Lorenzo Pacitti

Edinburgh Fringe review: Phil Mann, Not Funny Haha

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Spending an hour in the surreal company of Phil Mann was a wonderfully weird and intimate experience.

From his initial introductions and successful attempt to learn and remember the name of everyone in his small audience, Phil exudes likeability and a charm that serves him well throughout an absurd show that doesn’t always hit the mark with the group.

The greatest strength of this show is in the premise that Phil is in fact an alien sent here to learn about the humans. He plays this character really well, if it even is a character, and this lends some added weight to his reflections on human life as well as his often-daft behaviour.

The show is backed by a lot of multimedia elements that do fail Phil at this particular show from time to time, but he deals with it admirably and carries on well. Again, the audience offers him more sympathy due to having a lot of time for him after his efforts to welcome them.

Often Phil’s surreal humour goes flying well over the head of the entire audience, leaving a fair few jokes to hover with an audience unsure of what to laugh at, just a group of slightly bemused faces. Bemused faces, which to be fair, seem to be having a good time. Amidst the dance numbers, the journey through the history of art and a game of human Tetris, only the hardest of hearts couldn’t share a smile with Phil.

While there wasn’t a great deal of laugh-out-loud moments, it was definitely a fun ride and one which Phil Mann seems genuinely chuffed to be sharing with whatever audience shows up to his Free Fringe show. Well worth a look.

Date of live review: 22 August 2014 @ Maggie’s Chamber, Free Sisters

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