense; get them onside with an early statement of intent. Walker, though, is more than happy to wait for the audience to catch on, spinning his madness out, the laughter gathering both in the moment and in expectation of the next escalation.
I'm not one for audience participation – I had my notebook at the ready to fend him off – but Walker's charm is such that we are all willing participants. More, we are his playmates. So comfortable and collaborative were his many stage-mates, it was hard believe they weren't plants.
There are impressions, too. Walker's boiling kettle is immaculate and if you want to know what it's like being the keyboard player in Bon Jovi, he reveals all. And Walker is a dab hand at guessing the correct card from his imaginary deck, notwithstanding his elaborate shuffling technique.
I'm attempting to describe the indescribable. Suffice it to say, Walker is a master clown, an accessible absurdist, his eyes at once both manic and playful, his booming Anglicised delivery (Walker is an Aussie) giving us just enough information to get inside his head. Nothing avant garde or pretentious here. Just brilliance.