William Andrews: Nitwit

It is hard to describe this show as it contains such a variety of eclectic ideas yet is entirely successful in its execution, and offers much originality throughout. The show has been planned with meticulous detail, with the comedy beginning from the moment the audience set inside the venue. Karaoke-style words (or noises in this case) appear on the mixed media set to the instrumental versions of songs in the pre-show music; it is a subtle but intelligent gag that sets the tone for the majority of the show.Andrews exploits the use of comedy at every turn, and incorporates many different styles within the show. His Bad Jokes and Cheap Laughs sections are brilliantly delivered, helped by their containers of labelled jars and the uncomfortable persona he adopts during these. In other moments, he relies entirely on mime and physical comedy to generate laughs as he throws himself around the stage, communicating much through his expressive eyes.His mixed media set is a constant in the show, and has several functions. Its audience autocue is a masterstroke in forging interaction with the audience, yet its real genius comes in the scene where a floating head performs a scene with Andrews, leading up to the best stage kiss I have ever witnessed. This scene fuses all of the techniques employed by Andrews at different points in the show and is remarkable for its attention to detail. Verbal comedy, physical comedy, characterisation, music, lighting and a strong sense of acting all bind together to form a delicious comic stew that was enjoyed by all on the night I saw the show. Other high points in the show include a great homage to children's records, a wickedly funny computer sketch involving “downloading the internet” and an absolutely fantastic visual gag at the end of the show which kept the audience laughing all the way out of the show. The only section that hit a slight iffy note was one revolving around visiting Scotland, particularly as a lot of Scots appeared to be in that night. Nevertheless, hitting only a single minute of discomfort amongst an entire hour is no mean feat, and Andrews deserves much acclaim for constructing such a laughter-laden show.He has a wonderfully relaxed and laid-back manner with the audience, yet oozes stage presence and confidence. The performance is so assured that, no matter how random the segue seems from one sketch to another, you feel entirely comfortable going with it as the comic payoff is almost guaranteed. Armed with this knowledge, Andrews often makes no effort to provide a link between material; instead, he merely moves on to the next topic when he was ready and allows the audience to follow behind him. It is as if he is a jukebox, constantly in motion and moving from one comedy sketch to another in the same way that we might skip through tracks on a CD. It is a bold move, and one that could easily backfire; yet it actually really works and creates a highly original, dazzling and quirky production. It is highly refreshing to see something different to the norm, and Andrews achieves this in spades, right down to the unique holding of his microphone. For a real original treat, and for an hour laced with comedy from all angles, pop along to watch Andrews perform his heart out. It's worth it.

Reviews by Damian Sandys

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The Blurb

Part stand-up, part sketches, part monster: a fast-paced mix of media, melodrama and monkey jokes. 'Deranged and quite brilliant comic star' (Scotsman). 'A vision of love wearing boxing gloves singing hearts and flowers' (Aztec Camera).

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