Andrew O'Neill - Mindspiders

Andrew O'Neill is the master of the absurd and the king of odd. His latest hour of what can loosely be described as stand-up, is an explosion of madcap joy and shambolic fun.

Andrew O'Neill is like the result of placing Harry Hill, Eddie Izzard, Tim Vine and Bill Bailey in the Large Hadron Collider

Fittingly entitled Mindspiders, the show is a vague collection of observations, sketches, songs and one-liners. The show's apparent lack of structure is its very success, the seemingly unplanned nature of the hour adding to the effect of the non-sequiturs and anti-jokes found within it. There is some coherence however, with running gags and regular callbacks, such as the occasional parodist voice-overs he has to record during the show to supplement his income. His audience interaction is superb too, building up a relationship with various members through his ad-libbing abilities - abilities that come in useful to cover the occasional slip-ups and duff jokes.

Much of O'Neill's success is in his delivery. The material stands up on its own, but when channelled through his hyperactive, energetic and occasionally intimidating figure it reaches a higher level. Unexpected accents come and go, jokes are sung, shouted and read from bits of paper - all whilst O'Neill bounces around the stage and the auditorium. What is happening may be a little strange, but the audience is never given long enough to really think about it.

Despite the bizarre nature of the show, it has a wide appeal. Andrew O'Neill is like the result of placing Harry Hill, Eddie Izzard, Tim Vine and Bill Bailey in the Large Hadron Collider, and as such is well suited to fans of all of these and many more besides. It is relentless, confusing and exhausting, but you will leave with a grin on your face that will be there for days.

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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Performances

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The Blurb

Andrew O'Neill (Buzzcocks, Museum Of Curiosity, Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle) returns to the Free Fringe with his most inventive, surreal stand-up show yet. Free! 'Comedic brilliance’ (Time Out). 'Absolutely hilarious’ (Neil Gaiman). 'He's got a natural optimism and love of silliness that leaves you feeling remarkably positive... The very definition of alternative' (Guardian).

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