Edinburgh 2013: Al Lubel is Mentally Al - His performance is like an elongated beat poem


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The Independent Culture

If you see Al Lubel you'll never forget his name. That's because the middle-aged New Yorker spends much of his mostly captivating hour playing with the sound of it - though not quite as much time as he spends describing how his over-protective Jewish mother smothered him.

Listening to Lubel could be likened to listening to an elongated beat poem, the cadences only punctuated by a rasping impression of his fretful parent.  "You're my entire reason for living, Alan", she says to him in later life, using the same menacing tone she henpecked him with in her earlier years.

Unsurprisingly, Lubel's interactions with the opposite sex have, he says, suffered as a result of this mollycoddling, and his place at the centre of his mother's universe has given him an inconvenient sense of self. "It's not so much that I'm entering the woman, it's that I'm leaving Al Lubel", is how he spins his awkwardness with sex.

With such a defining force in his life dealt with, it would be surprising to see this former lawyer, now long-in-the-tooth comic, follow up this Fringe debut with a completely new show next year. Nonetheless this one-off guilty pleasure, nostalgic for a bygone era of US comedy, leaves an impression.  "This is Fringey right?" he asks. You bet your mum's life it is.

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