Terry Alderton (5 stars)

This article is from 2006.

Now this - take note all who go the perilous route of ‘multimedia’ comedy - is how to do it. It could have gone either way after the artsy, expressionistic video intro, but happily for his wide-eyed audience, Terry Alderton has all the pretentiousness of a Jack Russell, with which he also shares the attributes of endless enthusiasm and inexhaustible energy. But that’s not quite enough to deliver a superlative act, is it Mr L Evans? No, you would need to add things like, let’s see: expert mime; inspired voice characterisation and impersonations; exquisitely executed dance numbers; and achingly funny physical comedy. That could well be enough. But in the present case we can also throw in clandestinely clever narratives, swift material and a gleeful sense of sexual macabre.

Alderton has the kind of maniacal physical presence, the kind of weapons-grade performative energy that seems one ligament-snap or artery-pop away from total meltdown. Which never happens, of course. Because in truth, far from being a chaotic prayer to chance, the show is, beneath the veneer of frenzy, choreographed to a precision which defies belief. The audience laugh - do they ever - but there are also gasps of the type more appropriate to air shows, such is the sub-millisecond conspiracy of timing between Alderton’s semi-improvisational transports and the pre-recorded samples.

If his work with the front row is done with plants (which seems unlikely), they deserve credit for their naturalistic performances; if not, Alderton’s ability to meld extemporisation with script borders on the clairvoyant. The comedian does well to credit his director and sound designer in the show’s outro, their skills being more than evident. But there’s no debating who is the star of this masterful, innovative, punctiliously lunatic spectacle. Flaws are limited to a slight over-reliance on laddish themes and some recurring linguistic gags. Otherwise, this is ruddy bloody close to the ideal comedy gig.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug (not 15), 10.20pm, £11-£12 (£9.50-£10.50).

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