Daniel Nils Roberts: Honey
Messy and flat hour which may or may not be a satire on something or other
A running gag about bears' perspectives seems to be Daniel Nils Roberts' only thematic link between his title and the show, which is otherwise a blend of character comedy and self-reflexive commentary. The characters are lightly sketched to deliver, for example, a lonely romantic novelist's strained similes, some of which are brilliantly tortured. His gags are often very clever, especially the puns from a Hotpoint-sponsored Christian dietician, but they seldom seem to land properly, thanks to messy timing.
There are nods towards the limitations of character comedy, some of which work well – such as the Salamancan who builds his part into a minor tragedy – but sometimes fall horribly flat, including the 'audience reaction' film. Roberts doesn't seem to have confidence in the quality of his better material, and the delivery feels rushed.
The character 'changes' are irritating and pointless, and there's a vague suggestion that Honey is intended as a satire on Fringe shows. There's certainly plenty of meta-commentary and the 'boring bit' works particularly well. Overall, though, it misses the mark. With some tweaking and a lot of technical polish, this could be a fine show. Whether that happens during August is highly debatable.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug, 4.45pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8).