DTR - Reviews of American Roadshow

American Roadshow

Thu 31st July – Sun 24th August 2014

reviews

David Harris

at 02:07 on 3rd Aug 2014

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American Roadshow is a typical, late-night stand-up show – but it’s a very good one. The Americans in question, Tamer Kattan and Toby Muresianu, and their support, Chris Kent, present very different styles of comedy throughout the hour show, but all three are capable of leaving their audience in stitches.

Kattan briefly introduces the show, quickly establishing the tone and a good rapport with the audience. He is energetic and enthusiastic, and his attitude is contagious. Kent then has the first full slot of the night. I cannot find his name on any publicity about the show, and this is unfair, as the Irishman single-handedly proves that you don’t need to be loud to be hilarious. Quietly self-reflective, his style perfectly suits the intimacy of the venue, and his casual, straight-faced delivery is well contrasted with some of his more outlandish tales. I have never heard anyone over-analysing the concept of counting sheep to aid sleeping with such amusing results.

Next is Muresianu, who was somewhat overshadowed by the other two acts, but still has lots of potential. He has some excellent lines and his routines are reasonably well thought-out, but he frequently loses momentum through slightly overlong pauses, diminishing the laughter from the next punchline. He also did not interact as well with the audience as the others (particularly Kattan) – although he frequently invited participation, he did not always have a comeback, instead just moving on slightly awkwardly. I feel he would struggle to hold an audience’s attention for longer than this 20-minute slot, but he is at his best delivering entertaining anecdotes, of which there are plenty.

Kattan’s full slot is the climax of the show, and his comedy is varied, thoughtful, and effective. He navigates both crude sexual humour and tough political situations with equal success, speaking truths so simple that I didn’t even realise I believed them: “If you can’t make fun of yourself, you shouldn’t be allowed to make fun of anyone else.” He blends these elements together seamlessly, always aware of his audience, and brings the show to an excellent conclusion.

All three comedians could probably benefit from slightly more structure to their acts – more definite lines being drawn between topics – but in these short slots this barely detracts, and the trio are all so unfailingly friendly and create such a warm atmosphere that they are automatically likeable. American Roadshow is an excellent end to a day at the Edinburgh Fringe, and will send you away with a smile on your face.

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Anna Grace Symington

at 09:45 on 3rd Aug 2014

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Both Tamer Kattan and Toby Muresianu spend large parts of the year away from their childhood homes in the USA. For the Fringe Festival they have come together to create American Roadshow. Of the pair it is Tamar who is the must see. Toby's performance is amusing enough but Tamar really steals the show! The pair perform stand-up comedy separately, with Tamer as compère, and deal with similar but not identical material. As is to be expected from the title, both deal with cultural issues surrounding America's relationship with England, the United Kingdom and the world. This gig, showing at Just the Tonic: The Caves at 23.20 till August 24th with the exception of the 12th, is an excellent option for anyone looking for a bit of late night comedy. It's also pretty inexpensive.

Toby, batting first, gave a middle of the line performance by stand-up standards. He kept the audience engaged and got some laughs in all the right places. His style was modest and inoffensive. This was in contrast to parts of his show which touched on sensitive issues such as the conflict in northern Ireland and 9/11. He was able to navigate this tricky space effectively and came out the other side without offending anyone. He was let down, however, by a slight lack of confidence. The rowdy audience were primed (partly by alcohol and partly by enthusiasm) for a laugh but also for a heckle. Toby paid slightly too much attention to their comments, interrupting the flow of his own material to listen. Nonetheless he was much enjoyed by the crowd, delivering an enjoyable set that was neither disappointing nor exceptional.

Tamer, in contrast to Toby, was loud, charismatic and charming. He completely held his audience through his set and had several members of the crowd literally bent over in hysterics. Of both Jewish and Muslim origin and having grown up in America, Tamar has lots of cultural issues to draw on. Also a key topic in his gig was his status as single 43 year old man, revealing a jocular ability to laugh at himself. The show took a more serious turn when international politics crept onto the scene. All this could easily have come too close to the bone. However Tamar avoided offense partly through his likability and partly through his logic: if you can laugh at your own people you can laugh at other people too.

The venue, worth checking out for its own sake, was exactly what you expected from its name - The Caves - and exactly what you wanted from a stand-up comedy show at 23.20 in the evening.

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