Al Pitcher: DANGER MOUTH (UK/NZ)
19/04/2008 - 26/04/2008
FUNNIER AND MORE RANDOM THAN A SAUSAGE WITH SIDEBURNS
Each Al Pitcher show is unique. He eclipses his peers with his interactive abilities, his audience never quite knowing where he’s leading them, but thrilled by the journey. With a radio writing background, AL moved to England to pursue stand-up comedy. A star of the Comedy Zone at the 2003 Edinburgh Festival, Al stormed back to Edinburgh in 2004 with his acclaimed debut solo show winning him a new army of followers. His unpredictable, unsystematic and upbeat live performances have consistently wowed audiences across the country.
Already one of the most respected acts on the national club circuit and The voice of the Fosters Lager TV commercials, Al was commissioned by BBC Radio One to write and perform on their late-night comedy show The Milk Run. Booked as a warm up act for 2 pints of lager and a packet of crisps, Nigella and Grown ups. As a presenter Al has proved himself to be equally relaxed in front of a camera as he is with an audience.
In 2005 he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his highly praised show ..Wolfcatcher…. which transferred to a National tour in 2006 and then onto a complete sell out at the Oddfellows International Comedy Festival in New Zealand The AL Pitcher Experience was his next show which wowed Edinburgh Audiences Al headed back to the NZ Festival in May, toured Australia in June and then headed to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. He released IDIOT WIND in Edinburgh at the Pleasance Courtyard Aug 1 -27 in 2007, to critical acclaim.
Following his acclaim in Montreal, Melbourne & Edinburgh & on the back of sell out shows Al Pticher is back with a brand new show "Danger Mouth!" Designed for you to laugh your head off & let out bits of wee.
"Funnier and more random than a sausage with sideburns." – The List
"From his first words it was like the audience was on laughing gas… Great stuff." – CHORTLE, UK
Dates: April 19th and 22nd – 26th, 7pm
Venue: Transmission Room (Corner Mayoral Drive and Queen Street), Auckland
Tickets: Adults $24, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $19
Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) (service fees may apply)
Show Duration: 1 hour
Infectious amusement at smallest, oddest things
Review by Sian Robertson 20th Apr 2008
I have to admit that, not having heard of Al Pitcher, the thing that got me was reading the blurb in the Festival programme promising the show was ‘designed to make you laugh your head off and let out bits of wee.’ Having been pre-warned I cheated and made sure I didn’t have anything to drink too soon before the show. Lucky.
The theme of the show is Pitcher’s observations of weird people and random events that you can witness, anywhere in the world, if you’ve got the time and inclination. He’s especially fond of urban nutters. His material moves from patiently watching couples arguing on park benches ("it’s not pervy, honest, it’s not like that") to freaks in train stations trying to insert carrots in their ears, to the revolting shock tactics of wannabe performers in a stand up comedy competition.
Another one of his pet fascinations is the tendency, particularly in New Zealand, for people to do crazy or impressive deeds simply in order to brag about it to their mates. It’s the "you had to be there syndrome"… "No one’s actually interested in enjoying the moment," and he lists some hilarious examples, which I won’t divulge or it’ll spoil it for you.
He calls himself naive and it’s true Pitcher has an artless style, taking great pleasure in the little things in life, but he’s not all about rainbows and fluffy kittens – the un-PC side of him emerges when he touches down on reality tv and his own theories about how it could be made more suspenseful, as well as his suggestion for a prank you can pull on unsuspecting hotel cleaners.
His self-confessed agenda of inspiring us to stop and smell the roses, as it were, seems a bit cloying at first but he imbues his earnest philosophy with goofy ginga exuberance, bounding about the stage, compulsively engaging his audience as much as possible and aptly likening himself to "a three-legged, retarded labrador" – particularly in reference to his style of dealing with hecklers. He beats them at their own game, light-heartedly heckling the hecklers before they know what’s hit them. Remarkably, he finally manages to make everyone in the audience who pipes look like an inarticulate blundering git, including his mum who was at the preview.
Pitcher is a charmingly dorky raconteur, jumping around at random from one story to the next, sometimes in such a rambling fashion that it seems the whole set is thrown together as he goes along. He goes off on a tangent of a tangent of a tangent, such that it seems like he never manages to finish one story before starting the next. It’ sometimes distracting because you’re still back two left turns and one right turn ago, wondering whether he’ll remember to finish telling us about the Swedes. Surprisingly, though, he ties it all in without losing pace or getting lost in the convolutions of his own mind.
Pitcher is amused by the smallest and oddest things, and it’s infectious. The laugh meter goes up steadily throughout the show, until near the end he has the whole audience chortling at every sentence he utters. It’s not that the jokes have got funnier, nor that they weren’t funny to start with, but that we’re not sure why everything is suddenly so hilarious. He notices this and says the audience look like they’re thinking "I don’t know if I’m enjoying this but I kind of am".
He’s an accommodating and magnanimous host, creating a warm fuzzy atmosphere that’s welcome on such a cold wintery night. Pitcher’s most prominent skill though, is amicably goading his audience to engage with him and getting them to make themselves look like idiots, so that by the end he’s created the impression that most of the audience is comprised of the weirdos he goes hunting for in train stations and on street corners.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer