Alex Horne, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

'Gizmo gags' and body language put the science into stand-up
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The Independent Culture

Lasy year's Perrier best newcomer award nominee returns with another show built around a slender scientific premise, diagrams and whimsy.

Once again Alex Horne is assisted by geeky straight man Tim Key as the duo discover the peculiarities of body language with the help of the audience and a powerpoint computer package. Horne's delivery style is very deadpan and it wouldn't be hard to imagine him as a young hotshot leading a sales seminar either in real life or in a sitcom that has been written with him in mind. Not that he is boring, more understated.

Horne is an engaging host and this makes for an enjoyable hour, which is not so much Vic Reeves' Big Night Out as Alex Horne's Gentle Hour Before Midnight, although predictably there are comedians leading a backlash against "gizmo gags" - the technologically assisted laughter of the Dave Gorman school. Nevertheless, the cute graphics and deft touches certainly have charm, such as the morphing of a repetition of body language rules into a Kraftwerk-style pop tune.

It is true that the choreography between comic and machine means that the old-fashioned punchline takes a back seat, but what fills the space provided by that here is highly entertaining.