Phil Ellis is Alone Together (But Mostly Alone)
A show about failure that is far more clever than it first appears
Phil Ellis is not an easy man to review. Is he setting up his act to deliberately fail or is it properly going down the pan? Can he justify having his audience giggling with embarrassment for the best part of an hour knowing that he may well turn it all on its head by the end? The bare bones to Phil Ellis is Alone Together (But Mostly Alone) is that he's still struggling after his divorce from Leanne some eight years prior. While he may insist that everything is rosy in his garden (one of the running gags in his spectacularly successful kids' show, Funz and Gamez), Ellis has a tendency to protest a bit too much.
In order to take his mind off this painful life-changing event, he's resurrecting his solo career but seems to have little idea how to go about it purposefully. Maybe an improv show is the way to succeed? But the footage he shows us of an LA group being spectacularly awful makes him think twice, though not before he's had a trio up from the audience to play out a similarly tedious scenario. If all else fails he can just play his favourite YouTube clip of pandas larking about on a slide.
Giving away the joys of this show amid the choreographed torture would be entirely inappropriate but suffice to say that despite the low numbers in attendance, Ellis ploughed on manfully until it all worked out for the best.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug, 5.40pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).