Howard Read: Man (Work in Progress)
An unfinished guy takes on role models and a rollicking front row
This article is from 2015.
‘Is it possible to be a man without being a dick?’ ponders Howard Read. He’s a self-described ‘work in progress’, navigating his way through fatherhood, marriage, monogamy and – in the case of this particular performance – a front row of boozy Scottish grannies. Keen to chip in with several quidsworth of their own tuppenceworths, the sozzled interrupters unintentionally act as a good foil, providing plenty chances to show how adept he is at going off script, and stumbling into some of the show’s best laughs.
Read is perhaps best known as a kids entertainer, which may explain the patience, not to mention his horror at kids entertainers recently outed as paedophiles: Jimmy Savile being ‘Dracula’ in his imaginary Top Trumps game of them.
Back on script, he explores role models, the ones he had growing up and the one he is now to his two children. To that end, he performs a sweetly sinister bedtime lullaby, terrorising his children with Roald Dahl-esque lyrics about mutant bed bugs and zombies who prey on insomniacs. His observations about the differences between men and women won’t be anything the Fringe hasn’t heard before, but his ever-warm, dark yet at-ease manner helps him carry it off.
Banshee Labyrinth, 226 0000, until 22 Aug, 4.20pm, free.