The final show I saw at this year’s Fringe was, I think, the best suited to its status as such. The show, cited as ‘the cult comedy chat show show’, is an incredibly entertaining, quick-fire, and extremely absurd hour of live music, short bits, and special guests.
We are welcomed into the space with the dulcet tones of a live band, made up of writer and musical director Andy Chisholm on the keys, Scott Jamieson on drums, and Craig Macfadyen on the bass. The band are not only included in most of the action on stage, but I also noticed that they would often crack up at certain things in the main action. I found this an asset to the show – if, after a full month of shows, the band can still find their content funny, the comedy must be good.
And it is good. Tom Clarkson and Owen Visser lead the show as the hosts, with Clarkson doing most of the presenting and Visser working the sound effects and graphics. The show is incredibly well-rehearsed; the bits pass by you so quickly that blink and you’ll miss them. My favourite was the latecomers jingle, which would play whenever anyone tried to covertly rush in and take a seat quietly. Audience interaction is the name of the game at ‘Mr Thing’, with most of the bits playing off of how the chosen few react.
One particular highlight, as well, is Steve the puppet (and guest booker), played by Dan Clarkson. He works great with the two hosts, particularly when telling Visser off for playing sound cues too early. When even the mistakes in the show make you cry laughing, it’s a sign of a strong show.
The chemistry between the cast members in excellent. It is clear they are all friends, first and foremost. The guests they bring on – in this case, Andy Smart, John Gray, and Stuart Laws – are truly interesting and add much to the wacky atmosphere. Clarkson does well to keep their moments moving while still allowing for the guest to make their mark on stage. The energy doesn’t dip once.
‘Mr. Thing’ is silly and simple comedy; and that’s what the world needs. The concept of the show, to just gather things that the hosts like, is so elementary in its idea and positively uplifting in its execution. I hope to see a lot more ‘Mr Thing’ at next year’s Fringe.