Mark Forward Wins All The Awards

It’s sheer confidence to title a show that suggests it as an award winner and satirise what an award winning show must centre around. In fact, on the surface, it feels a bit cynical or something an amateur comedian would have thought of as a way to entice clueless tourists. Ironically, seasoned Canadian comic and actor Mark Forward has created a show that I’d be surprised and very disappointed even if it was at the very least, not to be nominated for the Edinburgh comedy award.

Forward saunters in on his mobile phone with a backpack, telling the proposed recipient on the other end he’s doing a show. Initially calm, its not long before we’re treated to anarchy as Forward begins throwing things around the stage, soldiering up and around the room, where you’d need to be an owl to keep your eyes upon him. Creating a bit of nervous tension amongst the audience, especially as he’s not frightened to attack the audience for not quite being on board with the absurdism. Absurdism and silliness aside, there’s some brutally brilliant dark jokes throughout, you might never hear a better joke about a common zoo resident. Forward’s explosiveness and unpredictable approach has shades of Zach Galifianakas about it, but also a lot of Sam Simmon’s winning hour a couple of years ago, particularly in the carnage left on stage. Not to say he has carbon copied his act, Forward is very much his own unique creation. Compared to Simmons’ award winning show, this hour feels more daring as it ridicules the essential winning ingredients of an Edinburgh show, particularly those engineered to being personal and cathartic. Demonstrated by how he intends his own funeral to go, only to make it the most awkward event that five minutes and fifty seconds will allow.

It’s not wholly polished and whilst he mainly jests with the audience because of their somewhat apathy throughout, it has seemingly thrown him off that causes him to make one mistake, but immediately jokes “You fuck up at work too”, which suggest whilst this is still a performance of great effort and intended precision, Forward can still afford to laugh at himself and that reenforces the underlining message of his show, even if unintended, that comedy maybe becoming a tad too serious. A show so funny, you’ll feel you’re abdomen has done a heavy gym session by the end. Genuine award winning stuff.

★★★★★

Chris Aitken