Edinburgh Review: Tim Key

Richard Herring’s already infamous Hitler Moustache show is intended to rally as much as entertain, and he admirably achieves both, writes Paul Fleckney.

Tim Key has funny bones, writes Ben Clover, as his oddball show Slutcracker shows in abundance.

tim_key1All I knew about Tim Key before going to the Pleasance was that he did short, non-sequiter poems shyly on Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe. So, expecting little, I was pleasantly blown away by a brilliant hour in the great man’s company.

It isn’t just verse but those poems he did live were obviously far too good for TV. Taking to the stage like a sad wizard he mournfully worked through his notebooks with effortlessly hilarious asides.

From the publicity pictures you’d think Key’d have the presence of a frightened supply teacher. But he’s actually a big figure managing to project sobriety and surrealism combined.

I realise this doesn’t sound very funny, but trust me, there’s nothing I’ve seen quite like it. In between the poems and digressions are perfect-judged short films that are strange and occasionally sweet, while avoiding the mimsiness of most shows where there is a projector involved.

And it’s not just the cross-dressing in some of these that make me believe Key is the Aphex Twin of avant-garde performance poetry comedy. The films had the same tone as the animations David Firth puts on Fat Pie – some of which are soundtracked by the West Country electronicist himself.

Lots of it s the kind of thing that would make an aged relative cross themselves without being able to explain exactly why. But it works because Key has funny bones, there was even some physical comedy out of the blue.

The show is called Slutcracker but is no more about sluts than the Nutcracker is about nuts. Give it up for Tim Key, he’s very, very good.
Five stars
The Slutcracker is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 31. For tickets click here

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