Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly
Intriguing, poignant and funny comedy at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Ten or so minutes into Monsieur Butterfly, those of a similar age to Alex Horne will probably be sitting wondering: ‘is that what I think it is? No surely not: it bloody well is!’ Yes, Horne is building a massive contraption that is eerily similar to the one in classic board game Mouse Trap. You can see why the Edinburgh Comedy Award judges liked this one so much as it's a madly ambitious project, absurd and with a high risk of failure. So much can go wrong (and does) with balls rolling before they're meant to and balloons bursting.
There is one slight flaw, though: as much as he involves the audience with this madness, regaling us with tales while he works, we are often a bit busy watching a man place a plank across two a-frame ladders or blowing up an air bed. That said, there is simple humour to be found in the nerdiness of it all. There are also some incredibly beautiful moments, such as Horne's five-year-old self showing wonder as his dad tells him that he 'has trapped wind'; there’s the comic’s friendship with his equally nerdy friend Ben, and a pesky squirrel that once eluded him on one of the most important days of his life. It would be great to hear more of this.
It's such a magical concept and in the grand scheme of the show, and certainly with hindsight, any faults feel truly minor. Monsieur Butterfly is intriguing, poignant and funny and the final pay-off is edge-of-the-seat stuff.
Pleasance Courtyard, run ended.