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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Archie Henderson: Jazz Emu – The Warren: Theatre Box

By: Archie Henderson

Reviewer: Simon Topping

Adorning the stage with all manner of foot pedals, a keyboard and some vocal gadgetry, Archie Henderson enters the theatre box ready to share an hour of musical musings and whimsy.

Henderson, an award-winning newcomer and ex Cambridge footlights member, immediately lifts the audience with his impressions of Arnie singing Bohemian Rhapsody and by adding a hype man to Simon and Garfunkel. Both are amusing conceits that have the room in fits of laughter.

As the night goes on Henderson shines as he performs several songs, a soul ditty about existential crisis, the Mind the Gap rap, piece about Taylor Swift adding bird calls into her music and his mashups of oddly mixed music, such as ice cream van reggae, are all very funny and are well received by a receptive audience.

Henderson is a likeable performer with some great creative ideas. His comedy persona is oddly reminiscent of some of the 1980s and early 90s comedians, such as the calmer moments of Brian Conley. His musicality is strong, however, the linking sections between them need work. His interactions with the audience are awkward and incomplete. He performs a running “prank” section which feels out of place with the wonderful absurdity of his music; it is an idea that never quite takes off. Sometimes he lacks conviction in the delivery of his work which he should not be afraid to embrace because he has good clowning abilities.

Although it feels like Henderson has not quite found his authentic comedy voice, it is an engaging and inventive piece. His voice will come with time, plenty of which the young performer has in front of him.

Archie Henderson is like watching what you would imagine it would be like if Daniel Radcliffe did stand up; slightly nervy and self-deprecating in style, yet thoroughly endearing.

Reviewed on 16 May 2019 | Image: Contributed

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