Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

If a chimp in a space suit smoking a cigar doesn’t get you through the door of a comedy club, you have no funny bone. Project X is an eccentric foray into alternative comedy that proves a wacky way to end the night.

The night is hosted by Monkey Barrel’s own Iain Campbell. He is a more than capable host, getting a rise out of the audience and nicely building up anticipation for each act. His efforts to talk to as many audience members as possible however somewhat backfire. These conversations drag on for a bit too long (not helped by some smart alec crowd members). It slows the show down to the point where you find yourself counting down until the next act.

Fortunately, most of the acts prove worth the wait. Amelia Bayler lights the room up with her bright pink outfit and energised singing, a light and entertaining way to start the show on a slightly absurd note. Ross Foley & James McIntosh follow this up with a semi-topical set, although it is immediately overshadowed by the unexpected strangeness of Michael Welch. Playing a self-destructed version of Neil Buchanan, his paint water swigging, trouser-less clowning garners a mixture of shock and laughter from an unprepared crowd.

After an interval, Ben Verth plucks random ideas out of a jacket and crafts each one into a two minute comedy spiel (yes, that is the act), to great effect. Soup Group then turn the absurdity up a level with playful keyboard playing and a giant hand spider, to a great reception. The biggest laughs of the night however are reserved for Andrew Sim and his alter ego/inner demon, Linda. A performance bursting with profanity, cackling and disbelief ensues. The audience erupts in a way you might expect them to for every act, yet only Sim gets the kind of response that could bring a house down.

Project X is a mixed bag, perhaps because not all the acts match Sim’s level of clowning and absurdity. The extent of audience involvement could also be looked at to make the time go by faster. Nonetheless, there is serious fun to be had at this showcase of weirdness. Talented acts are given a chance to impress to an audience ready to lap up some eccentrism. The spirit of the Fringe is alive and well in this festival of the freaky.