Year after year the Fringe throws up a sea of samey blokes with samey jokes. My mission – as always – is to avoid the bland and find shows that deserve your attention. And I think I may have found a good one for you here in James Ross.
James looks and sounds unique – like a cross between Terry Thomas and Captain Jack Sparrow with a bit of the shouty guy from the ‘The Good Old Days’ (ask your grandparents) thrown in. I think it’s genuine as well. I read another comparison which was ‘like a mini Aiden Turner‘ and his own description is ‘a mash-up of all the members of Queen‘. He originally comes from Wimslow but he sure doesn’t look or sound like he does. He confesses he is middle-class (but as he says the accent does rather give that away) and a bit of a lefty. This leads into a very funny routine about going out with a very upper-class girl with Tory connections and her parents subsequently bribing her to stop going out with him.
The blurb for Leopardoptera says it’s ‘for people who’ve read a book without pictures…’ It’s true that the material is unashamedly cerebral and the very opposite of dumbing-down but rather than merely railing against all that’s wrong and stupid with the world James has put together a very tight package bursting with ideas with excellent material. Other guys with half-baked shows – take note!
Examples of the very good things available are – using chess strategy when deciding what urinal to use in a public toilet (complete with diagrams) and reading from a diary which chronicles working from home as a descent into polar-exploration-type madness. A particularly effective piece involves a series of glib statements (immigrants, eh? women, what are they like?) being given measured and considered responses. A bit like Bernard Righton from The Fast Show – but with a PhD in PPE.
If you’re thinking cerebral stuff isn’t for you, please reconsider. There’s so much here to enjoy without getting all of the references and James’ sheer force of nature personality and high octane presentation is – in itself – worth experiencing. In a world – certainly an Edinburgh Festival – where a lot of tired old stuff gets trundled out please make the effort to go and see someone unique, talented and giving 100%