Edinburgh Fringe Review – Ali Brice: Eric Meat Wants To Go Shopping

The last Sunday of the Fringe represents a final chance to tick off the remaining names on the to-do list. Too many late nights have transformed a mid-afternoon kick off time of 2pm into something prohibitively early too many times, but I was delighted I made the effort to get down to Heroes @ the Hive for this – what would turn out to be one of my most enjoyable hours of the whole shebang.

Ali Brice is a twinkle-eyed, moustachioed comedy natural, engaging with the audience from the outset with a natural charm, delivering daft lunacy through priceless deadpan. We are on board even before he dons the powder-blue shower cap that heralds the start of the show – and fully on board you must be to get the most out of unmitigated oddness that follows.

Brice weaves the tall tale of Eric Meat, a ludicrous Yorkshireman with an impressively accurate accent. It’s the old, old story – man falls for supermarket, man realises he hasn’t fallen for supermarket but actually the checkout girl in the supermarket, man can only communicate with girl by shouting into a candle, candle gets depressed – how many times has we heard this one before?

Yes, this is something pretty unique, a chance to spend an hour in Brice’s world rather than a cohesive piece of theatre – although there are certainly theatrical elements – props, costumes, improvisation and exploding tomatoes.

As he flits between persona’s by means of a ‘character shower’ Brice is a joy to watch, offering up satisfying gags (visual and verbal), infantile silliness and sharp audience interaction. A reveal after an audience member is hauled onstage to paint his face ranks as my favourite visual gag of the entire festival, and there are more than one or two sections (for example the sandwich making masterclass with Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan’s dad) where I absolutely lose it giggling. Sure, I’m about as tired as I’ve ever been after this month, but these are genuine belly laughs.

It’s been a great month for those associated with the Weirdo’s comedy collective headed up by Adam Larter, and he must take credit for his part in directing this visual treat of a show.

I am sorry when the show ends abruptly, Brice looming over me stood on a chair in a pair of red tights, threatening my wife to hand over money for chips. But on reflection, it’s best to go out on a high.

Joyful stuff.

*****

James Rose

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