Olaf Falafel @ Laughing Horse, City Cafe

'Sweden's eighth favourite comedian' brings his debut hour into the City Cafe

Review by Ben Venables | 10 Aug 2016
  • Olaf Falafal

Olaf Falafel is an imaginative, inventive loon and best introduced by the six-second video clips that have made him 'Vine famous'. This kind of introduction is pretty much what transpires in his debut hour as he presents something of a greatest hits on screen and builds a nice story around his popular 'Cheese of Truth' Vines, where cheese slices reveal the essence of whatever reading material they land on through the few words only visible through the cheese-holes.

The economy of his storytelling in this restricted format suggests Falafel should break out beyond the strange bubble of social media admiration, where hits and views replace the cheques an artist needs to get by. He finds himself in the odd situation, however, of being eclipsed by his own videos. There's his clever and bizarre use of props, for instance; so arresting in his Vines, yet they barely materialise onstage.

That's not to say his live material lacks in quality or ideas. A quiz-style competition with the contestant playing against a bowl of breakfast cereal, the ancient Rome translation of Hilary Clinton's name and the pay-off of a hard-to-swallow conclusion all demonstrate Falafel's considerable range and a desire to take risks. He's also the kind of comedian who can elicit as much pleasure from the audience with weaker material, understanding that sometimes a groan can be as good as a laugh.

A promising debut, but not yet a calling-card presentation.

Olaf Falafel and The Cheese of Truth, Laughing Horse @ City Cafe (Basement Bar), 4-28 Aug (not 16), 4.15pm, Free