Edinburgh Festival '98: Comedy - Magical realist delivers a sentimental education

IT'S NOT often that the words wistful, intelligent, fantastical (and especially not charming) could be applied to a comedian plying their trade on the Fringe. More often than not, your chosen comic will spin a whole hour out of a couple of stunts, shouting very LOUD and, the most reliable fall-back position, treating the audience to a few variations on a knob gag.

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)

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living