Julian Clary: Lord of the Mince, Udderbelly Pasture
Tuesday 25 August 2009
Now in his fiftieth year, Julian Clary is one of the few big beasts of Fringes past roaming through Edinburgh this August. He brings with him a ragbag of the good, the bad and the ugly of innuendo, a collection that guarantees that, while he's playing to full houses, his entrance and exit will quickly be forgotten.
Dressed in the regalia of a circus ringmaster, Clary is quick to present his first anal sex joke. Using his trademark smut to house a sense of his advancing years he tells us: "Fifty crept up on me like a Catholic priest in a lavatory."
The fantasy world that is subsequently conjured up by Clary's lusty ego envelops a number of recent markers, including his stint on Strictly Come Dancing, where fellow contestant Kenny Logan was "like all Scottish rugby players – completely obsessed with me."
For 20 minutes or so Clary is on his game, but things start to unravel when he talks about his new home in the country. The routine ends with a weak story about keeping chickens and proves that cock jokes can't always raise a smile. An equally poor tale about psychic powers follows, after which Clary flounders with some haphazard improvisation.
These are sticky moments indeed and with a game show climax that would make his TV series of the same name look like Mastermind, he reaches out to two contestants from the audience to save the day. One of his stooges has an amusing back story about how he met his partner and this lifts the mood, but it's still too late to lift this show from the depths it has sunk to. When your sign off is "Oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper!" you might as well wave a white flag.
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