Review – James Veitch, The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection

Man takes revenge on email spammers and creates ace comedy show from it

James Veitch comedian
Geeky 20something men are 10-a-penny at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. With his oversize glasses, laptop presentation and earnest delivery, James Veitch is just one of many. His show is well worth taking in, however, because he combines a dry, knowing wit with an innovative routine that plays to the frustrations of anyone who owns a computer.
Veitch’s premise is simple – and not particularly new – in that he turns the tables on the online crook, or gang of crooks, who try to con him out of money with a deluge of spam.
“What if I replied to every spam email I received on your behalf?,” Veitch asks. Well, he spent two years doing just that, stringing along the fraudsters who tried to lure him into their must-have opportunities and million-dollar deals.
It works, however, because Veitch is not seeking to prove a point. Instead, he puts his own sense of absurdity at the centre of his first solo show.
He adopts various tactics to confuse, outfox, threaten and cajole the foreign spammers with whom he strikes up a relationship. From posing as a lovelorn ex-partner who demands to be sent a poem, to using his Blockbuster video membership card as a form of ID, Veitch plays cleverly on the sense of anticipation and desperation emanating from the online fraudsters.
He also draws on a sense of cultural nostalgia with a particular riff that goes down a treat with the Edinburgh audience. For reasons that are too complex to explain here, Veitch draws on the icons of the 1990s to illustrate his increasingly daft objectives. So he flashes up pictures of Tamagotchi digital pets – remember them? – as well as the Spice Girls, Walkmans and stills of the Clueless-era Alicia Silverstone.
It is clever, arch and well-structured stuff. The success of Veitch’s show is not, however, down to his geekiness. It is through his charm that he is able to stand out from the crowd of self-styled anoraks.
Review by Peter Edwards

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