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.