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Ivo Graham: Organised Fun – Pleasance Courtyard

Last year, Ivo Graham’s toddler daughter came to the Fringe. She saw shows like Peppa Pig: My First Concert, which she enjoyed. She also saw her father’s standup comedy show, which she found to be boring, because all that happened was a man stood there, spoke for an hour, and then that was the end of the show. This year’s show, therefore, is an attempt to do something about that – change the format, mix things up a bit, and indulge in what some people love and others vigorously detest – audience participation.

Ivo Graham - Copyright Matt Stronge.
Ivo Graham – Copyright Matt Stronge.

This began before the show had even started. A questionnaire was made available to people queuing up to get into the venue, which was running behind schedule at the performance I attended, by way of a QR code. Patrons were invited to answer a series of questions, most of which required numerical values, and the data was harvested accordingly. Spoiler alert: only those who put a high score for a question about willingness to participate in the show were selected to go on stage. Pre-show, a video ran showing highlights of Graham’s appearances in the fifteenth series of the television game show Taskmaster.

That large screen was kept busy in the latter half of the show, with a couple of audience members brought on to answer a quick-fire round of general knowledge questions (certain responses to the pre-show questionnaire having been made into Top Trumps cards, or rather e-cards). If I had to pick a favourite of the various activities, I would go for a fun and straightforward exercise in which an additional select few audience members were invited to throw small balls towards the on-stage participants, who had to attempt to catch them without getting up from their chairs. Oh, and Graham wasn’t even going to appear on stage until members of the audience had determined, from a selection of shirts and trousers on a clothes rack, which clothes he was going to wear.

I could imagine some other shows in the run have gone more smoothly than the one I went to – Graham’s crew resorted to typing out questions for clarification on the screen as the games went on. The show was in danger of being more accurately titled Disorganised Fun, but this seemed to add to the entertainment value. It’s a gloriously refreshing comedy hour, a world away from the political and/or personal angst that seems to be dominant at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. I can only hope Graham’s daughter approves of this briskly paced and engaging show.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Ten Fringes in, and keen to get the most he can out of the month (creatively speaking, that is: two of these shows will almost certainly lose money), Ivo Graham has decided to spread his three creative passions – crowdwork, oversharing, and music snobbery – across three separate shows.


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