Don't Be Terrible (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Don't Be Terrible

An oddball comedy between an unfunny man and a very funny woman

Steve, the male protagonist of Don't Be Terrible, is going through a tricky time. His beloved girlfriend is convinced that another man at work is funnier than he is, and he will stop at nothing, including employing the skills of acerbic stand-up comedian Alice, to change her mind.

The premise might sound rife with obnoxious potential, but Don't Be Terrible actually manages to largely tread a surprisingly funny and genuine line. The cast of two have sparkling chemistry, with Steve exhibiting a disarming Hugh Grant-style charisma that is confidently and brutally taken apart by Alice, whose snippets of stand up are as side-splitting as some of the actual comedy offerings of the Fringe.

Possessing all the affable charm of the sharper variety of Richard Curtis comedies, Don't Be Terrible stumbles when it also echoes their problematic gender politics. A scene where the hapless male finally loses control is meant to be read as a moment of catharsis, but it actually comes across as unexpectedly violent, while the conclusive characterisation of the female comedian as 'difficult' seems a bit off. Despite these shortfalls, however, Don't Be Terrible is an unexpectedly delightful investigation of the complexity of modern day relationships, told with welcome dark humour.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 11pm, £11.

Don't Be Terrible

  • 3 stars

Standard Man Productions Can stand-up save your love life? Self-confessed nice guy Steve thinks so. That's why he's asked Alice, an up-and-coming stand-up, how to make people laugh. It's his last-ditch attempt to distract his girlfriend from the funny guy at work. Unfortunately, misanthrope Alice believes in comedy much…