Edinburgh Festival `99: Comedy Review

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The Independent Culture
Sean Cullen

Pleasance, Venue 33, 8.30pm (0131-556 6550), to 30 Aug

SEAN CULLEN seems to have reached a crossroads in his career. Should he continue with stand-up or concentrate on singing? Should he go with the xenophobic farmer who drilled a hole in his head after watching a TV programme about whales, or the woebegone worm who has fallen in love with a supermodel? Cullen overflows with brilliant ideas and seems to have problems squeezing them all into an hour-long set. One minute he is mulling over the possibility that Jesus is a stalker, the next his eyes glaze over and - he sings, Sinatra style, about a duck-billed platypus. Even his backing musician-turned-sidekick struggles to keep up - halfway through the show he arrives on stage with a bleeding cut above his right eye, acquired as he struggled to get out of one costume and into another. There are moments of pure genius, yet the overall feeling is one of watching a comedy sketch show on fast-forward. As Rich Hall and Al Murray have demonstrated, sometimes one character is all you need.