The Event (4 stars)

This article is from 2009

The Event

Brilliant deconstruction of stand-up

Like so many brilliant ideas the thinking behind this superb show is simple: stand-up deconstructed. A comedian walks on stage to begin what his audience assumes will be a standard comedy routine. Expectations are immediately overturned, however, with a monologue delivered in the third person that describes in a very self-reflexive manner the various elements of the show, or event, and their relationship to one another: the man (performing), the words (written for him), the strangers (watching), the technician (controlling the lighting), etc. It’s very clever and very droll, and it’s beautifully performed by David Calvitto, who teases out all the subtle nuances of playwright John Clancy’s multi-layered script.

Clancy, a Fringe veteran who had a big hit two years ago with Fatboy, apparently wrote The Event after seeing one too many awful stand-ups in Edinburgh. He’s clearly mining a rich seam here, and if the show did nothing more than deconstruct stand-up it would still be a winner. But Clancy takes things much further by moving seamlessly into an existential discussion about our place in this crazy world and then – and this is his masterstroke – returns to his original subject, now offered as the perfect metaphor for life. Absolute genius.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 31 Aug, 1.10pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).


  • 4 stars

Five-time Fringe First winner John Clancy ('Americana Absurdum', 'Fatboy') and Stage Best Actor David Calvitto ('Horse Country') reunite in this comic journey beyond the fourth wall into the dangerous, slippery territory that lies just beneath the written word.