Theatre review: Spencer Jones: The Things We Leave Behind, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Irrepressibly fun at a level of utter silliness-for-silliness sake
Irrepressibly fun at a level of utter silliness-for-silliness sake
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With not one but two BBC comedy vehicles out this year, you might imagine that Spencer Jones had left the Fringe behind.

Spencer Jones: The Things We Leave Behind, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) * * * *

Yet not only does live remain the best environment to appreciate his knockabout daftness, and Edinburgh redress his finances, it also affords the goofball clown and prop comedian's restless hands and imagination something to do.

An absolute womble of a man, scouring the internet for random flotsam and jetsam and repurposing broken appliances, a relatively fallow 2018 found him prolifically painting and drawing his kids further into his boundless sense of play, the fruits of their labours his venue's set dressing.

A recreation of what he chucklingly calls the “work room” for his “job”, Jones' conceit is that he's arriving back late at night after a gig and seeking to potter about in his den, with 3.30am the only time he's free of familial responsibilities to indulge his whimsy.

Conspiratorially inducting us into his efforts not to disturb his sleeping wife and children, he's nevertheless bought a state-of-the-art looping station from which he mixes various nonsensical beatbox jingles, cheerily strutting the stage in his hunched, gold lamé suit.

Introducing his various junk creations, broken hoovers and the like transformed into anthropomorphic, Frankenstein's monsters, it's throwaway foolishness of doubtful profundity, alluded to in his familiar, muttered appeal, “it's somethin' innit?”

Except, as Jones shares more of his family life, his long-suffering wife's endurance, his son's curiosity and his daughter's febrile self-confidence, he also reveals more details of his parents, disclosing how he came to be such an inveterate hoarder, recycler and manchild of arrested development.

Irrepressibly fun at a level of utter silliness-for-silliness sake, Jones nevertheless imbues his hour with such loveable warmth and not a little vulnerability that you can't help but return, and get swept up in, the embrace.

Until 25 August