Edy Hurst @ Just the Tonic, Mash House

Edy Hurst's identity-crisis silliness is full of fun flashes, with an unfortunate patch of seriousness

Review by Rob Young | 14 Aug 2019
  • Edy Hurst @ Just the Tonic, Mash House

The largely-very-successful central conceit of Edy Hurst’s existential 50 minutes is an ongoing dialogue with a sardonic green puppet (basically, a budget Kermit) in which the motionless papier-mâché mutant criticises how futile and shallow Hurst’s comedy is. It’s a sharply written idea, which offers plenty of big laughs, particularly in the puppet’s memorable phrasing. At one point, this self-proclaimed ‘Jungian attachment aid’ describes Hurst’s style as like walking into a vape shop: flavourful but ultimately like wading through an empty miasma. 

And what the heck is wrong with an empty miasma, particularly when you’re as good at unashamed, flip-chart-aided silliness as Hurst is? He admits in his opening that musical comedians are an annoying hybrid, but his blend of comedy songs and loop-pedal incompetence is never around long enough to irk. Plumping for ten-second musical one-liners about eyelid tattoos and getting time off work, the first half of Hurst’s show is bursting with comedic joy – a short bluesy number about getting a mobile phone upgrade is a particular highlight, adding wit to a horribly mundane aspect of our techno-existences. 

It is ironic, then, for a show which tries to answer the question ‘Who is Edy Hurst?’, that the star does not stick to what he is good at. For much of the piece, the ever-present, increasingly sinister puppet cleverly exposes the now-hackneyed Fringe demand for emotional weight from ramshackle shows in grotty pub basements. But Hurst misguidedly tries to prove anti-Kermit wrong with a tediously serious final section about suicide attempts and the mental health crisis; you can tell it’s serious because he sits down. Predictably, the belly laughs dry up, and we are left longing for another madcap anecdote about kicking a goose up the arse. Narrative schmarrative.

Edy Hurst: Hurst SchmurstJust the Tonic @ The Mash House (Just the Bottle Room), until 25 Aug, 12.50pm, £5/PWYW