Rhod Gilbert and the Cat that looked like Nicholas Lyndhurst, Pleasance Courtyard
Monday 24 August 2009
Not only is Rhod Gilbert a fantastic comedian, he's a fantastical one. He lives and dies by weaving a fictional tapestry, the weight of which could drag him under at any moment. Once, his intricate illusion went by the name of the made-up town of Llanbobl, but for the last two years he has asked us to inhabit a new world, one of pain in the face of the trials of everyday existence, the comedy equivalent of Portmeirion in The Prisoner.
As ever he links back to previous shows; this year, he tells us that last year's breakdown he had over a mince pie in a service station has ultimately led to anger management. Little wonder he was a candidate for this when he can get hyper-incredulous and upset at the functions of a washing-machine.
You duly suspend your disbelief when Gilbert tells you that he was thrown out of his flat for buying multiple vacuum cleaners and brace yourself for the preposterous explanation. Yet the overblown nature of routines such as this can have diminishing returns, the huffing and puffing amounting to less than it might. For example, you might expect a farcical episode to unravel when he takes up the offer of visiting the "Fruit Towers" HQ of Innocent Smoothies. Instead, you get a short refrain you could blow a raspberry at.
Even if not playing at the full five-a-day, Gilbert will reward you for your patience at times and please you with notable quotables like Pontypridd's supposed welcome sign: "Kill our children, not your speed."
Last year, Gilbert's show was a tour de force with a real sense of narrative and of adventure; this year is more of a slide show, where some images stick and others don't.
Until 31 August (0131 556 6550)
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