Edinburgh Festival Fringe: This is arguably the first comedy show on the subject of depression to begin with the comic attired in a homemade chicken costume.
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4 (Venue 12)
For Seymour Mace, the rules of conventional stand-up are irrelevant. This is his unique take on confessional comedy. And it’s wonderful.
Mace was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2011. He’s incredibly lonely. With typical frankness, he admits that he’s only ever happy when performing on stage.
A sardonic, unpretentious sort, he’d blanch at the assertion that he uses comedy as catharsis. But he obviously does. Fortunately, he’s a highly creative comic with naturally funny bones. It’s as if the conjoined souls of Vic and Bob have been poured into the body of a tattooed Eric Morecambe.
Despite the seemingly haphazard absurdity of this show, it all stems from his illness. He recently bought a horribly twee and condescending self-help book called Live Life Sunny Side Up. Incensed by its contents, he’s created a scabrous version of his own. It’s typical of the hilarious blasts of profane rage – he’s an expert employer of the C-word – which punctuate his whimsical obsessions.
Mace’s misanthropy is underlined with sensitivity and charm. It’s also justified. Physically invasive, upbeat people who insist on hugging you when you’re depressed really are the worst of humanity. His scatological rant about the pain of heartbreak is particularly acute.
The kinetic climax involves 25 audience volunteers. If audience interaction isn’t your thing, don’t be alarmed. Mace has designed this show as a cheering, fleeting escape from the outside world. He won’t embarrass you.
The sight of him grinning as a group of strangers partakes in a nonsense world of his own devising is genuinely touching. Plus you get to see him in his underpants. What more do you want?
Until 27 August. Today 1:30pm.