28 August 2015
This Geordie has been coming to the Fringe for 12 years, charming the tits off his fans with dark whimsy and flimsy props. Thank goodness he’s just decided to go deeper with his strange, surrealist, low-budget style to present his aptly-titled 2015 show Niche as F*ck!
Those who weren’t on-board the Mace train before probably won’t feel tempted now. But for lovers of his absurd, northern line of light entertainment (constructed from tin foil and charity shop tat, and borrowing from the unfaltering professionalism of Tommy Cooper, the thought-provoking social commentary of Vic and Bob and the poetic flair of Viz magazine) this may be his best hour yet.
For all its homemade disaster, there is a sophisticated balance between the cutely nonsensical (glove puppets, sketches of man-sandwiches, a top prize made of a Pringles tube and a golf ball) and something more ink-black and cynical. When game-show contestants from the crowd lose his bizarre game of ‘Blankety Twat’, they’re sent back to their seats with a torrent of affectionate abuse, hanging their heads.
Dafter, ludicrous moments are punctuated with asides about fiddlers, wife batterers, social climbers and evil-doers. ‘See? It seems silly but it’s actually quite political!’ he says, in a kind of wonky Anne Robinson wink to his crowd. It’s definitely silly, but Mace’s niche is a smart one too, where laughter tears spring from his crowd at the oddest moments.
The Stand 2, 558 7272, until 30 Aug, 2.30pm, £8 (£7).