Ally Houston: Shandy
A wrong turn or two undermines a decent debut where the young Scot clowns around
This article is from 2015.
It’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on with Ally Houston’s Fringe debut. The young Scottish comic gives us Shandy, the possibly semi-true tale of his obsession with an imaginary (maybe) pet clown (but is it?) who he desperately wants to shake off in order to live a happier life: but does he really want shot of his nemesis / alter ego?
It all kicks off well enough as Houston delivers some jokes which either hit the mark full-on or seem deliberately bad. Not for nothing has he been mentioned in passing as a younger, more alive Chic Murray. Houston has a tech sidekick who says nothing but pops on stage from time to time to tidy up or get everything in order for Houston’s next bit. Most memorably, he drags a massive refuse bin up on to the stage for the show’s finest segment of health and safety-worrying daftness, while vaguely disturbing clown-based video footage is beamed into our increasingly baffled eyeballs.
There’s a pleasant enough amateur sheen to all this, but most off-putting are the songs which Houston delivers, some of which are so gag-free that they seem to belong to an entirely parallel show. There’s a fine show buried here under a misguided turn or two.
Just the Tonic @ The Mash House, 226 0000, until 30 Aug (not 18), 9.20pm, £4 (£3).