Phil Dunning: The People's Prince
Unique and eccentric affair that will leave many viewers utterly bamboozled
This article is from 2016.
Sitting on stage drinking a glass of white wine and wearing a kimono, Phil Dunning welcomes each audience member individually, singing 'hello what is your name, my name's Phil.' Audience interaction from the word go is one way to suss out a crowd, and in this case, Dunning gets a clear split: his debut, The People's Prince, will largely be a love / hate relationship for crowds.
As he takes to the stage playing a series of complex characters, there's a collection of wigs sitting poised on mannequin heads at the back of the room, ready for him to work his way through, revealing a different act each time. There are some genuinely hilarious laughs to be had, including a striptease to Les Miserables' 'Do You Hear the People Sing? (remember that audience participation we talked about?), and some bizarre slapstick material that nobody seems quite sure what to make of.
Dunning's unique delivery and eccentric manner hasn't yet found comfort in an entire room full of people, but his ability to switch between acts is undeniably flawless. Getting involved in an airport conga might not be what the audience had anticipated, but ultimately it's an hour of fun character comedy for the Fringe's more open-minded viewers.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug, 11pm, £7–£9 (£6.50–£8.50).