Creator of cult 2017 Fringe hit The Elvis Dead Rob Kemp returns to the Fringe for his third solo hour in a show that despite its title contains almost no Bond whatsoever. Also, a show that is very different from The Elvis Dead in its almost complete absence of a narrative structure.
Well, that is not entirely true. There is a loose framing device for the show. Kemp’s explanation is we are to imagine that he has just hit snooze on his alarm (he is dressed in pyjamas and a dressing gown) and that the sketches are taking place in that space between wakefulness and sleep. Which as concepts go, is undoubtedly an interesting one.
In the end, though, it is merely a loose skeleton from which to hang an assortment of madcap multimedia sketches. A comedy show does not always need to have a narrative, it just really needs to be funny; and on that score, the show frequently succeeds. That is not to say it is not without issues. Some sketches fall flat, such as a Dragon’s Den sketch which seems to drag on. However, this does set-up an excellent call-back for the uproarious climax.
In fact, there are a whole host of call-backs and running gags sprinkled throughout the hour. Again some of these work (a running bit about Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte) and some prove the law of diminishing returns (a series of Jaws skits).
Not all the elements may work here, but Kemp does prove himself to be a consistently engaging and charismatic performer, even when his tech acts up, or he seems to lose the thread a little. He especially excels when it comes to the audience participation parts of the show, most notably in a couple of segments where he ‘tests’ the sporting knowledge of a couple of audience members.
The description for Moonraker 2: Moonrakerer mentions explicitly that this is not The Elvis Dead. True enough, as it can’t match that show’s comic brilliance, but it still proves to be an enjoyably silly hour of comedy.