Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
Completing his usual month-long run at The Edinburgh International Festival Ed Gamble is on a mammoth tour. Well, he is on tour and mammoth is the name of his show. A growing televisual presence may mean his face his familiar but his name not hugely known outside the stand-up comedy circuit. A comic, writer and actor his credits span BBC 2’s Mock the Week¸ Channel 4’s Man Down with Greg Davies and BBC America’s Almost Royal.
Ed Gamble begins his routine as most comedians do with an exploration of his front-row audience. The James’ and the Johns’ of the regular jobs become immediate fodder, shot down by Gamble’s exceptional improvisational skills. By the time his material begins a good ten minutes into the evening we are still pining for a bit more of his wonderful compering skills. Proceeded by loud heavy metal Gamble is unapologetic for his choice of pre-show music or his choice of stage costume as he tries to carve through his clean-cut, middle class, public schoolboy image that, despite his tattooed legs, is betrayed by his floppy quiff. Gamble explains that his show is entitled Mammoth is because he wants to assault his audience with big, lumbering, slow and heavy jokes. But this juxtaposition is what the heart of his material becomes.
Try as he might Gamble is a white, middle class, early 30s comedian. Publically school educated and a pawn on the usual panel show treadmill he is never going to be something unique on the circuit. Gamble knows this and plays it to his advantage. Despite his death metal tendencies he assuages this with the fact that he actually dabbled with the bassoon at school and has recently completed the London Marathon. He has no problem in delighting his audience with observational comedy about the packaging of halloumi cheese. Try as he might he is not going to escape his privilege. Further material includes a great section discovering his audiences’ first terrible teenage email addresses, the pitfalls of having a sport’s massage so soon after a hearty chicken dinner and his increasing talents as a ‘baby comedian’.
Gamble extends his sixty minute Edinburgh show into around a ninety-minute routine (minus interval). Despite a polished hour that has been honed over the past few weeks he is at his strongest ‘off book’. A natural commentator he is at his funniest during his interaction with his audience. At times it felt a shame to abandon this charm in order to fall into his scripted material. An assured, confident comic with a flair for taking the most of what comes his way.
Reviewed on 1 October 2017 | Image: Contributed