Edinburgh Festival review – Joey Page

Out-there surrealist Page has an impressive command of language but still wears his influences a little heavily

Joey_Page2“I’m the David Bowie of comedy,” says Joey Page, tongue-in-cheek, thank the lord. If he means wearing dandyish clothing, then correctomundo. If he means constantly threatening to be either utter brilliance or utter shite, then yes, spot on young fellamelad. If he means moving to Berlin, sharing a flat with Iggy Pop and losing 18 months of his life to a drugsathon, then not yet.

For the moment, he’s neither brilliant nor shite, and that’s not to damn with faint praise. Page shows real flair for elaborate, ever-evolving flights of fancy, that come slamming down to earth, bringing the room back into line again. He performs with the savvy of an MC and the style of a lead singer.

This will make absolutely zero sense but I particularly enjoyed his piece that began with the pig in the sports holdall and includes some quality banter with a cashier. Another I like is where he plays draughts with a guy he thinks is Dr Dre.

If it sounds a bit wilfully “kerazy”, there is an element of that. As we all know, anything that is at pains to point out how weird it is, usually isn’t that weird. That would be unfair on Page’s vivid imagination but he could do with doing more showing and less telling. His hour is also yet another to have an ironic ‘proper’ bit of stand-up, which are never as funny as the comic thinks it will be.

It’s been pointed out before how in thrall to the Mighty Boosh Page is, and I think that’s still a legitimate criticism, and hopefully he will be not just an intriguing prospect when he’s developed his own style. You can also hear strong echoes of Mike Skinner and those unsettling William Shatner monologues. The audience take a bit of time to take to Page’s style, but he’s friendly and self-deprecating, and his surrealist style has a warmth to it that makes it easier to tune in.

He crowbars in some stage time for Sam Ashurst, though the energy noticeably dips when this happens, and Page also has three ‘actual’ jokes peppered through the show that he makes a big play of. Though even then there’s a twist – the alternative punchlines he gives for a Janet Street-Porter gag show an impressive command of language.

3 stars

Joey Page: Sparklehorse Superbrain is on at 7.40pm at the Tron.

What the punters say

Nicki, Guildford: 3/5. “It’s hard to put that show into words. It was quite rambling, like a drugs trip, but I liked it.”
Abi, Guildford: 3/5. “He reminded me a lot of Russell Brand and Noel Fielding.”
Review written by Paul Fleckney

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