Ari Eldjárn enters the small venue with a big grin on his face. After introducing himself, he informs the audience that he is Icelandic. Not long after, one begins to realise what this stand-up is about: an exploration of Scandinavia, and what it means to Eldjárn to have been raised in the smallest one.
Fun, witty and beautifully written, Eldjárn’s act is a pleasure to watch. With the exception of one or two swear words, Pardon My Icelandic is one of the cleanest and most innocent comedy shows at this year’s Fringe. But a lack of use of strong language does not make this piece any less incisive, and instead adds to the sophistication.
Eldjárn’s mastery of multiple languages, accents and voices offer his show a colourful variety of characters as he pits several aspects of Scandinavian culture against British ones. While analysing some of the stereotypes about his home country, the comedian’s keen observations are followed by truly enjoyable gags.
Towards the end of the show, Eldjárn admits that this is an exercise to see if his act could work in English, and confesses of being rather nervous of delivering to an English-speaking audience. This however, is never apparent through his act: Eldjárn is funny, quick-witted, incredibly expressive and true comedy gold. He is already a household name in Iceland, it won’t be long before he is one in the UK.
Pardon My Icelandic is a must see act this year. If you go, look for my favourite joke of the year while he talks about working as a flight attendant.
Words: Mariana Mercado
Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic, Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, Aug 22-27 (not 23), 1.40pm