Neon Hangover’s promising title suggests a show which carries on the classic theme of the morning after drunken nights before in one of Edinburgh’s most infamous yet beautifully eerie backstreets – the Cowgate. Upon entry into the venue though, all that can be felt is the foreshadowing of what will be a long hour.
Cowgate, or Just the Tonic specifically, may not appear to be the most glamorous Fringe venue, given the perpetual glueyness of the floors and rising odour of yesterday’s spilled alcohol. Yet, for some genres of entertainment, especially sketch comedy, the utter realism and grossness of human nature inspires comedic talent. Sadly, Clean Slate Productions’ overall performance does not succeed in this manner.
The first comedian, Adam Elmi from Birmingham, carries an enthusiastic crowd. Their energy declines towards the end of his act, however, as Elmi brings out some misogynistic undertones in his humour; this inappropriate imagery, which is left unexplained, is unprofessional and uncomfortable, despite some otherwise interesting and relatable takes on familial relations and that of traditional Somali culture.
By the second act, Northern-Irish comedian Ben Keenan has recovered the audience, with a talented but mildly overused display of accent-mimicry. Touching upon topics such as the Dublin accent being superseded by the New Zealand accent as the ‘most attractive accent of the year’ for instance, Keenan showcases his stand-up potential by drawing a spectator’s focus away from the poor jokes that came before him and into his stage presence.
Kimberley Datnow, the third comedian begins her act with a slightly excessive focus on her ‘far-too-low-v-neck-dress’, which becomes a recurring point during her set. Nevertheless, Datnow’s comedy is light, current and trending, albeit less synchronised with the kind of humour their target audience is looking for.
As the final stand-up comedian of the show, Sean Lynch most accurately portrays the ‘5 star’ comedy ‘as seen on MTV’ that was advertised. Lynch begins his minutes by referring to one of Datnow’s final jokes; he transitions the audience fluidly from the previous segment to his own. Lynch creates his own sound effects with the microphone, utilises the stage and shatters the fourth wall between speaker and audience with his self-deprecating humour and hilarious anecdotal experiences of being woken up, hung-over, by a young Hispanic boy who cut around his jeans to retrieve his pocket – and with it, his wallet.
The Fringe is not all chandeliers and large-scale productions. Clean Slate Productions has demonstrated that comedic talent can exist at all levels for those who pursue it, and that the world’s largest arts festival is there to support those who persevere in pursuing it.
Neon Hangover was on at Just the Tonic: The Caves
Image: Clean Slate Productions