Mat Ewins: Once Upon a Time in the Jest
Comic's routine finds itself wandering aimlessly into mediocrity
This article is from 2013.
He wants to be different and to do the best he can – warm sentiments that occupy the core of Mat Ewins’ time-lapse history lesson. But this routine, delivered with the best intentions in the world, finds itself wandering aimlessly into mediocrity.
Trawling through probable Wikipedia articles and history summaries, Ewins journeys from Cleopatra through Henry VIII to Da Vinci, hopping off stage to change clothes while mini-documentaries on his time spent in costume are screened. He re-enters in various outfits, Frankensteinian creations consisting of curtains and bath mats; most industriously his Da Vinci comes fully equipped with kitchen mop Vitruvian Man. The shabbiness is what Ewins relies on, drawing laughs out of sheer surprise. The bitesize bits are full of pretty weak and predictable jokes that are intentionally crude, but after a while become wearisome.
The final wedge of Ewins’s show threatens to lift the fun levels, however, and turns it into a far more engaging and relaxed gig. He’s able to work the crowd with a very familiar Stephen Merchant-style brand of quick wit, and this is when he seems at his most comfortable.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 10.45pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8).