It’s quite something when the biggest problem a show has is that irrepressible bouts of audience laughter upset the pacing. It’s a testament to the show’s quality that I left with my throat feeling genuinely raw from guffawing. This might be the most devious performance at this year’s Fringe, in that it’s physically painful to experience.
Adventureman 7: The Return of Adventureman is an hour-long, Pythone-sque riff on Indiana Jones and the pulpy movie serials that inspired it. Ewins’ video clips, edited photography and animation weave in and out of his breakneck narration seamlessly. It would be a disservice to call it effortless since it’s apparent quite how much effort he’s gone to.
Mat Ewins was one of the stand out acts last year, and his 2017 run could end up the same. The Return of Adventureman is, like Ewins’ last show, an unforgiving onslaught of multimedia irony and absurdity. There’s audio clips, video editing, improvisation, extended adlibs, and heaps of jokes. Ewins is in every sense a very modern comedian.
People talk about “talented” comics, but Ewins is truly deserving of that praise. It’s a daunting task to put together the video and audio, write the script, synchronise all that to the point where it stitches together, and somehow lead an audience through the polymathic comedy hell-maze you’ve created for yourself, all the while accounting for improvised segments and audience interaction, but Ewins manages it.
I wish there was more to say, but the show is just hysterical. It’s worth noting that Ewins’ particular brand of referential, unashamedly ironic comedy might not be for everyone, but it’s hard to see anyone who grew up with the internet disliking it. The Return of Adventureman is completely ludicrous, hugely impressive, and not to be missed.