Deliciously silly, startlingly original and completely incomprehensible Mat Ewins’ new stand up show is a comic tour de force. To describe the through line would be an exercise in futility (it would take page upon page and even then it wouldn’t make any sense) but the basic premise is that Ewins is a secret agent who has been shot dead in a field (not in the field, in a field) and has been resurrected as a bionic man. An evil Russian has since planted a bomb in the venue and Ewins must find it in precisely one hour. On the way there are numerous digressions and tangents that aim to lose the audience in an orgy of absurdity. The effects are marvellous.
Ewins is a natural and gifted performer. The timing and delivery of his jokes are always spot on.
Ewins is a natural and gifted performer. The timing and delivery of his jokes are always spot on. His humour is inventive yet seemingly natural. Despite the artificial nature of the show we buy completely into it due to the force and likeability of Ewins himself. Some of the set pieces that Ewins indulges in can go on a little too long. A bit about picking cards from an audience member peaks long before Ewins decides to end it.
Through various distinct set pieces Ewins pushes the narrative on. An Ian Fleming parody that involves the audience making noises at increasingly bizarre points of the story works well. The video interludes, which were somewhat damaging to Ewins show last year, work brilliantly well here. A chase sequence between two underground trains that culminates in death by fork is every bit as ingenious as it sounds.
Some of the show’s highlights come when Ewins breaks the character of secret agent Ewins into comedian Ewins. He talks about being a performer at the Fringe, about desperately losing money and he even has hilarious fights with his techie about whether a certain narrative event can be described as a plot circle or a plot hole.
The audience interaction is very strong. One audience member shrieking like a banshee on laughing gas when not very much was happening was repeatedly called out by Ewins. Though not in any mean spirited way; just a comment here and there to diffuse the audience’s frustration allowing him to move swiftly on with his act.
An admirably strong comic with a unique vision. He is a joy to listen to, to look at and most of all to laugh with.