Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (And My Wife) (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (And My Wife)

Comedian is back on top form with intoxicating, meaningful comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It would be rude to say that Alfie Brown had a gap year last Fringe, but after a blinding 2012 hour, something didn’t quite seem right about his follow-up. For those of us who trumpeted him loudly as one of the natural torch-bearers for stand-up’s future, it comes as a blessed relief that he is resolutely back on form with Divorced from Reality (And My Wife).

As the title suggests, this is partly about his short marriage which has broken down over the past year. But even if he had wanted to, Brown had no chance to wallow in self-pity, not with his life having taken a rather intriguing and major twist in the past six months. There are no such things as small stuff in a Brown show: the age of consent, offensive language and mental illness all make it onto his agenda this time around. Even when he’s discussing seemingly hack topics (air travel, one-night stands), there’s nothing throwaway about any of it; the material is all laid out before us with passion, power and a searing originality.

Of course, his brand of heavily opinionated stand-up is not for everyone (some people clearly just don’t like opinions) and although there were no walk-outs during the show, his summing-up is interrupted by a member of the front row who gets up, waves in his face and exits sharply, Brown chasing her out the door with a choice word or two.

Those who remain are solidly by the comic’s side. His honest approach and conviction towards his art are wholly admirable, but it’s all backed up by a pin-sharp wit and fiery intelligence. In an age when conformity appears to be a prime commodity, Alfie Brown creates work that is truly intoxicating and a boon to those who want their stand-up to actually mean something.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, 11pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).

Alfie Brown: Divorced From Reality (And My Wife)

  • 4 stars

Incisive and intelligent wit from the acclaimed stand-up.