John-Paul Stephenson

Review: Quiz in my Pants – Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

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This panel show is a very nice idea, but it is less than the sum of its parts.

Host Nicola Bolsover presided over two teams, made up of comics Russ Powell, Pete Dobbing, Luke Toulson, and Aaron Twitchen.

There were some good ideas here.

Choosing which noises to the teams would make in the absence of buzzers was nice, but was an early demonstration that the show needed to pick up pace.

The stand-up round, without Mock The Week‘s conceit of randomised topics, allowed the comedians to showcase their solo stand-up; they all have their own hours to advertise, after all!

This was probably the show’s highlight, with Luke Toulson standing out. Even Aaron Twitchen, whose approach that over-the-top camp equals funny, was at his strongest in this section.

Experienced Fringe-goers know the negative correlation between the coarseness of a title and the quality of a show.

The rule proved true here with a round called “Muffin Diving”, in which the four comics ‘competed’ to see who could eat a muffin the quickest.

They did this in the most measured way possible, while a bemused audience watched on.

This itself may have been the gag, but when Seymour Mace is doing food-based tomfoolery over at The Stand to great effect, watching four people slowly eat isn’t exactly the most efficient use of valuable Fringe time.

The venue itself is ‘the Fringe’ as ‘the Fringe’ should be; a spare cave beneath a bar.

However – and you saw the ‘however’ coming, didn’t you? – there is excessive noise pollution from the venue’s second room, only a few metres away.

The guffaws from next door were an intermittent reminder that other people were having a better time.

The final round has good shoutability, which might have been embraced more to prevent the show from petering out.

As Powell pointed out on more than one occasion, the audience simply didn’t care.

Despite this show’s pace, the format is welcome at the Fringe. It at least acted as a showcase of some promising acts on the PBH Free Fringe.

Toulson was the star of this show; confident and masterful throughout, and clearly one to watch.

Date of live review: Thursday 8 August 2013

Quiz in my Pants runs as part of the PBH Free Fringe at the Cabaret Voltaire, 3-24 (not 13) August.