Chris Addison, Assembly @ George Street

Ire meets vulnerability with comic effect

Julian Hall
Wednesday 18 August 2010 00:00
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Chris Addison's first Edinburgh show for five years is a potted version of his recently toured show and thus a safe bet for a pleasing Fringe night out. There have inevitably been changes as the show has evolved and tonight more new material comes courtesy of a foot injury Addison sustained earlier in the day. It happened because the comedian rushed down the stairs from his Fringe flat to make sure he didn't miss a supermarket delivery man. As he says himself, it's "about as middle class an injury as you can get".

Though he quickly casts aside the crutches he has been given at A&E, the rake-thin Thick of It star is clearly not bluffing as he limps his way through his set. "It's lucky I am not a physical comedian" he says, but in fact Addison's shtick of ire at middle class ire (and then more general ire) involves quite a bit of getting physically motivated, including some Magnus Pyke-style windmill arms (it must be a boffin thing) and some exasperation of Robin Williamsesque proportions.

Though on the one hand he acknowledges that we shouldn't be getting upset about, for example, whether our wi-fi works or not ("in half an hour technology goes from a miracle to a basic human right"), he recognises that there is a lot in this world to get huffy about, from Ugg boots to the Pope.

Common to many quality comedians (Louis C K springs to mind as another example) Addison balances on the line between human frailties at large and his own personal ones, hoping for behavioural change on the one hand but also saying "Look at me, I am useless too". Addison does this in a unique way. Asserting that his body looks like someone has done a "collage with some Twiglets", the baby-faced 38-year-old goes much further than the usual boundaries of self-deprecation and notes: "I like sex, I do, but it's just not for me."

However unlikely this may sound, Addison passes it off. He acknowledges how uncomfortable it makes audiences when they hear it and this makes it seem more real even if it is just part of the illusion. Either way, Addison has achieved a vulnerability that goes hand-in-hand with his strident umbrage.

While his trademark corpsing seems to have come back with a vengeance since I last saw him, Addison would have to do more than that to sabotage his work. Giggling fits notwithstanding, it's good to see that one of the latest stars of comedy can still spare the Fringe more than just a few nights of his time and that his television fame is used to pay back the live scene from whence it came.

To 30 August (0131 623 3030)

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