Norman takes you through almost a year of his life in pictures and has a moan or two on the way.
Norman Lovett’s Slide Show is his newest stand up routine. Norman takes you through almost a year of his life in pictures and has a moan or two on the way. In his own words: “If you only bother going to one show at this year’s fringe, then don’t bother coming to mine you tight gits! Seriously, it’ll be funny.”
What sets this one apart from most others is the use of a series of slides that he bases his show around. These slides are seemingly random photos taken by Norm (or his daughter) around his home and various other places in the UK. The photos are an eclectic mix showing little things that Norman has seen, or thought of, and taken a picture of. Some are funny, some strange, and some are downright bizarre (Norman in the Dog House for instance.) Norm seamlessly moves from one slide and joke to the next, blending all the photos into one hour long look into his, almost deceptively, normal life.
The actual jokes and stand up routine are based, or at least appear to be based, on the Grumpy Old Men routine, and although this has become somewhat of a cliché in modern times, Norman manages to add his own twisted sense of humour to it. Generally, what Norman will do is use the picture to get a good moan in about a subject, both related and unrelated to the picture. From convention organisers that supply a 7 by 4 foot “prison” for his stay (he calls conventions his “pension”), to pay and display meters that steal your money, and get painted red in the process. He moves from subject to subject swiftly and doesn’t over do a joke or idea. Once it is done, it’s done. That’s not to say all he does is moan. He spent a good ten minutes talking about his (adorable) dogs, and another five about uses for the fluff your tumble dryer accumulates. He did, however, seem a little annoyed at the Fringe organisers for printing that his show started at half past five, when it started at five, leading to two people turning up late, one after the other. However, without even pausing, he swiftly included that in his show, along with his mobile going off in the background.
OK, it’s not the funniest comedy show on at the moment (I thought the one man star wars by Charles Ross is probably up there near the top), but it’s not designed to be. It IS, however, one of the most entertaining ones! It allows a small peak into this cult comedy hero’s life and mind. Norm maintains a relaxed and casual atmosphere at all times, and likes to try and include his audience in the show. For instance, I now know that I have the same socks as he does, and he knew he was doing well when my girlfriend broke into hysterics at a joke, despite having spent the first five minutes with a stern look on her face because I dragged her to the show. This is unlike other stand up shows in that, although they will include you in the show, the atmosphere is usually much edgier as people spend a lot of time thinking up witty retorts should they get picked on. Norm was also happy to stay behind after the show and have a chat with his fans and sign autographs. He was also welcome to feedback from the show, good or bad, so that he could improve it as it went along.
Despite all this, the show wasn’t perfect. There were moments when it did seem that he dragged one gag out just a little too long, or that he was sacrificing a good joke to make up lost time. Also, the show could have done with being an extra half hour long, just to give an extra bit of leeway as Norm did like to add little titbits and ad lib whole sections. This left him rushing the whole last fifteen minutes as the time for the next show approached. If not an extra half hour, then maybe a little less ad libbing and more sticking to his script. Another issue was the projector. Every time a new slide was loaded, it went out of focus, meaning that Norm had to refocus it manually every time we moved on. This was fairly distracting, but there wasn’t a lot he could do about it (other than moan). As it was, he made do the best he could, and after a while, it was only a minor irritation as you got into the show more and more.
At the end of the day though, the show was really well put together and an extremely well implemented novel idea that hasn’t been seen before (or if it has, hasn’t been done much before). The pictures were all clear and in focus (even if the projector wasn’t). Even those not familiar with Norm or his style of humour loved the show, and so I gladly give it the rating of 8/10.
The show is running from now until the 27th of August at the Pleasance, and every show is at 5pm. The show runs for one hour and tickets cost from £6.00 to £8.50. Norman will begin his autumn tour in September.