Absurdist and ramshackle entertainment from maverick Edinburgh musician
This article is from 2012.
‘We’ve all taken a bag of ecstasy and tried to book a skiing holiday, haven’t we?’ If you say so, Paul Vickers, renowned Edinburgh musician and maverick, and key-holder to the frankly baffling kingdom of Twonkey (it rhymes with ‘wonky’), who is a small rattling puppet character who’s ‘half dragon, half witch and also an accountant’. Vickers’ solo show is filled with statements like the above, surreal vignettes with a stupefying laugh-out-loud quality, which make little sense on their own and even less when performed together.
His show follows the dynamics of a concert, with each of Vickers’ weird songs framed by a series of unconnected fairytales, all dark and esoteric, and betraying a fascination with knicker references that’s straight out of the 70s. Witness the fate of Humpty Dumpty’s orphan children, members of a savage species who live in windmills. Or Vickers’ unfulfilled dream to be a fat little duck who feasts on engine oil until a periscope shoots from his brain. Or a short mind-reading session, which establishes that one audience member ‘likes it up against an electricity pylon at 4am in miserable conditions.’
It’s all a bit ramshackle, to be honest, but that largely works when Vickers’ studiedly nonplussed performance is taken into account. He has the down at heel air of your typical toiling-in-obscurity underground musician and a manner which suggests Harry Hill turning up half an hour late for work with a raging hangover. When items from his ‘set’ – a windmill, a ship’s wheel and an assortment of hand puppets on the table alongside him – tumble onto the floor to be retrieved by an audience member, it’s almost as if he’d planned such mishaps, so in keeping were they with the tumbledown aesthetic he only just managed to muster into a mostly engaging whole.
Alternative Fringe @ The Hive, until Sun 26 Aug (not 7, 21, 22), 15.00 (1 hour), free ticketed.