Pierre Novellie, 20/08/17, ★★★★

This show has no theme. This is a little bit unsettling when you’re used to every stand up show having a story behind it, but there is a lot to be said for a funny person just being funny. Pierre Novellie has brought his best material from the past year and built a set around the uniting theme that it was him that thought of it all.

His instincts prove to be spot on as he introduces us to the crate that he’s performing in. He is unmistakably South African, but grew up in the Isle of Man, meaning he was subjected to the halfhearted French lessons that have condemned generations of British people to never managing to learn a second language. Where so many now have nothing to show for these lessons (myself included) he has one of the best bits of the whole Fringe.

The delivery is perfect throughout and he has a terrific turn of phrase. The bonus of eschewing a uniting topic is that a variety of material can be incorporated and he takes full advantage covering themes from Budgie the Helicopter to dating awkwardness. There is a hugely intense story about his teenage life as a caricaturist, that has the audience feeling his pain and a finale piece about a safari in Kruger National Park.

This show is billed as observational comedy for people who think they hate observational comedy. I can see what he means, he’s able to take his stories on strange tangents and drop you right back in the middle of them. If you’ve been at the Fringe for a while and feel like you could do with a break from stories built around a single topic, then this is a great chance to see a funny person just being funny.

 

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