Russell Hicks: A Fist Full of Ideas (3 stars)

Russell Hicks: A Fist Full of Ideas

Hour of masterful crowd work as comic figures it all out, whatever it is

Russell Hicks' tiny karaoke room in the City Café isn't meeting the demand of today's queue. Sizing up the packed room, and with the door still wide open, he addresses those waiting outside. 'I'll swap you for these guys if I don't like them,' he says, gesturing at the assembled crowd. Another performer has claimed them and turns to face him. 'This is my audience,' she scowls.

Hicks' show is mostly just this sort of thing: adventures with other humans. Looking barely awake, he clutches a mug of coffee, enlists an older couple to act as surrogate parents, and takes us through an hour of masterful crowd work. It flies by, to the extent that it's closer to 70 minutes by the time he's done. What he lacks in timekeeping he makes up for with some genuinely amusing conversations. We learn today, for example, that the Lithuanian tourist board recently came up with the slogan 'the G-spot of Europe' to encourage visitors. Marriage is discussed, and Hicks tells us he hates being told 'you should have a kid, Russ,' given that he can barely arrive on time for his own show. It's all very convivial and – thanks to our host's fairly direct approach to asking personal questions – never dull.

A fistful of ideas turns out to be a rucksack containing a notebook. Consulting it, Hicks rambles about the joys of sparkling water and goes off on a tangent about squash before looking at us, resigned. 'It's a painful process,' he sighs. It may be so, but watching him figure it all out is an amusing way to start the day.

Laughing Horse @ City Café, until 26 Aug, 12.50pm, donations.

Russell Hicks: A Fist Full of Ideas

  • 3 stars

Russell Hicks Russell Hicks attempts to hone a work that is forever in progress by walking on stage with – literally – a fist full of ideas. Age category: 16+

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