Joel Soetendorp

Edinburgh Fringe review: Jim Davidson, No Further Action

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Jim Davidson is not like other festival acts and his audience certainly isn’t.

A little less Guardianista rather more Sun shine boys and girls. Sitting in the audience, there were at least two fans with six packs of lager. This for an hour-long show.

The show is hard to rate. Jim, even at a top price ticket venue with a big full audience, gives the impression of slumming it. He drops names carelessly and is quite clear about just how much a year of lost earnings cost him.

He is a consummate pleaser of his audience, which he holds in the palm of his hand. They are apparently long term fans. The laughter feels genuine. Much of the show is very, very funny.

From a wonderful scatological Freddie Starr story to some material that, though racist, is so well done and with such a desire to be inclusive that it is not ironic. It’s actually postmodern. Postmodern Jim Davidson, eh?

For most of his show his accents, timing and performance are sublime. The jokes may not be box fresh, but his performance carries them through. Jim spends a substantial part of the show talking about his experiences being investigated by Operation Yewtree officers. This is serious, from the heart and is engaging whatever your opinion on the subject. Indeed a particularly imaginative director could well produce a South London version of the Prisoner, with Jim in the lead role.

The problem is that the more up to date material doesn’t work. Jokes about disabilities are just not funny nor in good taste. Nor are the ones about benefit claimants. Funny is funny and these sections definitely seem to lose part of the audience.

The final section on Jim’s appearance in Big Brother feels like an afterthought and a poor place to end. The audience is as uninterested about jokes about Dappy from NDubz’s penis as Jim himself – though it’s easy to imagine some people would come to the show just for that.

A good show, but maybe more kindness and less Big Brother.

Date of live review: 20 August 2014 @ Assembly Hall

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