Howard Read: Hide and Speak (2 stars)

This article is from 2013

Howard Read: Hide and Speak

Innovative animation doesn’t quite pay off at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Howard Read is no stranger to experimentation: the first to use animation in live comedy, his conceit here is to perform stand-up as a cartoon character, live. Like puppetry but with cartoons. And a ukulele! An animator as well as stand-up, award-winner Read presents 'all of human evolution on one stand-up bill', including a mouthy pigeon, chickens, a smiting God and, of course, longstanding showbusiness partner Little Howard, all manipulated by way of whizz-bang gadgetry. There's a free whistle if you can work out how it's done!

A tantalising and innovative idea is let down by its constituent parts, however. The cartoons lack appeal; impressionistic narration (Davids Attenborough and Cameron make cameo appearances) is inauthentic, and Read's patter in general is patchy and strained. Centre-staging the lacklustre graphic stars both sidelines Read and puts distance between him and the house.

Separate clips are presented without comment and add little. With more shows under his belt over the month to increase confidence and verve, Read should hopefully become less at sea with his grown-up audiences and do justice to his imaginative concept.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug (not 12), 9.30pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).

Howard Read: Hide and Speak

  • 2 stars

Get Comedy. He was the first to use animation in live comedy, the first to make a cartoon boy belch in front of the Queen. Now multi award-winning stand-up animator Howard Read says he can perform stand-up as a cartoon character, live. Animated characters on stage, telling jokes, improvising, answering questions and…


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