Comedy review: Ed Gamble: Stampede

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Are you in desperate need of an unnecessarily detailed guide to making cauliflower pizza? Then this is the show for you.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Gilded Balloon at the Counting House (Venue 170)

By his own playful ­admission, Gamble spends far too long on this unappetising subject in his 11th Fringe show. That, of course, is the point. With echoes of Stewart Lee, it’s a ­deliberately patience-testing routine, the idea being that the ­longer it goes on, the funnier it becomes.Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite succeed. Gamble is a hugely likeable ­performer, but his innate charm alone can’t rescue this ­uneven attempt at absurdist meta-comedy.

It’s unfortunate, as he’s typically sharp and witty whenever he deviates from the cauliflower “theme”, which springs unbidden from his memories of being six-stone overweight. Fat jokes are usually lazy and cruel, but because Gamble is speaking from personal experience, he successfully exploits this ­territory in utterly benign, non-judgmental fashion.

He’s at his best when stretching the minutiae of everyday observations to illogical conclusions. A ­routine about male skin care climaxes with the winningly ridiculous mental-image of him moisturising a bulldog.
He’s an excellent comic when inspiration strikes, but his hit-rate this year is frustratingly sporadic. That ­cauliflower pizza repeats – and repeats – on him.

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