Review: Adam Hess - My Grandad Has a Fringe at Pleasance Courtyard

If this show’s value were calculated in laughs per minute, it would score very well. It is a high-energy, fast-paced romp of quirky observations and anecdotes, most of which focus intensely on the mundane minutia of everyday life. If Adam Hess has an area of speciality, it is surely this. It’s a fun ride, if a somewhat unrefined one at points. At one point, he realises he’s forgotten an ‘integral part of the show’, while the game at the end doesn’t add much, and definitely isn’t a strong enough finisher.

Adam’s bouncing around the stage is merely a physical expression of his racing thoughts. He displays a sense of overwhelming urgency to share with us as many of those thoughts as he can squeeze into his show. On many occasions, he obviously has one thought, is about to delve into it, then decides not to, before moving onto the more important thought. And yes, without fail he shares that whole three-second process with us, out loud.

The show’s structure, as a whole, is also a clear manifestation of this whirling mind, from a passionate segment where Hess laments how disgustingly brown the hair is around the lips of white-haired dogs – with pictures – to a hilarious montage of all the phallic imagery on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Variation is a constant.

At one point, he launches into a defence of observational comedy. Whatever its overall artistic value, he does do it better than most – his extrapolations are often outside the box, in a satisfying way. His fantastic mermaid-comedian analogy is a good example of how his creativity can bear real fruits. Overall, this latest offering from Adam Hess is strong, but would benefit from a little more finesse.

My Grandad Has a Fringe is on at Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs, 7:15 pm, Aug 10-13, 15-25

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