Innes McQuillin

Edinburgh Fringe review: Phil Wang, Mellow Yellow

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Phil Wang has packed a lot into his first quarter century. President of Cambridge Footlights; two prestigious student comedy awards: appearances on BBC radio and TV. So does comedy fame and fortune lie ahead?

It won’t be easy. There’s a glut of young male comics out there, fighting for the same spot on the same stage. Granted, few of Phil’s peers share his Chinese heritage, which provides him with an immediate point of difference. It’s a gift from the comedy gods that he successfully mines throughout this show.

Building on the success of his debut show last year, Wang is back with an all-new show in one of the Pleasance’s smaller spaces. His routines include observations on race, family, friendship, dating and sex. With a mild-mannered delivery and likeable personality he comes across as clever and funny, rather than cruel or crude.

Look out too for Phil’s use of a sound effects tape loop as a backing track for his modern take on classic nursery rhymes. It’s innovative, fun and very funny, as well as importantly providing a subtle change of pace. More evidence, if it were needed, of a keen comedy mind at work.

Phil deservedly went down a storm with the overwhelmingly twenty-something audience, who rewarded him with gales of laughter from start to finish. While the intimacy of the cellar-like room suited his laid back, conversational approach, I’m sure that he would do well in a larger venue.

There’s always room at the top. And you don’t have to be twenty-something to figure out that’s where Phil Wang is headed.

Date of live review: 1 August 2014 @ Pleasance Courtyard

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