Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable

Following from his debut hour of last year, the 2013 BBC Radio Comedy Award Winner has packed out the basement of the Tron, a rather unheralded space ideal for stand up. Unpronounceable may be the name of his 2016 show, but thankfully it’s not a whole hour about the difficulties of people pronouncing his name that is seemingly too exotic for the common tongue. Thankfully it’s the tribulations on how we make decisions, particularly the notion between those of the head and those of the heart, with the focal point about a girl he met at last year’s Fringe and whether he could make the sacrifice and risk by pursuing the chance of having his first relationship.

There’s a clear sense of neuroticism in Bujega’s delivery and physicality, that segregates him from a lot of his current similar aged peers, at times he came across as a slightly static Lee Evans, it could borderline on the tedious for some but for myself and the audience they seemed endeared. At times I worried he might not be able to handle a crowd with some members feeling the need to be vocal, but like a lot of the hour he surprised me and the crowd with knockout delivery no one saw coming.

Whilst the majority of his material is light and anecdotal with particular references to his grandparents, there is the odd socio-political point of view, particularly when discussing the ideological nuances of tribalism, which come across as fine and better than the average comic, but somewhere off the likes of Glenn Wool or Jim Jefferies who can be devastating with statements that sound simple and obvious yet ground-breaking. Whilst not really in the same field as these comics, there’s some work to be done here to raise his game.

Unpronounceable is very Fringe show identifiable, reasonably fluid, with all the elements of good craft and structure throughout with a keen focus on being heart warming, that might displease the cynical but it is the dark horse element that suggests to me that Bugeja’s stature can only grow and looks set to be around for the years to come.

★★★★

Chris Aitken

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