Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall: Success Arms
Endearingly awkward geek chic shows promise
This article is from 2014.
Like an Australian-Canadian extra from Superbad, all awkward and (almost) geek chic, Tremblay-Birchall’s nervous delivery is just about endearing enough to avoid cringiness.
Ostensibly about inspiration and motivation, hence the titular power stance, Success Arms runs out of steam fairly early on and Birchall is reduced to making easy jokes about turning 30 and giving up pot, all punctuated with Sloth-from-The Goonies-esque ‘Hey you guys’, as he starts each new section.
While these well-worn topics are disappointing, they are peppered with the occasional flight of fancy that threaten to take a turn for the macabre, but never quite make it. It is these brief moments that make the show interesting, as well as snatches of pure geekery – comparing the ability to give a lady an orgasm to learning video game cheat codes shows his true, very likeable colours. However, his tendency to berate himself on the audience’s behalf means that these segments are cut short before they can really blow the mind, despite being the most promising jokes in his repertoire.
Forays into the audience and off-the-cuff ‘banter’ do not come easy – whether this is part of his schtick or not is hard to tell – but Birchall is amicable enough that he’s easily, though perhaps too leniently, forgiven when gags fall flat. The maladroit turn is all very fair and well, but he would be on the road to his professed success if he embraced his dark side and steered clear of cliches.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug (not 11), 8pm, £9.50--£10.50 (£8.50--£9.50)