Andrew Doyle: MINIMALISM!

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 08 Aug 2015

Though a reliably brilliant performer, Andrew Doyle's shows often prove uncomfortable affairs in which he struggles to strike a balance between the audience interaction at which he excels and the narrative demands placed on Fringe acts. The appropriately named MINIMALISM!, however, sees him work with a self-consciously threadbare premise, and could be his finest offering to date.

 

Over 30 minutes into the show, he declares himself on a mission to break all conventions of stand-up. That he doesn't do anything quite so drastic is immaterial. This is the work of a man temporarily disregarding the rulebook, if not exactly throwing it away.

 

The key to its success is that the comedian's protracted reflections on Gandhi and a difficult gig at the Gibraltar Fringe are barely engaging in themselves. Instead they serve as anchors for a series of inventive tangents, each more waspish than the last. Doyle presents himself as a gay caricature in a manner that's both empowering and self-deprecating. The sneering contempt with which he dismisses heterosexuality as "vile" is absurd, yet his bitchiness remains somehow authoritative to the point where the audience can be manipulated in accordance with his will.

 

His current approach may prove too scattershot for some tastes, but Doyle has clearly arrived at a creative peak where imposing any more structure upon his talent would be to inhibit it.