Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

“With abstract animation playing in the background…” Sometimes a Fringe blurb tells it straight. American comedian Huntsberger’s USP for this show is exactly that – he does stand-up with abstract animation playing in the background.

And that literal description hides nothing. There’s no more to it. Once Huntsberger hits play on the animation, and starts his routine, never the twain meet. It’s a guy just doing a regular comedy set in front of some very eyecatching visuals. He doesn’t really reference them again. It’s him vs the screen in a bid for attention.

The set is a stream of gently humorous musing upon the big questions – space, time, heaven/hell… and cows? His animation covers much the same subjects, and if he gets the timing right the imagery synchs with what he’s saying. But that’s if you’re paying attention to what he’s saying. Like the flashing lights of a fruit machine in the corner of a pub, the swirling lights of the animation draw the eye. And like the guy in the pub who you were talking to before you got distracted, you click back to Huntsberger with a mental “sorry, what were you saying?” He’s very talkative, and it takes concentration to go with him.

His words reveal a vivid and informed, if slighty nerdy, imagination. He’s made the effort to update some of his references for Scotland too, although he also drops Iowa in to proceedings as if it should mean something.┬áHis sensibilities regarding race and gender are also very American, and, as he acknowledges, Scotland’s relationship with those issues is different.

But in general, his thoughts are creative and idiosyncratic and go well with his pop-sci / fan convention presentation style. It does require dumbos like this reviewer not to get distracted by all the pretty lights though.