Not quite the laughs to match the creativity
Where next for Alex Horne? With is beard a bit looking a bit shaggier, this inventive Edinburgh stalwart is looking ever more the grizzled veteran.
But he could never be accused of lacking in ideas as he grows older. In fact, he has taken his own brand of eccentric comedy up a notch further with this year’s show, Monsieur Butterfly, in which he builds an elaborate machine comprised of a blow-up mattress, bowling balls, ladders traffic cones and an FC Barcelona scarf.
It is all a homage to Rube Goldberg, a madcap American engineer who designed the most complex of machines to perform the simplest of tasks (think of the crazy machines in the Wallace and Gromit animations), often using a chain reaction.
Horne threw himself into the challenge – and draws on several audience members – with vigour. What his show boasts in creativity, however, he cannot always match in laughs.
There are several good lines – like the opening “My name is Alex and I am a former child” – but there are also times when it feels like Horne is treading water as he added more to the sprawling contraption which is the centrepiece of his show.
The section in which he tried to shoot a plastic arrow through a toilet seat suspended from the ceiling seemed to drag on, to no particular purpose, and there were times when the audience looked baffled by his antics.
Horne survived because of his warmth and immense creativity. This year’s show may not match last year’s Lies – in which he brilliantly tore apart the genre of celebrity memoirs – but it is stands apart in its homage to the world of Goldberg and in its testament to Horne’s ever-engrossing personality.
Review by Peter Edwards