Phil Ellis is Ready for the Big Time
- Henry Northmore
- 10 August 2018
Not quite as chaotic and stupid as it looks
Phil Ellis thinks he has the formula to make it big, with his mix of stories, magic and sadness surely set to send him rocketing to the next level. In reality, the Funz and Gamez guy's show parodies the concept of 'big time' comedians purposefully doing almost the exact opposite.
The stories are all depressing or pointless (a dead neighbour or running over a badger). A member of the audience is in charge of the backing track with Ellis changing the tone and pace of his material to match the music. Adding in a death-driven game show, some awful magic and an inappropriate book club, there's a desperation and self-flagellating sense of humour which he somehow manages to land nearly every joke.
It looks chaotic and stupid but underneath it's incredibly clever and genuinely hilarious with material that shares the same astute grasp of the mechanics of comedy as per the work of Stewart Lee or Richard Gadd. A show like this can only work live and exist in the moment, and it builds up to perhaps the most audacious finale at this year's Fringe. It's too manic and weird for TV, but Phil Ellis does deserve the big time. Cracked genius from start to finish.
Heroes @ The Hive, until 26 Aug (not 15), 7.40pm, £5 (£3.50) or donations at the venue.