Fringe Comedy Reviews: Mike Wozniak and Möglich
Mike Wozniak holds his head in hands a lot during One Man Dad Cat Band [★★★★☆], before jolting himself upright, spitting, 'Can we please just be serious!' and working himself into a frenzy to rival the kids' show next door.
One Man Dad Cat Band, as its title suggests, interrogates the complexity of human-feline relations: a tale of ‘outrage, personal horror and facts.’ During the latter, a string of delightfully odd non-sequiturs, Wozniak veers wonderfully off-piste, intermittently deadpanning about the complexities of sending bees through the royal mail and generally taking liberties with the whole concept of anthropomorphism.
Back on the beaten track, it’s a show concerned with ethics; about doing the right thing, and the balance between altruism and obligation. Wozniak weaves a narrative with zeal and purpose, musing on the quandaries presented by artistic integrity, the headaches caused by vegetarianism, and the nightmare of living next to Katie Hopkins. Apparently he 'cares very deeply' what people think of him, but after seeing this high octane, exasperated adventure, Wozniak doesn’t need to worry too much about his reputation.
Douglas Walker (of improvised sketch group Racing Minds) cares too, sinking his head in a bucket of water before emerging, breathless, to tell us that 'comedians are just people.' It’s a fragility he plays up to during his debut solo hour, Möglich [★★★☆☆], arguing with imaginary violent hecklers and complaining that 'sometimes the audience just beats you up.' The self-consciousness can be disconcerting, especially when today’s crowd appears on several occasions to be on a different wavelength.
Walker is a gifted actor and his show has remarkable range, veering from darkness into the whimsical – at times blending the two with devastating effect. The high point sees a harrowing monologue subversively punctured, and the ‘mild-mannered psychotherapist turned bedroom producer’ is a creation of a vivid imagination. Despite the lulls, Möglich is a clever performance from an enviable talent.