Adam Hess @ Pleasance Courtyard

Talented oddball Adam Hess delivers another breathless hour of absurdity

Review by Charlie Ralph | 19 Aug 2019
  • Adam Hess: My Grandad Has A Fringe @ Pleasance Courtyard

Adam Hess is quickly becoming one of the most reliable names at the Edinburgh Fringe. Consistently packing more laughs-per-minute into his show than any other act, Hess breathlessly recounts the first half of anecdotes before spiralling into nonsense and having to berate himself back towards the point. Using relatability as a jumping off point into absurdity, Hess effortlessly bridges the gap between familiar anecdotal comedy and its surreal fringes.

Even this year's show title – My Grandad Has A Fringe – opts for being an extra punchline rather than any indicator of what is contained within. Instead the show jumps from anecdotes about morning television to stealing food in Brexit-supporting-chain-pub-monsters to the faces people make to convey complex sentences wordlessly. These anecdotes all start somewhat innocuous before spiraling outwards, and although the show would perhaps benefit from a clearer overarching narrative, as a framework for jokes it operates perfectly.

It is refreshing that Hess makes so little reference to the fact that his show doesn't have the emotional peaks and troughs of his contemporaries. The idea of satirising fringe shows with a 'message' is now almost as tired as fringe shows having said message. Instead, Hess could be performing his show on any given day in any given part of the world. Thanks to his rapid delivery and unique style, it is doubtful that anywhere would give him anything less than rapturous applause.

Adam Hess: My Grandad Has a FringePleasance Courtyard (Upstairs), until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £8.50-11.50