Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable (2 stars)

A rapid-fire assault on the brain but too rambling to make it pay

Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable

The slightly hopeless, awkward dude looking for love bit has been done to death over the years, so it's a relief when Steve Bugeja proclaims: 'this is not a love story. This show is a logic story.' After meeting someone at last year's Fringe, Bugeja has to decide whether to leave it as a holiday romance or do the long-distance thing while she goes travelling. It's a good premise: heart vs head and reason vs intuition. Real dark night of the soul stuff. Bugeja explores three primal instincts (lust, tribalism and fight-or-flight) but after an initially sharp intro, Unpronounceable begins to feel like a lecture.

There are some strong moments here, odd asides and throwaway comments that are funnier than the main stories and a few near-the-knuckle jokes that others might shy from: he almost cajoles the audience into admitting inherent racism. Almost. Bugeja talks a mile a minute (whether through nerves or nature is unclear) but it's slightly disconcerting and means that some gags don't land as they should.

It's hard not to like Steve Bugeja, affected awkwardness aside, and the lines that are good are really good. A bit of whittling and streamlining of his rambles would make everything a little less brain-scrambling.

Just the Tonic at the Tron, until 28 Aug (not 15), 5pm, £5–£7 or Pay What You Want.

Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable

  • 2 stars

Steve Bugeja Steve has a bag for life, he remembers it every single time. That's not even his best chat up line and only the third coolest thing about him. BBC New Comedy Award winner, as heard on BBC Radio 4 and seen on BBC Three. ‘Truly hilarious’ (Fest). ‘A polished hour of plentiful jokes and compelling…


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