Monday, 11 August 2008

Fringe Review - Liam Mullone: In a Dead Man's Hat, Billiard Room at the Gilded Balloon, 09/08/2008

Towards the beginning of this show Liam Mullone informs his audience that this is going to be more of a storytelling experience than straight stand-up. What follows is essentially a series of reminiscences, framed by the tale of a potentially life-altering experience during a trip to the United States.

For various complicated reasons, Mullone found himself, some while ago, having to survive for six weeks in a dilapidated van in a dry ravine in the Nevada Desert with only a big bag of pork chops and the world's worst paperback for company. Like a cut-price Jesus Christ, he endured forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, and came away from it wiser, but probably not ready to form his own religion just yet.

Despite his Irish sounding name, Mullone is a big shambling Englishman, the product of an upper-middle class family from Leicestershire who spent some of his childhood in Hong Kong. Tales from that childhood, and of family life in general, are intersperced into the main narrative giving a sense of a man re-evaluating his life during the long hours of loneliness.

It's an entertaining and engaging tale, and if not often laugh-out-loud funny, it contains enough humour along the way to hold the attention. Mullone holds his audience with an easy charm, and makes good use of lighting and the various areas of the stage to suggest different modes of rememberance. As an early evening show, it works very well, and for anyone planning a full evening on the Fringe, it will serve as a very nice appetiser.

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