Review: Gadd, Winning and Kirk: Well, This Is Awkward – Bannerman’s, Edinburgh
Having seen Matthew Winning, Richard Gadd and James Kirk several times before, both in Edinburgh and the North East, I know what they’re capable of. In fact, we – that’s Giggle Beats – recommended Gadd, Winning and Kirk: Well, This Is Awkward as one of the must-see free shows at this year’s Fringe. So do they deliver on that expectation? Well, sort of.
Opener Matt Winning tweaks the start of a slick ten minute set with a few local references, but the middle-aged crowd is unreceptive for the most part. It’s a shame, because the nuances of his writing – like the double pun on his ‘running joke’, for example, and the Mugabe wordplay – feel wasted on this audience.
This package show features three new act competition winners, and James Kirk (So You Think You’re Funny 2010) got the most out of the audience in the middle. He begins with staple self-deprecating lines (not again, ey?), but moves swiftly into an anti-comedy anecdote about ‘Wilde cats’ and then a strong routine about Jay-Z’s 99 Problems that features a nice call-back to one of Winning’s earlier gags. Kirk’s got an impressive sense of comic timing, and even if you don’t like the material, there are plenty of visual jokes on offer.
Richard Gadd is usually a ball of energy on stage but adopts a low-key delivery style to close this afternoon show. The result is that his set falls flat, the crowd never invests and, to the untrained eye, Gadd just looks like a shit comic telling clichéd gags. He’s not, of course – the multiple pull-backs (and call-backs) to his Tesco routine is material worth paying to see and he’s got plenty more in his locker, too, like the Serena Williams joke that always gets a laugh from me.
Gadd, Winning and Kirk are all decent writers, but stand-up’s about more than that. You need conviction; otherwise it just looks, er, awkward.
Date of live review: Friday 12th August 2011.