Although Melt is billed as ‘a paranoid stream of consciousness’, Dave Green‘s set at Bar 50 is far from the rambling, incoherent hour of free-association you might expect from such a description. Well, it’s paranoid, maybe – as evidenced by the recurring themes of hypochondria and social anxiety – but the show is certainly not formless. The structure here is worthy of a seasoned professional comic, and the delivery is as confident and assured as they come.
In a similar vein, those expecting the ‘deadpan’ comic advertised are in for a surprise – Green’s stage persona this Fringe is warm, animated and engaging. While his interactions with the audience feel a little forced on occasion, it is clear that Green is generally a relaxed and confident performer, more than adequately prepared by his already relatively illustrious comedy career to make his somewhat belated Edinburgh Fringe debut.
The promotional material for Melt is misleading in some other key ways. For one, the monochromatic and B-movie horror-influenced design of the flyer, reminiscent of artwork used by bands such as The Misfits and Rocket from the Crypt, suggests a much more alternative, punk-inspired aesthetic than is on offer, as does the flyer’s emphasis on his absurdism. Based on this advertising, what is most striking about Green’s set is how mainstream and universally relatable the vast majority of the content is.
This is not, in itself, a criticism. Green presents sharp observational comedy on various utterly quotidian matters, with more than a few flashes of unequivocal brilliance. While the material is a little uneven, and not all of his jokes land entirely successfully, everyday experiences such as buying milk, dating, the etiquette opening the door on a train and feeding the ducks with younger relatives are given an undeniably fresh spin in Green’s capable comedy hands.
It’s tempting to suspect that, in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience, and attain the commercial success he undoubtedly deserves, Green has perhaps diluted his act a little. The deadpan absurdist shtick of yore perhaps needed some development, but the erosion of some of that unique voice has arguably been to the detriment of Green’s niche appeal.
Regardless, this is a solidly enjoyable Fringe debut, and if there is any justice for the awkward oddballs and lactose intolerant neurotics in this world, there are bigger and better things yet to come for Dave Green.