First ‘official’ day of the Fringe and the Counting House Ballroom, the largest room the venue has to offer, is full to the brim with an eager audience for Ed Gamble. As he states, it’s his eleventh year at the Fringe, tie this in with his TV appearances, most notably the BBC sitcom Almost Royal, there seems no need to build a rapport with the audience, in fact he pretty sets off into high gear from the get-go, demonstrating confidence, slickness and quick wit.
Stampede as he later admits, miss-sells the gist of the hour, which revolves around his weight-loss of six stone and how he misses being a boring but happily branded fat man. He satirises with hyperbole health blogs and the multiple benefits of uses of a certain un-fanciful vegetable, that he exceeds all the nutrients of its worth somewhat, which in truth was perhaps beginning to wane upon the audience.
He brings the energy in the room back moving on explaining his reluctance to being metrosexual leading into a routine of cosmopolitan satire, it nicely cajoles the audience into sporadic bursts of laughter, there is an excellent piece of deconstructing popular phraseology, a particular highlight of the show.
The audience are entertained throughout the hour and Stampede is a show that reaffirms Gamble as a skilled writer, performer that signifies him better than the average comedian on the circuit. Gamble attempts to make Stampede feel like a festival show, tying all the strands together but it feels a little strained and forced to fit the formula. Whilst this is a packed house and audiences throughout the month will be more than amused, the material is safely in the confines of middle-class first world problems and whilst Gamble may try to attack it with whimsical assault, it was too easily relatable and played safe. Whilst Gamble flirts with flights of fancy and moments of depravity, they don’t appear to be his strongest attributes and it feels like the show is filled with light punches with no real knockout deliverance that renders Stampede as a good solid show but for me, nothing more.
★★★ (and a half)