Review: Liam Mullone: A Land Fit For Fuckwits – The Stand (4), Edinburgh
Liam Mullone is pleased you could make it to Stand 4 to see A Land Fit For Fuckwits. Or, as he puts it, “a dark cupboard where I discuss stuffed toys and facism.” A stuffed toy does indeed occupy a stool on the stage, later introduced as ‘Mr Eek’ and representing more than what first meets the eye.
Mullone is tall and gangly. Despite his size he is far from imposing, delivering his material in a soft, slightly effeminate English accent and staring down shyly at his shoes. Lurking beneath outward appearances, however, is a slightly gruesome persona that is allowed into the light sparingly, casting a sinister glow over his subject matter.
That subject matter is, predominantly, the turbulent waters of middle class guilt. Sharp observations and cutting social satire are interwoven into grander narratives concerning the world we live in. An early interpretation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace is an inventive take on the perils of parenthood, putting a fresh spin on a topic that is all too familiar to the comedy circuit, while the difficulties of having a girlfriend who “isn’t racist” are laid bare. A verbose descriptive power moves the show along smoothly, an exploration of the psyche of Eastenders becoming a rallying cry for the working classes.
Political considerations are never far from the surface of Liam’s routine, bursting out unexpectedly and found in the most unusual places. An absurdist story about Mr Eek taking over the world lulls the audience into a sense of security before morphing into a stinging political barb. Fascism, as promised, is discussed in depth, Mullone incorporating the theme into multiple layers of his act.
That is not to say Liam Mullone is simply a political comedian. A keen sense of the macabre drives the performance forward, the audience hanging on every word. A story involving a camera should ensure Mullone is never invited to a wedding ever again, but it is an effective amalgamation of the themes of his show; liberal angst, political correctness and finding darkness where previously there was none.
Sadly, the show isn’t perfect. Though the content is well thought out and involving, there is often an awful lot of waiting around for the punch line. Mullone speaks slowly, occasionally hesitantly, allowing certain seeds of thought to carry on growing long after they have ripened. A lengthy section about Canada sticks particularly in the mind, the audience left in anticipation of a pay off that never quite arrives.
A Land Fit For Fuckwits is an intelligent, politically motivated hour of comedy that boasts a brilliant selection of subversive, sophisticated laughs. Mullone has honed his nervous, troubling onstage personality to perfection, producing a show that lingers in the mind for much longer than most.
Date of live review: Saturday 11th August 2012.