Having created some of the finest characters in recent memory for Viz, Simon Donald’s debut Edinburgh show ‘Simon Donald is Completely Hatstand’ is a refreshing and well structured performance from the magazine’s creator, featuring five of Donald’s characters, punctuated by a brief history of the publication. Underpinning his set is a highly regional tone, with the comic using his Northern roots as a reference point for much of his material.
This is, however, Donald’s downfall. Unless you’re a Northerner, the irony and genius of most of his material is lost.
First up was Donald’s best stand-up character so far, Barry Twyford. Donning an unflattering florescent jacket, a cap and a carrying a clip-board, Donald’s character conducted market research in a calm and composed tone, but this is merely a comedic tool that serves to amplify and contradict a set of questions as gratuitous in language and subject matter as many of his sketches in the Viz.
Bingo from Benton was another successful character, with Donald satirising the Geordie stereotype to perfection with an unoriginal but entertaining thick football fan routine.
Donald’s other characters, however, weren’t nearly as effective. Jeremy Jitler was only mildly entertaining, and I’m still searching for the comedy in the Rick Kestrell character. Dominic Farquhar contained some humorous mannerisms, but not enough to hold the audience’s attention. And all in all, ‘Simon Donald Is Completely Hatstand’ is a bit of a mixed bag. Barry Twyford and Bingo are simply fantastic, but unfortunately, and understandably, Donald couldn’t maintain such a high quality for his hour-long set.
Date of review: Thursday 12th August.
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