Phil Ellis Has Been on Ice
- Henry Northmore
- 6 August 2017
Chaos reigns in this comedic sci-fi farce
The premise behind Phil Ellis Has Been on Ice is that the Funz and Gamez guy been cryogenically frozen since 2014. What sounds like a set-up for a quick run through the state of the world over the last three years heads in a completely unexpected and unconventional direction. The 2017 Ellis wakes up and has more in common with Space 1999 than our current reality. In this endearingly lo-fi sci-fi comedy, Ellis attempts to pass a series of tests set by his perpetually smiley, vaguely psychotic robotic sidekick TK Maxx before he can be released into the world.
Emerging from his cryo-tube in tight cut-off denim shorts (and not much else), his chaotic hour lurches from physical comedy to self-deprecating angst and the nature of love. The banter between Ellis and Maxx is definitely the highlight, the ultimate mismatched odd couple, one desperate and needy, the other logical and deadpan.
The shambolic goings-on are part of its charm, but ultimately the show is too messy. Some sections drag and a couple completely fall apart (including a misfiring knob gag). It's great that Ellis is trying something completely different and when it works the effect is inventive, bizarrely brilliant and incredibly funny. There's so much potential but it's in need of a whole load of fine tuning.
Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 27 Aug (not 14), 7.40pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.