Robert Newman's New Theory of Evolution
Comedy veteran puts on engaging show but lacks spark at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Richard Dawkins comes in for a kicking in this show by veteran comedian Robert Newman – and it's a pretty funny one too. In 1993, alongside his erstwhile comedy partner David Baddiel, Newman was once the first comedian to sell out Wembley Stadium. This month, he's ensconced in a deceptively spacious yurt in St Andrew Square, and its lo-fi atmosphere suits him.
Since the early 1990s and his days as part of the Mary Whitehouse Experience, Newman has become known for his political activism and has just published a new novel, The Trade Secret, an Elizabethan adventure about searching for secret oil wells. But for now, this show is about a new theory of evolution. It's rare to see a comedian segue from neuro-biological and paleontological theories to everyday slapstick humour as flawlessly as Newman does here, and it's a joy to watch.
His comic takedown of Dawkins' selfish gene theory is particularly engaging, and he posits his critique in a way that's ticklingly accessible. But tonight's performance is lacking a little spark, his connection with the audience amiable but not energising. It's a superbly-written show though, performed by a comedian who's not afraid to credit his audience with some intelligence.
Stand in the Square, 558 7272, until 25 Aug (not 18), 8.30pm, £12 (£10).