Alfie Brown: –ism (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Alfie Brown: –ism

credit: Mark Dawson

An eventfully disruptive backdrop to politics, pro-life and Thomas the Tank Engine

Alfie Brown really needs to focus. From the moment he takes the stage, he seems uncertain and on edge, gradually loosening up before delivering a delightful early gag about being pro-life. But as latecomers arrive he's visibly irritated and it can be jarring to watch.

When he's on a roll, Brown has some cracking material drawn from recent life experiences. He's very candid about his sex life, sometimes eliciting groans when he pushes his audience a little too far; but it's politics that really brings out the passion, even if some of his musings are rather nebulous. May's general election seems to be the cause célèbre at this year's Fringe, and Brown delivers a wonderful diatribe against the far-right tyranny he believes is espoused by Thomas the Tank Engine.

Towards the end of the show an audience member has to leave as she's feeling unwell. Unwisely, Brown delays her escape to check that she's not having him on (she's clearly not), and his rhythm's shot yet again. The worst is yet to come: as he builds to a vehement crescendo, the door opens just at the point of him delivering his final line. It looks like he's about to storm off. But to his credit, a sympathetic audience rallies to the cause and Brown just about turns it around.

Assembly George Square Theatre, 623 3030, until 31 Aug, 7.20pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

Alfie Brown: -ism

  • 3 stars

The London stand-up ponders the tribalism of -ism.