Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2001

***** Bizarre and hilarious man/inflatable Jumbo Jet two-hander

The last time I saw a sparse midnight audience laugh so much was ten years ago at Graham Norton's first show.

After the performance I saw, the nine or ten of us in the audience hung around together, asking each other why we had found Julian Fox so funny and telling one another that we had no idea, but still laughing all the time.

This half-hour show takes the mickey out of navel-gazing performance art on subjects like masculinity and God, but that is almost beside the point. From the moment Fox enters, with his huge blow-up plane, through the mundane observations which he pulls out of his pockets on tiny pieces of paper and his several songs which sound like The Magnetic Fields crossed with the most annoying introspective sixth-former you ever knew, Fox exerts the most remarkable effect.

He speaks and moves so slowly and deliberately that his very earnestness becomes comical in itself without his ever signalling that he is playing for laughs. Every eye movement is so precise that it gets a chuckle. With the wrong kind of audience it could fall flat as a pancake, but go prepared to laugh at this deliberately pathetic figure and you will roar non-stop.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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