The Edinburgh Fringe has its own “Just So Story”
Will Adamsdale may be the vaguest man in comedy. A self-confessed procrastinator of the highest order, Adamsdale has written a show about his attempts to write a show, one which effortlessly takes you through to the hour mark without ever giving the impression that it’s started.
It nominally begins with Adamsdale at home, about to begin writing his new Edinburgh hour. Both the real thing and the theoretical one are called Borders, and his procrastinatory tendencies soon become evident, as he gets sidetracked with abstract musings about the nature of borders, the different types there are and what effect they have on us.
Further scenic routes are taken along the way, including the recurring theme of his love for the cartoonish characters in the Lloyds TSB adverts, and his attempts to get them back on TV. He keeps one foot on the ground for most of the way – specifically the bit of ground that is a street corner on the border between Islington and Hackney, where he stands awaiting inspiration for the show.
Eventually, that foot leaves the ground, and he embraces the fantastical side of the show. If you stay with him up to this point, you can enjoy the rest of the ride – and I count myself as one of them, though I must report a number of bored faces.
But it’s that sort of show – it does require your attention and your close listening (not least because Adamsdale is sans mic in the Belly Button room). If you’re willing to lean towards him and let your mind go, this is a truly enchanting show, with plenty of laughs therein. It’s not really like any other show I have seen all Fringe; it’s absolutely feather-light – not because it’s insubstantial, but because it has its head in the clouds. You couldn’t get further from the faux-confidence of his 2006 Perrier-winning classic, Jackson’s Way.
Adamsdale, who has a “lost boy” naive charm to him, has described Borders as a “shaggy dog red herring”, I’d say it’s more like an Edinburgh Just So Story – How the Comic Got the Show, perhaps. It certainly got me.
Review by Paul Fleckney