Rich Hall review - SkinnyFest 2

Article by Jon Lynes | 14 Aug 2006
Nobody with a soul can claim to dislike re-heated pizza, but on the other hand only a paltry few will claim that it tastes better than one that's straight from the oven. By the same token, only someone with a humour lobotomy could sit po-faced through Rich Hall's cynical dissection of the world's inadequacies, but you can't help but wish that it was all a bit… well, fresher. Topics include the war in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden and the War on Terror and the July 7th bombings. When he criticises the War on Terror by asking, "How can you wage a war against a heightened emotion?" it inevitably gets laughs. But even though it's still vaguely topical, there's more than a sneaking suspicion that he's been circulating that joke for a fair while now. Maybe nine years of doing the Fringe have made him slightly complacent, and it's a shame because the material in itself is very funny. It just all feels a bit dated, and verges on stale.

Rich Hall's delivery is characterised by the kind of deadpan cynicism which few could muster, let alone sustain, and everyone except Americans love a self-deprecating American who is unashamedly critical of the Bush administration. Forever the crowd-pleaser, he then compliments the British nonchalance towards the threat of terrorists, and even has a dig at England to woo any Scots in the audience. Far from bad but definitely disappointing, Rich Hall's show is funny but hardly ground-breaking. At some points he even seemed to be at a loss for things to say, an inexcusable short falling for such an established comedian.

Rich Hall, Assembly Rooms, until August 28 (not 21), 22:30, £14/£13 (£13/£12).