Comedy review: The Long, Miserable Journey to Happiness

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: This is such a sweet show. There are precious few words as Paul Valenti, a chubby little waistcoated man in a Stan Laurel hat, measures our smiles and leads us along his road to happiness.

Laughing Horse @ The Golf Tavern (Venue 114)

***

He is consumed by his desire to widen our smiles. We get bubbles, we try balloons, he offers us art and magic, but his absolute ineptitude fails to tip us over into happiness. Paul takes to the world’s lowest highwire to see if death-defying acts will bring happiness. Apparently not but we do laugh a great deal.

And it made me happy to find how much fun can be created from two audience members and a bungee rope. Paul tries dance, with catastrophic effect. And Paul cries. In a comedy section containing much that is simply childish, this show reminds us what a wonderful thing it can be to be childlike. Paul is the sweetest and most charming of clowns and the most persuasive of actors. We do find happiness, of course, with Paul’s help. And he is happier than any of us as we end his show with bubbles (the kind you blow, not the kind you drink) and crisps.