Alfie Brown: Lunatic 4**** - One4Review
one4review | On 05, Aug 2018
I did spend the first seven-ish minutes of this show thinking it wasn’t for me. Alfie came across as a bit smug, and frankly, a bit of a twit, and if I wasn’t outright offended by a couple of his early comments, I was definitely ambivalent, wondering how exactly I felt about it.
But, further into the show, I worked out that this is what Mr Brown does; asks piercing questions and wonders and posits – not in order to be offensive, but because some things don’t seem to make sense. A particularly good example was his evisceration of the relationship between veganism and meat-substitutes, and how it might be analogous to pornography. The show could, perhaps, be described as performance philosophy.
As you’d expect from philosophy, it tangles with some fairly complex issues and is delivered using a large vocabulary and a variety of rhetorical devices. This means that you have to be switched on to follow – not easy in one of the many saunas-masquerading-as-venues. Parsing out what Alfie means, what his point is, might take some effort – but this also means that sometimes the funny takes a little longer to permeate as well.
It seems to me that this is the root of the issues Alfie was having with the ‘unresponsive’ audience – we were all just a little slower than perhaps we could have been, which prompted Mr Brown to briefly abandon his planned material on a couple of occasions to berate the audience for their quality. These moments showed him definitely more animated, but also more relaxed and warmer in a way which brought some of the reluctant audience around. Neither style was better, but the planned Alfie seemed to feel safer after we’d seen the relaxed Alfie.
The show wasn’t – won’t be – for everyone; but it is delivered with a confidence and poise which easily carries the show through some tense moments. If you’re willing to be open-minded, the thought-provoking honesty here might work for you.
Reviewed by Laura
Monkey Barrel 2, 21:30