Edinburgh Festival review – Dan Antopolski

Dan Antopolski’s follow-up to the sublime Silent But Deadly doesn’t quite hit the same heights, but that’s not necessarily the bad thing.

Dan_Antopolski2When Catch 22 author Joseph Heller was asked by a nasty journalist if it bothered him that he hadn’t written anything as good since he replied: “That’s ok, neither has anyone else.”

At the risk of sounding very pretentious indeed, Dan Antopolski is in a similar position this year. How to follow Silent but Deadly? Last year the Brixton comedy demi-god had a solid-gold, five-star show in the same Pleasance venue that was justifiably raved about. Turn of the Century, his 2010, offering is good, it just suffers by comparison.

There’s the same formula that made Silent such a winning hour; brilliant one-liners, longer observational sections and silly musicality, it just doesn’t yield quite as rich a crop this year.

This all sounds very negative and it’s only because Antopolski’s Edinburgh shows were on the verge of being reliably genius, however oxymoronic that sounds. His latest sees him assisted by a Bill Bailey lookalike butler who is the foil for some gags and a capable dancer at the finale.

A piano ballad is substituted for one of the raps which were becoming a trademark. Although inspired by soppiness, the new Elton John-esque number quickly gets onto how he would soothe a fat, panicked goldfish in his bath. Sweet as this is, and however surprising Antopolski’s keyboard skills, it doesn’t bear comparison with either of his raps on vases or sandwiches (I urge you to look at them on YouTube).

Since I first saw him in 1999 he has waxed and waned between the poles of surreal genius and average observational. Last year’s was pretty much the perfect combination in my humble opinion, Turn of the Century can’t help but pale slightly in comparison. But only slightly.

Four stars
Dan Antopolski – Turn of the Century is on at 8pm at the Pleasance Dome, click here for booking.

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