Edinburgh Festival '98: Comedy - Magical realist delivers a sentimental education
Wednesday 12 August 1998
Not Ben Moor. His new monologue, My Last Week With Modolia, is a gentle tale of boy meets girl. Admittedly, it's not every day that a cynical, twentysomething junior plastic surgeon falls in love with an 88-year-old woman his "anti-Lolita").
Or that both of them have the gift of being able to see imps, those connoisseurs of mischief, invisible to all but a handful of daydreamers ("It probably mad us equally mad. But it made us equally special"). But it's exactly that pleasure in the telling of fables, a magic realist's delight in the bizarre coupled with a host of garlicky puns, curlicues and tangents that entices and enthralls the audience.
It's refreshing that a comedian has the audacity to produce a show that is unashamedly sentimental, never resorts to shock tactics but instead relies on the craft of the writing and Moor's etiolated and expressive physique.
"Be a fly. Be very a fly," Modolia tells Moor's character. "I've never quite known what that meant," he replies. "She was very old, you see." That's the telling sentiment: we spend an hour in Moor's company with a mix of bemusement and awe, complicit in the tale, drawn in, without ever losing sight of its beautiful and strange otherworldliness.
It remains to be seen whether the Perrier judges will be as daring in their choice of best act, as Ben Moor has been in trading stand-up for something far more poetic and ungraspable. If their decision last year to pass over the comic genius of the Right Size's Come Here Often (because it didn't conform to their narrowly defined idea of comedy) is anything to go by, the chances are that they won't. But it would be their loss. Don't miss out on the chance to be with the fairies in this boundary-subverting performance from a truly gifted storyteller.
Continues until 31 August (0131 556 6550)
Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Costa Book Awards 2015: H is for Hawk named book of the year
New Ghostbusters movie lands all-female cast with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones
Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures