Josh Widdicombe: Incidentally … (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Josh Widdicombe

A skilful rant at trivial pursuits

Josh Widdicombe has come a long way fast since his first solo Fringe show in 2011. He's since tucked under his belt a plethora of TV appearances including Mock the Week, The Last Leg, and as a regular panellist on Stand up for the Week. Confidently playing to a sell-out crowd at one of the Fringe's larger venues, it's easy to forget just how fresh he is to comedy. He's certainly unperturbed on this night despite a drunken crowd's deliberate efforts to put him off his stride, and he demonstrates the diplomacy of a saint as he defuses a potentially fractious stand-off.

Sharing the stage with Widdicombe is a table with a seemingly random assortment of items. There's an old analogue phone, a packet of Love Hearts, a set of passport photos and other bric-a-brac. He explains that this collection of trinkets just happened to be sat on his coffee table when his father recently turned up at his flat, causing his old man to point at the items and profoundly exclaim, 'so, that's what your life's like?’

In a novel conceit, Widdicombe leaps from one item to the next, spinning off with various rants and observations. Most of the objects carry no personal significance, which is a shame as he's at his best when he has a proper story to tell. However, most of Widdicombe’s concerns are fleeting and trivial, and he sets out his stall at the top of the show by declaring he's 'not a big issues comedian’.

As Incidentally continues, he gets more and more irritated by problems which are strictly First World concerns, and his habit of raising his inflection over and over in exasperation is at odds with the stunningly inconsequential nature of his ire. Nevertheless, tonight's crowd lap it up and he holds the stage with the skill of a seasoned pro.

Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 15 Aug (not 9), 9pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).