Imaginative stand-up routine about the internet, with asides about everything else.
Michael Burke returns to Fringe World with a new show, motivated by an idea he has to exchange mangoes for the opinions of people who would otherwise feel compelled to create opinionated blog posts. The logistics of such an operation get the better of him, and he writes a show instead.
Burke has prepared himself with a set running sheet and a simple sample device, with reverb-rich narration to take us through several rounds of ‘eyes closed/eyes open’, using the instructions in lieu of complicated lighting changes. A cooperative audience is treated to a range of scenarios played out in a world where people live inside computers. This is visually demonstrated by Burke wearing a discoball on his head, in the style of the character of ‘Discohead.’ Ridiculous as this visual ploy is, it is second in ludicrousness to Burke’s spoken jokes, which are breathtakingly daggy.
Exploring ideas such as the inherently alienating nature of social media; the risks of allowing other people’s tastes and thoughts to influence our own and the unfulfilling addiction of ‘staying connected’, Burke has prepared some interesting food for thought, but it fails to win laughs. Similarly, his audience-interaction activity of ‘Who Wants to be a Trillionaire?’ is more enjoyable for the responses of the individual participating rather than his own list of multiple choice answers.
On the night of the review, Burke does not strike a chord with the audience. The magic that makes side-splitting comedy fails to gel and he stoically continues to an impressive ending that does look angelically hardcore and cool. He has plenty of back-up material, in the form of stories and commentaries on his fanboy obsessions (Sliders cards, anyone?), and readily engages with the audience when conversations arise, without any precious grandstanding.
A hard one to predict, I do wish him all the best with his future shows. It’s hard to say exactly what is wrong, but the punchlines certainly never hit home on his opening night. Part of the rich tapestry of Fringe World comedy, Mangoes for Opinions is worth a look if you like comedy delivered by comfortably daggy oddballs with a side-serve of opinions of their own.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Michael Burke in Mangoes for Opinions
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