Phil Ellis – Unplanned Orphan
Underbelly Wee Coo
31 July – 25 August (not 12) 17:25
How to review Phil Ellis?
This is the question I’ve asked myself since I saw his debut solo show in a small-ish shed at the Underbelly compound. I left that particular performance a little lost for words. Let’s look at his press release for inspiration. Ellis, at the age of thirty, was suddenly told by his parents that he was adopted. This comes after a long spell of bad luck; he lost everything in a break up, lost his job and had to move into a shared house in Manchester. A pretty solid set-up for an Edinburgh show, then. What happens afterwards is where it gets funny.
The bad luck seems to continue right into his set. Ellis seemed awkward, exhausted, and a little ill at ease in front of an audience. It doesn’t bode well when his slide presentation goes awry. The gags are there, but the presentation is off. Then, something happens. It’s hard to explain, but suddenly the show acquires a momentum that powers it right through to an inexplicable end. The show relies heavily on surprise, which is why I was so perturbed about the prospect of reviewing it without spoiling anything (if spoilers are what you seek, check out just about any Phil Ellis review on any other review site).
Nevertheless, this show comes highly recommended by us. For anyone seeking surreal, madcap humour, Ellis is definitely worth a look. High-impact absurdity.