Saturday, April 10, 2010

Comedy Fest review: Andrew McClelland's Somewhat Accurate History of the Fall of the Roman Empire


Anyone attending one of Andrew McClelland's history shows is bound to learn something. I learned that I'm a bigger nerd than I'd previously realised. Also: some barbarians lathered up in their own shit before going into battle. Isn't that all I have to say to get you along to this one?

McClelland used to be quite the enthusiastic chap, and I found some of his earlier work was hobbled by this – not that enthusiasm is so bad, but I felt there was a tendency for the comic to try to convince his audience of his material's worth rather than letting it stand up for itself. He's matured superbly, though, and is really hitting his stride these days. Since he's always been a genial old man at heart, no doubt he'll only keep improving as he becomes more and more the thing he was destined to be. In the meantime, he's got a darn good show this time around.

As the title suggests this is a quick flipbook ride through many centuries of history that works together real (and interesting) textbook facts with the popular media versions through which they're best known to us. Myths are exploded and bizarre truths revealed (see the barbarian poo bit above). It rarely flags but doesn't feel forced, though perhaps it was that aforementioned nerdliness that allowed me to enjoy this so much. It's an encouraging cross between stand-up and theatre, though, and works on both levels.

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