Some More Mr Nice Guy

Wed 6th – Sun 24th August 2014

reviews

Oliver Collard

at 09:18 on 18th Aug 2014

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Brendon Green is a grown man who claims to be a sixteen year old girl at heart - his Taylor Swift fandom, his nightly diary entries, and above all, his obsession with Disney certifiable true love are testament to this. Over the course of an hour, the Kiwi comic wins us over with his anecdotal style and gets some chuckles out of a small and reluctant audience in what seems like a difficult venue. On a Sunday evening, Clouds and Soil has a bit of an empty feeling to it, but this doesn't seem to get our performer down.

It is a little while before Brendon gets going, taking time to connect with the audience and set up the premise of the show, before he finds his groove with some good material about being tall: he is six foot four and has a two metre wingspan, which means he gives great hugs (but advises us never to use that as a chat up line). The only people who hate this self-confessed ‘nice guy’, he concedes, are teenage girls at concerts. His story about trying to explain away kicking a small child in the back of the head is also brilliant: no ma’am, I don’t need your daughter emotionally, I physically kneed her.

In fact, along the way we find out that there are many others who do probably reserve dislike for Brendon Green: the child whose kitten he ran over on Christmas Day, Glaswegians, his mate Dave, and perhaps most of the world as he admits to ‘hashtagging aloud’. The show’s not just one massive dose of niceties, of rainbows and (squashed) kittens, and his portrayal of it is often heartfelt.

An interesting attempt to engage comes when Brendon asks the audience to tell him how he should live his life: as someone who tries hard to be nice, or someone who is himself but a bit of a dick.

Brendon is a good storyteller but this means that sometimes he gets so engrossed in telling a story that the comic pay-off is a long time coming. A story about a girl he met on his final night in France is one engaging story without a comic climax. A progressive children’s book is another funny premise which goes on a little too long and loses its initial impetus.

My favourite period of the show is when Brendon Green parodies the so-called ‘cool guy’ comedians, imaginary cigarette in hand, knowingly delivering one-liners. No matter how hard he tries or what the audience tells him to do, you get the impression that Brendon Green will still be basically a nice guy who occasionally relapses. Maybe that’s what makes him so relatable. Overall it’s a winning performance, if a little tame for a late night show.

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Alex Woolley

at 10:11 on 18th Aug 2014

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Driving rain and a venue that is slightly beyond the centre of town (at least, as it appears to Fringe-goers) will never produce a large audience, especially late on a Sunday night. Even the 20%-off-drinks vouchers did not seem to have worked tremendously well (I pretended this was the reason I went in, but that was because I didn’t want my cover blown). It was greatly to Brendon Green’s credit, then, that he managed to present a charming and funny, if not hilarious, show, despite having just seven people in the audience.

Bearded, slightly wet, and claiming he looked like Michael Fassbender, Green started Some More Mr Nice Guy in self-deprecatory fashion, and complimented us in the audience as “small but perfectly formed, the Ryan Gosling of audiences.” Then he introduced the central question of the show: is Green a nice guy or not? A series of confessions followed, most of which were quite minor, although the list culminated in something (arguably) quite shocking. As the audience left, we were asked to donate a few quid (it’s a Free Fringe show) and tell him whether we thought he was a nice guy, as well as offering any more general advice we had on how to live his life.

It was a nice structure for a show. Thankfully Green did not stick too rigidly to his list of confessions, and there was plenty of time for him to diverge and present other sketches, including one on how, as a feminist heterosexual man, to avoid denigrating women when talking to less enlightened male friends. Like Some More Mr Nice Guy as a whole, the sketch was funny and endearing, although the gags could have been improved by being a bit more complicated and thought-provoking.

The climax of Green’s list of sins (presented after he asked for donations), perhaps unsurprisingly, involved unkind things said to an ex-girlfriend – the sort of cruel things everyone can remember or at least imagine themselves saying to someone who loves them. It came across as touchingly honest, but the possibility for reflection on oneself was no less effective.

Some More Mr Nice Guy, stuck in an out-of-the-way venue at a slightly inconvenient time-slot, will probably never pull in the crowds. This is a real shame – partly because Brendon Green traveled all the way from New Zealand to get here, but also because his show was touching and sweet, as well as managing to raise a few laughs. Hopefully he’ll back next year, manage to bag a slot in the Three Sisters, and get the audience numbers he deserves.

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