Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, until Mon 31 Aug 2015 @ 14:15

Mixing unorthodox jazz music with a deliberately screwed up pre-show announcement, and entering the vicinity wearing incongruous trainers, the audience are at once given a clue as to just how complex, multi-layered, and stand alone Stewart Lee’s A Room With A Stew is going to be.

Constantly breaking all the unwritten rules about how a comedian is supposed to act, his routine is inimitable, admirable, and at times ostentatious – obnoxiously sneering at the audience, consulting his notes, and perfectly replicating a parody of amateur comedians.

Providing a detailed description of the anatomy of a joke, and self-deprecating about his rise to middle-class status, his brilliantly created stand-up is not only impossible to steal, it’s also impossible to replicate, meaning he has a style of performing that as well as being thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud enjoyable, is also timeless.

Ostensibly a “work in progress”, the truth is he’s been performing this routine for years: every minute of it is deliberate, systematically controlled, and hilariously contagious, pulling the audience in and using them as collaborators, leaving most wondering which of his opinions are actually genuine.

The way he juxtaposes intellectualism with idiotic moments is particularly enjoyable, and whether it’s nostalgic urine related jokes, or well executed metaphors about the younger generations political naivety, Stewart Lee will have you perpetually laughing for the entirety of the performance.