Brighton Fringe Review: Phil Kay

25 May

Quadrant:  Saturday, May 19 2012

There’s no middle ground with the whirlwind Scottish comedian Phil Kay.  His shows are either manic, ridiculously absurd and hilarious, or so shambolic and rambling that it’s nigh on impossible to follow his train of though, let alone pick out a joke.

Thankfully, in his second of three Fringe shows, we got the former. His set featured some delightfully obscure and improvised ramblings, including a fast-paced rant about the 24-hour chemist opposite the venue (“You can have whatever you like, as long as they can fit it through the little hatch,” he said. “There are trained chemists from Cambridge University over there slicing sandwiches into bite-size bits so they’ll fit through”).

The cash loan premises over the road got the same treatment (“They are the kind of loans I like best,” he said. “Give me cash over grapefruit every day”).

His bohemian and anarchic mindset means that audiences have to go with him and be prepared to stumble down some dead ends to be fully rewarded when he hits comedy gold.

At times this can be awkward to watch as he seemingly racks his brain for some vague semblance of a punchline. If he can’t find one, he just stops and careers off in another direction.

Although at times it can be frustrating, it’s genuinely refreshing to see a comedian who hasn’t polished a routine with the aim of getting (back) on TV, but one who likes the thrill of winging it and living on the edge of his wits. Just keep your fingers crossed you catch him on a good day


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