I had no idea what to expect from this show as I’d never heard of Alexander Fox before, and certainly the beginning didn’t make it clear as it sees Fox taking to the stage wearing a monkey mask and holding up a “Wenger Out” card, and he then sits down and drums along to a song until a voice-over announces that the wrong song is playing and it should be In The Air tonight by Phil Collins. Next up is the Eastenders theme, and the voice-over announces “Okay, get out”. But then Fox introduces himself and chucks out a few jokes before we launch in to the show a proper. It’s an amiable beginning, and gave me faith the next sixty minutes would be enjoyable ones.
That said, I still had no clue as to the type of comedy about to be performed, but it turns out it’s a storytelling show, explaining Fox’s love for drumming. Despite being born in to a family of drummers it’s not until he hears The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps that he decides he wanted to be a drummer like Ringo himself. At this point he introduces “He’s your favourite Beatle who isn’t dead” and impersonates Ringo, telling a story about how he once met the former Beatle at a drumming seminar at the Barbican. He acts out the meeting and it’s endearing stuff, he admits his impersonation isn’t that great but then plays a selection of audio clips of Ringo which go to show how much the man’s voice has changed over the years which not only amused but surprised as well, and made his dodgy impersonation much more forgivable. And also endearing is the part where he learns that he has to go a posh new school and tells a girl from his old one that he’s in love with her, whilst acting it out as if she’s Pingu. I’ve admittedly not seen many impersonations of Pingu, but this is easily the best one yet.
As it’s a storytelling show it’s harder than usual to pick out specific quotes which I loved, at least without typing out a few hundred words each time, but amongst the highlights were when he makes a friend at the new school and the friend comments “Golly gosh you’re the boy who lived…in a terraced house”. Other moments which made me laugh out loud were “A metaphor so good it’s a metafive” and when he comes up with some great alternative names for albums by The Beatles with Stuck in a Posh Well, Caucasian Guess Who, The Beginners Guide To Photoshop and The Human Centibeatle being my particular favourites. Then there’s “Make sure they come in three’s like Destiny’s Child, or an open minded Noah’s ark” but you’ll have to watch the show yourself to discover why that’s so funny.
Also included in the show is some strong audience participation which pleasingly doesn’t make fun of the crowd in the way too many comedians do, a parody of the film Whiplash (and I only watched half of Whiplash before getting bored as I realised it’s basically Rocky with drums instead of two men trying to give each brain damage, but it was enough to get the references and to be honest you probably only need to have seen the trailer to get them), a great running gag involving Dido, and Fox uses a number of Beatles song within the hour to amusing effect, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds especially.
It does contain an ending filled with pathos which I know some might be a bit frustrated by as so many Edinburgh shows do this such a thing nowadays, but given what has taken place in the preceding fifty minutes it feels like Fox has earnt the right to do this, it’s affecting material and also gives Fox a chance to show us exactly how good his drumming skills are.
Fox is a strong confident performer with a great handle on physical comedy and he skilfully impersonates various characters throughout the set, it’s a fantastic piece of storytelling and one which I wish I’d caught live. It also feels like someone’s fifth or sixth full length show so it’s incredibly impressive that it’s his debut hour, and it’s something which I’d recommend everyone see as soon as humanely possible. If not sooner.