Tag Archives: Doggetts

The talented man from “Viz” becomes every-man at the Edinburgh Fringe

In yesterday’s blog I suggested that character comedian Matt Roper, rather than playing one fully-rounded character for an entire 60-minute performance, should stage a show at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe featuring several of his characters – as a showcase for his talent.

After all, the Fringe is as much a showcase for individual talent as an opportunity to stage shows. Perhaps moreso.

Then, blow me, last night I went see former Viz editor Simon Donald perform in his show Simon Donald’s Dirty Great Fringepiece and he has done just that – his show is virtually a ready-made sales tape for a future TV series with him playing multiple characters or (less good an idea) multiple people playing different grotesques created by him.

I had seen Simon play individual characters at various of Bob Slayer’s sadly-deceased Doggetts gigs in London. But I had never seen him play a series of different characters packed tightly together.

As I blogged yesterday, seeing one person play different characters very close together really punches home a performer’s talent: if you see someone play different character monthly or occasionally, you appreciate the individual performances but you are not hit-between-the-eyes to such a great extent by the performer’s breadth of talent.

I am not talking about sketch shows which exist solely to reach a punchline; I am talking well-rounded character-based writing. Laura Solon’s award-winning 2005 Fringe show Kopfraper’s Syndrome: One Man and His Incredible Mind is a case in point.

I am not surprised that Simon Donald can create visually interesting and totally different characters quickly and with relatively simple props – he is, after all, the cartoon creator of many a unique Viz character. But I am surprised at his verbal dexterity in creating such a large number of totally different voices.

Cartoonists and actors tend not to have the same mindset.

Simon seems to have both talents.

Talented TV producers should form a queue to see Simon’s show.

…That might be quite a short queue, then.

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Filed under Art, Comedy, Television, Theatre