Comedy / Solo Show, Opium, Venue 96, 15:45 until 29th August.
Winning’s descriptive blurb for his show, ‘idiosyncratic nonsense’ appropriately summarises this new comedian’s performance in Matt Winning: Mugabe and Me. Indeed, it quickly became apparent that his hour at Opium on Cowgate would become an hour of madness. Winning’s decision to enter in a fluorescent blue and extremely revealing body-con suit did raise some eyebrows, with everyone questioning the genre of his show. Although it was never quite explained why he chose such an entrance or indeed why the audience were instructed to wear 3D glasses, it did set the scene for the absurd one-liners that were to characterise Winning’s performance.
Winning introduced himself as President Muggabe’s son, explaining his somewhat controversial show title. He then proceeded to explain how he had moved to Zimbabwe to build a school, then to the Netherlands to host his ‘Guess the Pancake Gameshow’, its subsequent failure and thus his move to Top Gear. Right – sounds plausible enough. Sadly, Winning didn’t quite blend the transitions between his scenes, making them appear rather haphazard and random. Yes, part of Winning’s aim and charm was the strange compilation of such scenes, but the performance did suffer from it slightly and thus an air of uncertainty somewhat shadowed his act.
Nevertheless, Winning’s show was saturated with well-executed one-liners that were greeted by the audience with great laughter and enthusiasm. Indeed, Winning’s true triumph was his ability to admirably marry the absurd and the mundane. Thus he created a kind of bridge between observational and speculative comedy – certainly a unique genre that promises to be a success this year at the Fringe.