First World Problems


Laughing Horse @ Espionage
Aug 7-26 (14:45)

Material:four-stars.png Delivery: four-stars.png   Laughs: four-stars.png

I got a surprise when I found that the venue for this show was a small bar named ‘Kasbar’. With 10 minutes to go and the crowd gathering, I had no idea what to expect, but took a seat and waited expectantly. Opposite the bar a right-on looking guy in a white cap and resort type t-shirt was twiddling with his small mixing desk and testing the mic in preparation for the show. I started to settle in.

Of course, it turned out that the guy was our host for the evening, Andy Quirk, who, along with his long-time stage partner, Anna J, proceeded to entertain us for 45 action packed minutes, blending rap, heavy metal, dance and comedy on the theme of the show’s title ‘First World Problems’. I was immediately put into a good mood as I focused on the lyrics, which we could make out with ease. The performers certainly knew how to work an audience and with each song encouraged us to ‘raise the bar’ as we sang along and jived in our seats with ever increasing exuberance. At one point they had one member of the audience on the floor doing the splits…


Andy’s take on things was hilarious partly because of his east London accent and also the irrepressible energy of his persona, which somehow melded into the perfect way to express complex reactions to what it is like to live in the first world. In the almost exotic setting of the bar with people having cocktails, the show is half Spanish resort, half cruise at sea type entertainment, with a raw edge. It shows the quirky variety of the Fringe and the power of Fringe entertainment.

The 45 minutes flew by in a flash, taking us on a whistle stop tour around the problems of modern life, from ‘tales of the unexpected’ to Orwellian-type double speak, and taking in references to eighties music when I realised the similarity of the garb of these two as eighties musical artists, mixed with a nineties appeal as well. There was irony, honesty, satire, sex. In fact it was the sense of irony and quick delivery that made Quirk stand out, yet his frequent self-deprecating gestures drew us in and created a kind of bond between performer and audience. This guy is sharp, make no mistake, with many strings to his bow. I found myself wondering what else he may have done in the field of more classical theatre. On top of all this, Anna J was a wonderful partner, whose interactions and Love Island inspired tale of heartbreak towards the end further enhanced the experience.

This show is enticing, funny, surprising, even therapeutic.  If you want to chill for a while out of the dense crowds while being thoroughly entertained, I would suggest you come in and take a peek – just be prepared to join in!

Daniel Donnelly


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