Gilded Balloon Cowgate, Edinburgh
August, 2002

**** This half-mad old buffer is a remarkable comic creation

Steve Delaney's character has been around for a while, but this may be the year of his big Fringe break.

He shambles on in his evening suit, apologises that the slide projector isn't working, announces that he will instead treat us to one of his magnificent showbiz lectures, keeps digressing into matters Egyptological, all the time swigging from a large glass of whiskey and repeatedly breaking out into a distracted bellow that deflates his intended air of professional authority... yes, Count Arthur Strong is literally barking mad.

There's potentially a little cruelty in the idea that this is a man losing control of his mental faculties, but Delaney's performance is so complete and adept in its bizarre hilarity that the audience never gets side-tracked by such possibilities. This is a man who declares that the plural of "sarcophagus" is "sarcophageese", and does a ventriloquial act with a tiny mummy figure whose mouth is entirely bandaged up. He even tries to cook felafel on stage.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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