Graham Clark – Edinburgh Fringe review

An hour is a stretch too far for Canadian comic Graham Clark, says Peter Edwards

Graham ClarkGraham Clark is an amiable Canadian vegetarian who plays on his slacker’s image. With long hair, long beard and a large belly, he has a big friendly bear look to match his genial, bumbling act, but lacks the killer instinct.

“I am Graham Clark and this is the beard I grew. Because I was done with employment. And intercourse,” he begins. Turning profile, he rubs his immense belly as a woman would when heavily pregnant, before wandering off into how he developed such a look, and how other people react to it.

Being locked out of his house and forced to wander the streets prompts comparisons with a homeless man, but he is on uncertain ground here. But hey-I-look-like-a-tramp-style-humour has already been overdone, and Britain’s attitude towards the homeless has also become more enlightened, and Clark fares better when dealing with the subject matter – admittedly hackneyed – of shared living and stag nights.

The images he produces of bridegrooms on their last night of freedom – men dressed as Ghostbusters and smurfs “puking on the streets of Blackpool” – shows the foreigner’s eye for British tradition without ever seeming to be superior or judgmental.

It is fun stuff but he seems short of energy, and repeatedly turns to audience members for inspiration, before riffing on the subjects of our favourite films or tastes in pizzas.

It is the Vancouver-based Clark’s first appearance in Edinburgh and he does not yet have the material that would mark him out from the crowd. The way he flits across different topics does suggest he is stretching his act to fill the hour.

The title, Afraid of the Clark, is a nice pun but it hints at darker, more incisive material than this lumberjack-lookalike is able to offer. Clark will no doubt be back to Edinburgh but, unlike his impressively large physical frame, his show is not yet a complete work.

2 stars
Review written by Peter Edwards
• Graham Clark – Afraid of the Clark is at 7pm at the Assembly Roxy

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