Phil Ellis @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Even in a solo-show Phil Ellis is a master of fun and games

Review by Polly Glynn | 19 Aug 2016
  • Phil Ellis

Phil Ellis is not alone. He’s also not bitter. Or over his ex-wife. But he’ll tell you that he is, and you’ll try your best to believe him. 

The proceedings begin as a semi-naked Ellis, in hand-cut denim shorts, performs a Summertime Special style dance routine which goes past the point of tedium to become a hilarious opener. It also helps that the dance is restarted three times to permit latecomers, each time increasing the laughs. One particular fidgety latecomer gets barricaded out of the venue after trying, failing, and then succeeding to nip to the loo. Ellis has a rigged wheel of fortunes board (nicked from Funz and Gamez perhaps?) which lets him talk about everything he wants to, and sets up some spectacular pieces including playing chess with a robot, and a terrible improv troupe.

There’s a lot of audience back and forth and near the end of the hour you do wonder just how planned it is, or how much non-interactive content there is to the show. And then something happens and it all becomes a very clever ruse set up by his love rival.

It’s a very silly show with some glorious titting about on stage. There’s not an awful lot of structure or meaning, but it doesn’t matter because everyone’s eating from the palm of Ellis's sweaty, sweaty hand.

Phil Ellis is Alone Together (But Mostly Alone), Underbelly, Cowgate (White Belly), 4-28 Aug (not 15), 5.40 pm, £6-11