Milo Edwards: Pindos
Just the Tonic at the Charteris Centre -Just the Sanctum
14:00 (ends 25 August)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
Being a stand – up comedian in Russia is probably very hard. But taking that experience, making it into a routine and performing it at the Edinburgh Fringe is definitely a lot harder. Of course, you are not dealing with censorship or the fear that if you say something wrong you’re going to disappear forever – but you are having to deal with the fact that your routine is based on a very unique experience in a country that nobody really knows anything about, and then having to perform and sell it at the third most ticketed event in the world. Milo Edwards did just that and it was pretty damn impressive.
Firstly, he eased the audience in – a few jokes about the Soviet space programme and dogs, languages and what makes Britain British – shame and horrible weather. After all, nothing gets an audience warmed up than jokes about the weather that they just came in from. A lot of the main portion of the routine seems unbelievable, especially since you don’t really know what the chances are of any of it happening. It was a series of ridiculous anecdotes that gelled nicely together to answer the question that I’m sure many people have been wondering: what is it like to live in Russia? From what I could gather, it just seems like they’ve just put a piece of duct tape over the crack in the country and hoped for the best.
Milo Edwards has an enigmatic personality: he draws you in and tells you a story as if you were the only person in the audience. He performed the routine with almost a childlike gleefulness as if you were in on the punchline from the start. He gave an incredibly energetic performance full of witty, dry and deadpan humour – he didn’t have to rely on swearing or crass remarks in order to make the audience laugh. Admittedly he took a lot of risks – there was a section that he had self-dubbed ‘spicy’ and indeed they were, to the point where you kind of feel bad for laughing but can’t help doing so. There were a couple of times where jokes didn’t land completely with the audience, but he moved swiftly on and it almost seemed like he didn’t stop to breathe. His timing was perfect, and it was almost as if he wasn’t performing a routine at all. He was just talking to you.
We need comedians like Milo Edwards in order to bridge the gap and educate the rest of us on subjects that we make assumptions about, even though we know anything about them. Whilst he admits that he is not really trying to effect political change, what Milo Edwards is doing is still very important. At least to me, it seems like he is trying to teach anyone that will listen to him about a country that most of the world has vilified almost consistently over the past few centuries.
Throughout the performance, I felt myself gasping for air and I left the theatre in much lighter spirits than when I had to come in. It takes a real gift for comedy to perform to a sober audience at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and make them laugh until they cry. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I honestly can’t wait to see what Milo Edwards does next.
Katerina Partolina Schwartz (Twitter: @katpschwartz)