I saw London-based Aussie Yianni Agisilaou near the end 2014 Fringe, with his excellent show Think Big – a comedic exercise in positive thinking and ambition. Yianni was on the Free Fringe then and playing in a small venue with the aim of convincing the audience to return for his final show for which he had booked Edinburgh’s largest Fringe venue, The EICC (capacity 1200). I never did find out how this went but his show was intelligent, funny and full of clever observation on human motivation and verve. I wanted to see if his new material delivered that promising introduction.
His new show is in the rotunda room in Stand 2, capacity around 50 and today’s audience for this, his first preview show is 13. The show examines where the line is in comedy, how it got there and they dynamics of the line is influenced by myriad factors. The well written material guides us through this and laughs abound as we are sent up by the comedian who sucks us in and illustrates the nature of the beast that is context. He postulates that any subject can be funny in the right context. Yianni adeptly walks the line with the balance of a Libran mountain goat as he elucidates the mantra “Don’t be a dick” in relation to where we draw the line of acceptable comedy and how we got to the censorial situation in the first place (another mantra: DIOR – Dickhead, Incident, Outrage, Rule).
He was inspired to write the show after being emailed by a venue informing him his performance couldn’t contain any references to rape, Lady Diana, or paedophilia. Cue jokes on all these subjects in a clever way giving credence to the idea that in comedy context is all. His performance is littered with relevant tales of previous audience reaction, particularly funny is the fat man on his coffin-dodging cruise ship assignment – offering a member of the audience some education on geography with hilarious results – and losing his job in the process.
Yianni is slightly hindered by the fact that the venue hasn’t been set up fully yet and he is without the projections and slides which he used to great effect in 2014’s show (I’m assured this will be sorted by the venue forthwith). This minor problem aside it was a very funny show. He offers a coherent gag-laden examination of the relationship between comedian and the audience. The spoof of the Fresh Prince theme at the end, if taken out of context would be the most offensive song you’ll here on The Fringe! If you like your comedians cerebral and full of wit then get down to The Stand pronto. FOUR STARS
Reviewer David McCaramba