Simon Munnery: Standing Still at The StandCultureTheatreEd Fringe
As the neat title of his 2016 show suggests, Simon Munnery has been presenting his stand-up to festival audiences for some considerable time now. Though there have been flirtations with break-out mainstream success, much of the comic’s 30-year career has been plotted with exactly this setting in mind.
This summer’s offering opens with our hero cast as a vagrant overlord (resplendent in robes fashioned from empty cider cans and tobacco pouches) and incanting the sort of gothic prophecy that was a hallmark of Munnery’s cult TV series Attention Scum!. This turns out to be something of an avant-garde curveball, as the mantle is soon removed to facilitate a traditionally formatted set drawing both from his vast back catalogue and from observations on modern life, all cast through the lens of a uniquely bookish and imaginative comic mind.
Post-Brexit political disillusionment is a clear theme, and the catalyst for a brief but welcome reappearance of the character of Alan Parker: Urban Warrior – the prototypical “Social Justice Warrior” and purveyor of a hilarious line in punk poetry. Such material flows smoothly alongside ruminations on the England football team and “the selfie generation”, as well as whimsically theatrical asides featuring anthropomorphised clothes pegs and a dialogue testing the theory (espoused by a couple heard interviewed on Radio 4) that it’s possible to talk about skiing “literally all night”.
While there’s no suggestion that he’ll be packing it in any time soon, for true comedy aficionados, the chance to delight in the comedic wonder of Simon Munnery in his native environment on a festival stage is one to be taken at any and all available opportunities.
Simon Munnery: Still Standing is on at The Stand from 11th until 28th August 2016, for further information or to book visit here.