Nnnnngh ~shaky hand thing~
No one could accuse bizarro Geordie comic Seymour Mace of false advertising. For starters, the show is called “Niche as Fuck”, and there’s an amnesty after the first routine where Mace encourages any waverers to leave. “It’s not gonna change,” he says defiantly. Plus anyone who’s seen him before will know that he doesn’t really do conventional shows.
And true to form, there is nothing here that could be mistaken for stand-up comedy. What you do get is an hour of loose, madcap japery – a series of games and stunts such as Blankety Twat (a cunning twist on the 70s/80s game show where every answer is a twat: Luis Suarez/Duncan Bannatyne etc), EastEnders reimagined with animal puppets, and a quiz to find him a girlfriend after years of singledom.
It was fun and I certainly laughed, but the quality control was a bit iffy. And then there’s that looseness, which started off as charming, but ended up being a bit of deadweight on the show. For me the whole thing was too stop-start and had too many in-built interruptions to get any momentum. Had it all been stitched together and slick as fuck, I might have been swept away by Mace’s unapologetic weirdness. As it was, the only slick thing about it was his hairdo.
Still, the show is a good combination of silly and cheerful and dark, and he does push it through with enough force of will to make it work. Mace comes across as a man if not on the edge, then certainly someone who’s peeped over, and he makes references to his past depression – something he’s talked openly about in previous shows. Refreshingly, he genuinely doesn’t seem to care whether people like him or not. He performs as if he’s compelled to do what he does; he doesn’t question it or explain it or pretend that any of it means anything. In that sense, Mace is a convincing surrealist comic.
Niche as Fuck has been something of a breakthrough for Mace, it being nominated for the Fosters Comedy Award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival. The idea that this was one of the seven best shows of the 2015 Fringe to me is astonishing, I must have seen at least 20 funnier ones myself. Perhaps the show will settle down after a few more nights in this room, that can be a thing with Edinburgh shows on the move. Certainly, if you like your comedy daft and a bit DIY, it’s worth a look.
Review by Paul Fleckney